News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Greater Akron Chamber

Meaden & Moore

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Economy and Business




For the love of vinyl: Tracking the way to Cleveland on Record Store Day
Vinyl records are seeing a resurgence thanks to a new generation of audiophiles, and new fixes to manufacturing LP's
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
Sales of vinyl LP's are growing by about 20% annually while CD sales are plummeting. A new generation is discovering the pleasure of playing records, and that helps fuel a Cleveland company's foray into the old-school industry.
Courtesy of Jeff St.Clair
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

To mark the seventh annual International Record Store Day, WKSU is offering you this encore presentation of Jeff St. Clair Exploradio on two Cleveland organizations that are working to infuse vinyl records with 21st technology:

The home of the Rock Hall has more than a museum to support its claim as a music city.  Cleveland also has one of the few remaining companies making vinyl records for a growing fan base of old-school audiophiles.

In this week’s Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair looks at how Gotta Groove Records keeps LP’s spinning in the digital age.

Exploradio: For the love of vinyl

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:54)


(Click image for larger view.)

Back from the brink
It’s the crack and pop of needle on vinyl...the sound of a bygone era.  For most of us, vinyl is a quaint relic, boxed-up in the basement and replaced by CD’s, mp3’s, and now, the cloud.  The vinyl LP in the digital age could have followed rotary phones, cassette tapes, and 35 mm film into oblivion.   But it hasn’t…

In fact, the industry is rebounding in Cleveland.  

Vince Slusarz is president of Gotta Groove Records, about 2 miles east of the Rock Hall in downtown Cleveland.  The former corporate executive co-founded the company four years ago; he’d been downsized after 25 years at a local manufacturing firm.

That’s when Slusarz began looking for new opportunities.  And he says that coincidentally it was at that time he saw his college age daughter buying records.  Vinyl, he discovered, was becoming cool.

The act of listening
Musicians like Jack White, Mumford & Sons, and vinyl evangelists The Black Keys are among 2012’s top sellers in the analog LP format.  At about $4.6 million annually, vinyl is only about 2 percent of all music sales.  But while CD sales are plummeting, vinyl is burgeoning.  Stereophile magazine’s Michael Fremer says a new generation of music fans is returning to records.  

He says, “Young people get together and they sit around and they listen to records, just like I did when I was a kid.”

It's not just that vinyl captures more sound, he says putting a record on the turntable… setting the needle down… flipping sides… they’re all part of the act of listening.

And Fremer says , "that’s an important experience that we lost, and I think it’s being relearned.”

Vintage audio, vintage machines
It’s not just how to play records that’s being relearned.  Vince Slusarz at Gotta Groove says for him, learning how to press records took time.  He says, “There was a huge learning curve for us to get this in place, get it up and running, figuring out how to press records, how to make good records… how to keep the equipment running…”

Slusarz and business partner Dan Greathouse run six 1970’s vintage record presses at Gotta Groove. They bought the presses from a shuttered New Jersey record plant.  Keeping the antiquated presses running is a true challenge for Greathouse.

He says the machines have probably put out millions of records, "so there’s a lot of wear and tear on them even before we purchased them.”

Laser guided LP's 
Broken parts are scavenged from old machines or made new.  But Greathouse says one issue required a space-age fix.  He says one of the problems they’ve had is the alignment of the A & B sides of the record.  Engineers from NASA Glenn Research Center visited Gotta Groove and offered a laser-guided solution.

Greathouse says NASA came up with an idea to shoot a beam from the top mold into the center of the bottom mold and locate it using a reader, "that would show us exactly where that beam was.”

Problem is, with demand for vinyl records so strong, Gotta Groove has been unable to halt production long enough to install the high-tech fix.

One concern Slusarz does not have is competition. Gotta Groove is one of only a dozen or so record-pressing operations left in the U.S

Slusarz says no one makes the presses anymore; so, "you can’t really start a new plant unless you can find somebody who has presses that they’re willing to sell, so there’s plenty of business for everybody.”

Though its product is old-school, Gotta Groove is adding a 21-st century business model. Bands can finance their vinyl debut through a crowd-funding platform called Groove Bot – one of the few digital tools supporting the return to an analog era.

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook



Support for Exploradio
provided by:








Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio's Supreme Court narrowly upholds Ashford Thompson's death sentence
"Justices" William O’Neill, Paul Pfeifer and Judith Lanzinger should all be immediately removed from the court. If they could actually believe that this murde...

Ohio's Sen. Brown is pushing for more assistance for homeless vets
That would be a great program to have for the homeless vets. Many of them are still suffering from PTSD even from the Vietnam war.

Lordstown GM plant plans to install 8,500 solar panels
How much will this solar array cost? How is it being funded, and who is really paying for it? How much real useful electricity will it actually produce in MEh p...

Local Ebola concerns cause officials to pay more attention to West Africa
I have a better idea, let's secure our borders and spend those billions of dollars on our own first.

HUD and Cuyahoga Land Bank extend a housing deal for another year
Need to sale lot, and would like to know how to contact someone to see if they may be interested in the property that sat between two lots. If you can give me...

Akron Beacon Journal details abuse claims against televangelist Angley
In the early 90's I went forth for pray. And the man was anointed by the hand of God. Just a fact I will never forget

Lawmaker questions why a million voters didn't get absentee applications
He's a damn lie! I vote n all elections. I missed 1. Haven't gotten my absentee ballot and their making it hard to get one.

Thirsty Dog Brewery warns it might have to leave Akron
Why is it the city's responsibility to find this guy a location? There are a hundred realestate companies that could help him.

Kent State sends home three after contact with second Ebola-stricken nurse
Why weren't all health workers who were around Duncan quaranteened for 21 days and tested for Ebola? That's a no-brainer. Why was Vinson allowed to travel right...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University