Where We Live: Portland leads vinyl record resurgence


Younger generations are helping drive vinyl record sales past CD sales

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Vinyl records are making a big comeback and Portland is leading the resurgence.

Vinyl records were on track to outsell CDs in 2019 for the first time since 1986. But in Portland, the popularity of vinyl never really faded.

Jackpot Records in Portland’s funky Hawthorne District is one of the businesses helping vinyl remain a viable source of music. Shop owner Isaac Slusarenko said Jackpot Records has seen firsthand the steadily growing demand for vinyl records.

Vinyl records at Jackpot Records, Jan. 10, 2020. (KOIN)

“When we opened, we had about 50% vinyl, 50% CDs,” he said. “And now, we’re about 80% vinyl, 20% CDs.”

The number of vinyl sales is rising but 80% of consumers still get their music through digital downloads. Still, more and more audiophiles are going old school. Slusarenko said the preference of vinyl over digital files is comparable to a physical book versus a Kindle publication.

Jackpot Records owner Isaac Slusarenko, Jan. 10, 2020. (KOIN)

“I love being able to read lyrics and song titles and hold it — it just becomes something that you have an experience with,” he said. “And there’s a lot of great Portland bands that put out music on vinyl, too.”

The music industry re-issues classics and new music alike on vinyl, which helps to drive younger generations to build their own vinyl collections.

“It’s their chance to get music that isn’t their parents’ music,” Slusarenko said. “So you can get the new Lizzo record or something that’s very popular nowadays and it can be your own and you can start your own collection.”

A vinyl record player at Jackpot Records, Jan. 10, 2020. (KOIN)

Portland’s Jackpot Records has its own label and releases vinyl from established and new artists.

“The fact that there’s actually a pressing plant locally in Milwaukie makes it something that’s not going away. People are investing in this format.,” said Slusarenko.

Many new vinyl albums also come with a digital download card and are priced in the $20 range. However, rare collector’s albums in good conditions can sell for hundreds of dollars.

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