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.

Northeast Ohio Medical University

The Holden Arboretum

Akron BioInnovation


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





Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio's rules on fracking and earthquakes are a first
I'm right in the middle of the issue. Like oil independence, but hope there is pre- and current-drilling assurance re dangers from pollution, earthquakes and th...

Bridgestone exec indictments are latest step in a billion-dollar price-fixing case
Why is O.P.E.C Not investigated and charges brought against it and it's member companies? It sounds exactly the same...

Ohio's new drilling rules rely on known earthquake faults
requiring drillers to place seismic monitors when they drill within 3 miles of known fault lines. This comment really upsets me!! What good does an instrument t...

Kasich's gubernatorial ad focuses on his blue-collar roots
John Kasich is the biggest con-man in America. He will say one thing and then do the opposite. He is terribly successful at fooling the public and he is worki...

Cab drivers who refuse to drive Gay Games taxis will be replaced
the irony is that most americans distrust or hate muslims much more than they hate gays!! silly ignorant bigots-GO HOME!!!

New transportation companies come to Cleveland
Ride-sharing companies are breaking laws and regulations every day. From regulatory fee evasion to use of smartphone while driving (and even two smartphones(!) ...

Cleveland anti-poverty agency executive resigns amid financial probe
That committee won't be too independent. He plans to stay on until after the new appointee is chosen.

How can you wipe a criminal record clean?
Great article! NO CLINIC in May 2014, however, because it's graduation month for students For the next dates of the FREE Legal Clinic to help with Expungment,...

Drilling remains suspended while ODNR investigates NE Ohio earthquakes
Flaring and lights, so has all been halted? Also, smell of HS2 and sounds of an auger/drilling/water rushing underground. So, has all been halted? In light of t...

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