The Current

Put your records on: Vinyl rebirth breathes life into music industry

Time to turn over the record. With the rebirth of vinyl, Ontario-based Sunrise Records says it's taking over 70 closing HMV stores across Canada to put vinyl front and centre.
Time to turn over the record. The vinyl record resurgence is breathing new life into the retail music industry. (Gavin St. Ours/flickr cc)

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In 2015, Canadians purchased more than half-a-million vinyl records —  nearly a third more from the year before, according to Nielsen Music.

And the Ontario-based Sunrise Records is banking on that trend continuing.

The chain is taking over 70 closing HMV stores across Canada and is featuring vinyl front and centre for a plan to succeed where HMV failed.

"People definitely love having something to collect. I think music fans in particular love something that's tangible. You know, you get the lyrics … and of course it sounds fantastic. So I think all those things combined together make it just a great product," says Sunrise Records president Doug Putman.

Putman sees the growth of vinyl continuing for the next several years.

"But, you know, even if they start, you know, to hit a plateau and even decline slightly in three years it's still a very substantial and meaningful number. So I think we've got quite a ways to go on this," Putman tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

He says that the appeal to collecting records is that the vinyl is yours, that you own it. 
In 2015, Canadians purchased more than 500,000 vinyl records. (David Donnelly/CBC)

"Whether it's streaming or digital, you really don't own that. It is on the cloud, it's not really yours, it disappears at some point," says Putman.

"This is yours forever."

Rob Rice is one of four entrepreneurs starting Kaneshii Printing Press Ltd. in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

This spring, it's set to become the first vinyl pressing plant in Atlantic Canada.

The startup was inspired by a lack of supply in the Maritimes for local musicians to have their album printed on vinyl without having to source somewhere in the U.K.

Rice tells Tremonti the press uses new technology that includes warm tone presses which are state of the art.

"It's all computer-driven, computer-monitored and very up to par with any of the old presses but it takes it that next step further and brings it to the 21st century."

Julian Seth-Wong says it's great to see the revitalization of the industry with new pressing plants.

He's the owner of Tonality Record and opened up the store two years ago when he was only 17-years-old.

Julian Seth-Wong's record collection. (Courtesy of Julian Seth-Wong )

Seth-Wong says the demographic of his customers vary from pre-schooler to middle-age.

"I've had kids as young as three or four come in with their parents and pick five records off the shelves and say I want those. I want to take those home and listen to them," he tells Tremonti.

"And I've had people in their 60s come in and just kind of get blown away by the fact that this is still an ongoing trend."

Seth-Wong tells Tremonti that the allure of vinyl is the warm sound it gives that he says isn't in digital music.

"If I close my eyes — not to sound pretentious — but I can hear the music kind of you know creeping behind me and coming at me from all directions as opposed to just shotgunning from one area."

Listen to the full segment at the top of this web post.

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Strurino and Kristin Nelson.