Pop quiz, readers! What music format was the fastest growing in 2010? It wasn’t CDs or MP3s. It definitely wasn’t cassettes. Give up? Old-fashioned vinyl records sold 2.8 million units that year, a figure that surged to 3.9 million in 2011, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Nashville is well-placed in the record resurgence.
United Record Pressing, located just across the tracks from Nashville’s Greer Stadium, is one of only four remaining vinyl pressing plants in the nation. Founded in 1949, URP presses around 10,000 records per day for artists as small as a local band pressing a single and as big as the latest album by Taylor Swift.
Once the records are pressed and packaged, they’re sold in independent record stores around the world. In Nashville, the perennial favorite is Grimey’s New and Preloved Music, an independent shop started in 1999. Not just a record store, Grimey’s is an ardent supporter of the local music scene, regularly offering in-store concerts and listening parties with established and upcoming acts.
“Everything that made records amazing to teenagers in the 70s is still in there. The magic is still in there,” says Doyle Davis, co-owner of Grimey’s. “When you detach music from the tangible thing, I think it loses something.”
Another destination for music lovers is Third Man Records, the combination record store, music venue, studio and office owned by Jack White, singer/guitarist for The White Stripes and Nashville transplant. The store is vinyl exclusive and regularly offers special editions to diehard fans.