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Eau Claire record shop ‘reviving’ vinyl amid pandemic

It’s not often 19th century technology makes a comeback. After more than a decade of increasing sales, vinyl records are back.
Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 6:06 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -Revival Records on Barstow St. transports customers back in time.

“I want them to feel like, like they’re walking into a store from the 1970′s,” Siegel says.

With a lack of concerts and live music during the pandemic, Revival Records owner, Billy Siegel says music enthusiasts are stocking up.

“When they came in, the purchases were larger than normal, which is amazing, and then it just hasn’t stopped,” Siegel says.

The record stores sales are up 15-30% year over year, continuing to grow each month according to Siegel.

While distribution centers are still stunted due to COVID-19, longtime employee Spencer Fairclough says their biggest challenge is keeping up with demand.

“There are certain albums that we like to have on all the time, Fleetwood Mac Rumors is a staple of anybody’s collection, there’s been a couple of days that have been kind of hit and miss, touch-and-go of like, are we going to be able to keep these in stock?” Fairclough says.

Vinyl record sales surpassed CD’s sales this fall for the first time since 1986 according to Neilson Music/MRC Data, and Revival Records is celebrating another milestone.

October marks eleven years of selling records, cassettes, CD’s, and 8-tracks to name a few.

Fairclough says they are fortunate to have a product that can stand the test of time, especially now.

“We’re really lucky that we have this recorded history to kind of hearken back to that and give us hope for the future, give us a little bit of sentimental feelings,” Fairclough says.

With ties to the music industry since the early 2000′s, Siegel says spreading the gift of music is the best job in the world,

“When you put on an album, you take ownership of it, you have to clean it and you have to flip it and you have to take care of it and it’s yours and that’s what made me fall in love with music.”

The growth in sales, don’t stop there, the end of the month is Record Store Day, a day to celebrate the culture of independently owned record shops.

Siegel says this day for brick and mortar music shops is synonymous with Black Friday, a landmark day in sales for the entirety of the year.

“That is a day that all record collectors, record listeners look forward to because they can get titles that have not been put out for years and or ever. They’re all limited edition, either color vinyl, autographed, numbered prints that you can only get at brick and mortar record stores,” Siegel says.

Due to the pandemic, the annual celebration has been scheduled for three separate dates - to accommodate social distancing and COVID-related guidelines.

The third and last Record Store Day of the year is Saturday, October 24.

An industry, on track, in the Chippewa valley.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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