Here’s Why The Record Is Making A Comeback and Missouri’s No Exception
When I decided to start collecting vinyl again in 2018 it was for a couple of reasons. One, I had been toting around a turntable through all my radio travels for 20 years, yet never had set it up. Secondly, I wanted to go back and take a deeper dive into records and artists I saw at record stores as a kid but never bothered to investigate. Sure I could have found many of those albums and artists via streaming, but I wanted something more physical, tangible. Something I could experience actively. It seems I'm not the only one who feels that way.
Don't get me wrong, the vinyl record isn't going to put streaming out of business anytime soon. Nor do I think it'll put the compact disc out to pasture for those who love the digital medium. Yet many are finding joy in collecting vinyl.
James, the owner of Jammin' Nuggets Music, sent me an article from KXAN-TV in Austin, talking about how vinyl is once again becoming the physical media of choice when it comes to experiencing music, and the impact that's had on the Austin Record Convention, which the TV station says is the largest sale of recorded music in the United States.
Yet one doesn't have to look that far to see how popular recorded music has gotten. When I moved to West Central Missouri there weren't a lot of options to locally buy records. There was Walmart. Not to mention, you might find something at antique stores like Junk and Disorderly or Those Were The Days. There was even a guy in Sedalia who'd let you browse and buy from his personal collection. Yet there wasn't a record store in Sedalia or Warrensburg. For that, you'd need to drive to Columbia or Kansas City.
Yet it didn't take long for that to change in Sedalia. We now have two record stores. There is Josey Books and Music, the first record store to open in Sedalia. Followed closely by James Harmon's and Deana Taylor's Jammin' Nuggets Music. James was the guy, by the way, who was letting folks browse and purchase from his personal collection before deciding to make his dream of owning a record store a reality.
The Manual tried to answer the question: Why are vinyl records making a comeback?
They talked to the CEOs of a couple of companies involved in making audio equipment, Victrola and McIntosh Labs and the consensus all boils down to the user's experience. While people love the convenience of streaming music, or the radio, at times, they want to slow down and experience it.
According to The Manual's article records are the perfect format for actively experiencing music. The KXAN-TV article echoes those sentiments as well when talking about vinyl's comeback. They quoted Waterloo Records employee Gus Ochoa.
"Buying records and sitting down with friends or going to a party and that kind of thing and putting it on the turntable and flipping the record, you know, ‘you gotta hear this song, you gotta hear this album.'”
That's been my experience too. I found when I started collecting vinyl I liked the album artwork, the liner notes, and the packaging. I liked the activity of actually choosing what to listen to. Physically putting it on the turntable. Listening. Flipping sides. It makes experiencing the music an active activity.
That goes beyond the listening experience at home too. When James gets a few of us 'regulars' in his store, there's bound to be some good conversation, a little good-natured teasing, and a fun communal listening experience of some record that one of us wants everyone else to hear.
If you're looking to get into vinyl for the first time or get back into vinyl here are some places to start in the area. These are stores I've experienced firsthand, some recommended by Jammin' Nuggets Music's own James Harmon. That said, this list is nowhere near complete. My advice, do a Google search, find the stores you want to check out, and go back to your favorite ones.
- Jammin' Nuggets Music - 115 S. Ohio Street - Sedalia. A great local record store with a fantastic selection of used records. James has recently upgraded the condition of his used records for sale with a lot of the overly well-loved and played vinyl weeded out of what's for sale. He carries some new releases, mostly ones he believes his customers are interested in, and can find and order anything you'd like. Additionally, this is the place to go in Sedalia if you want to talk about music, concerts, and more.
- Josey Books and Records - In the Lamy Building - 108 W. Pacific Street - Sedalia. A nice selection of new releases, reissues, and used records. Not to mention they have a cool selection of posters and T-shirts. As well as a great selection of used books.
- Hitt Records - 10 Hitt Street - Columbia. A great selection of new and used records all in great condition. Records are a little more expensive here, but the bar for the condition of used records is higher than in most record stores. Hitt Records also specializes in underground music genres that can be harder to find in many record stores. If you're into alternative, world music, or underground rap, this is a store you'll fall in love with.
- In The Groove Records - 708 Jefferson Street - Jefferson City. Another store with a nice selection of new and used records. I like that they gave 80s music it's own section. Additionally, they had some great clean records available for some really nice prices.
- 7th Heaven - 7621 Troost Avenue - Kansas City. People of a certain age remember 7th Heaven's infamous Sedalia location. They're still around in Kansas City on Troost with a nice selection of used records, a rack with a significant amount of "new" used vinyl that's turned over every couple of weeks, and a great selection of new and reissued vinyl as well. Warning: They also sell adult toys, and paraphernalia for those who like to smoke, however, that stuff is separate from the vinyl in a different area of the store, so it's easy to avoid if that's not your thing. They carry a great deal of Record Store Day releases, as well as new music, and a lot of it gets priced down the longer it's available at the store.
- Sister Anne's Records and Coffee - 901 E. 31st Street - Kansas City. Probably the smallest and most curated record shop on my list, it's also the only store where you can enjoy a great cup of coffee and vinyl at the same time. The selection is small, but all the used vinyl is in great shape. I'd say the store leans rock, but if you take the time to look through what they have I think you'll find something you like. They also seem very plugged into the Kansas City scene, so if you're looking for local KC stuff, there's a good chance they have it or can tell you where to get it.
Jammin' Nuggets Music is also sponsoring the Mid-Mo Record Show in Sedalia on March 23, 2024. Record dealers from Missouri and beyond will all set up shop at Smith-Cotton Junior High School which will be a new event for the area.
I'll leave you with a quote Scott Hagen, the CEO of Victrola, gave to The Manual when asked why vinyl was getting more and more popular:
“Because the world that we’re in needs this kind of format — it needs us to slow down and enjoy a really nice meal once in a while, a good bourbon or cocktail now and then, and to sit down and just listen to music sometimes.”
That's exactly why records are making a comeback. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a record to listen to.
Rob Creighton is an avid listener to and collector of vinyl records, and occasionally writes about it for his blogs. Some of his other vinyl-related articles include: