For some music lovers, vinyl albums have never really gone away. And for a new generation of listeners who are just now discovering the warm sound, the cover art and yes, the smell (especially of old albums), there are plenty of records to be had.
In fact, according to the Recording Industry Association of America’s Mid-Year 2021 RIAA Revenue Statistics report, consumers’ investment in vinyl records continues to climb, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Vinyl records continued a remarkable resurgence in the first half of 2021. Revenues from vinyl albums grew 94% to $467 million, though the comparison versus the prior year includes a period in which retail stores were significantly impacted by COVID-19, and Record Store Day 2020 was delayed and did not occur in the spring (as it did in 2021),” the report said.
It’s not just older acts still pumping out vinyl – artists like Taylor Swift, Harry Styles and Adele have albums available on vinyl as well, drawing in younger listeners. And while digital streaming still dominates how we consume music, there is still a place – and desire – for vinyl.
Thanks to Toast Records and Tapes, vinyl aficionados can fill out their collections closer to home. Toast opened its doors at 643a Main Ave., in August and has hit the ground running, said Joshua Bensik, who owns the shop with his wife, Kyra.
Check out what Toast has going on, on Instagram at www.instagram.com/toast.records.and.tapes.
Since Southwest Sound closed in 2018, Durango hasn’t had a free-standing record store, and Bensik, who worked at the iconic shop, said Toast got started when he began selling vinyl at various locations around town. The pop-ups eventually turned into a full-on shop – and a new place for music lovers to go to get their fix.
“I just thought that we were lacking; there’s a niche that was lacking in Durango, and I’ve been selling vinyl at pop-ups around town ... that’s kind of how it got started. And we just decided to go all-in,” he said. “It’s been going great; really great community support. People are really excited, it’s been really awesome.”
Toast’s customers span all music genres, Bensik said.
“It runs the gamut: They’re looking for everything,” he said. “Right now, they’re looking for Christmas stuff, we try to keep everything curated and as eclectic as possible and we can special order things for people, if it’s available.”
And speaking of the holidays, Toast will be open late – until 9 – during Noel Nite on Friday (Dec. 3), and while the store will be open as usual during the day, Bensik said discounts (10% to 20%) and other holiday fun will happen between 5 and 9 p.m.
For Bensik, the enjoyment of listening to vinyl comes from the experience you have with it; it’s more than simply hitting a button.
“I think that, for me, it’s like there’s an intimacy to it, and you become engaged and you actually become a part of the music, instead of just putting it on as background noise,” he said. “It’s really just having a relationship with music again, that people don’t have and you have to sit with it. It’s a more appealing experience for me.”