one thing that hasn’t changed is the experience of
unwrapping the plastic of a just purchased record, anticipating what’s inside — it’s like a gift.
“We sell lots of vinyl to the college kids,” Freeman says. “Their mom and dad got them a turntable for their birth-day
or Christmas and they’ll come in and buy some records. Or they’ll say I never listened to records before but I got
my dad’s old turntable and his collection from the ‘70s and I’m digging it so I thought I’d come in. Next thing you
know they’ve got the bug and they’re in here every week buying stuff. It’s a black hole you can fall into.”
Hawksworth, who is 27, also reaches beyond the nostalgia market at Modern Legend. A
significant part of her inventory is albums recorded by current artists.
“A lot of the customers, especially around my age, will come in and get the new
releases, the modern music that’s coming up,” she says.
Regardless of the age of the collector or the genre of music, playing a record
still requires a turntable and speakers. But there are contemporary upgrades to
the old technology. Back then, the turntable might have sat atop an audio
rack. Lower down were the tuner, amplifier and cassette deck. It all was
played through huge floor-standing speakers with big woofers and
tweeters. These days, there are Wi-Fi turntables that stream music
through Bluetooth speakers.
They still play old-fashioned vinyl, but there are major
changes there too. Anyone shopping for new records a few
decades after last buying them is going to experience sticker
shock. The cost has gone up. A lot. The average cost of a
new album is about $25.
“We still have some that are $15, and some up to $40,”
Hawksworth says. “It’s all being pressed on 180-gram
thicker and heavier than the 120-140 gram records of the
past. It’s simply better vinyl.”
One thing that hasn’t changed is the experience of
unwrapping the plastic of a just purchased record, antici-pating
what’s inside — “It’s like a gift,” Hawksworth says
— putting it on the turntable, and listening to a complete
“People could listen to any platform, Spotify or what-ever,
and they’re choosing to come in and be part of this
whole experience of listening to a full record,” Hawksworth
says. “It’s so much more rewarding than just pressing a
Gravity Records (top) is one of a handful of shops in Wilmington
where customers can choose from an extensive collection of used
albums, and even preview their selection on the store’s record player.
Yellow Dog Discs (left) has a selection of new releases on vinyl. Older
buyers getting back into the hobby after a few years will find that prices
have gone up.