The “record” business continues to make an impressive comeback. Although actual record sales make up a small fraction of the $8.7 billion music industry, according to Nielsen, the 14.32 million records sold in 2017 was up 9% over the previous year, and the Lp format accounted for 14% of all physical album sales.
This resurgence is evident in my city, Portland, where many neighborhoods are anchored by restaurants and coffee shops spinning record albums, and often include corner record shops — some which specialize in selling jazz records (new and used).
The technology of manufacturing records is fascinating — an “old world” process that is demonstrated in these interesting and classic films:
- Fans of record albums (and Duke Ellington) will enjoy this terrific 1937 film demonstrating the process of transferring recorded music to a “playing record, ready for use.” This is fun not only because of the technology lesson, but especially for seeing Duke lead his band in the studio.
- “I saw records made,” the narrator Milton Cross says in this fabulous 1940’s film demonstrating how masters become shellac 78’s.
There are several other excellent (and nostalgic) films on record albums, as well as a more contemporary film describing “How Vinyl Records are Made.”
Finally…if you are interested in reading a bit about the record scene in Portland, this piece is worth checking out. You may also enjoy “Shopping for Vinyl in Northeast Portland,” from the “Cover Stories with Paul Morris” feature.