Bad economy doesn’t halt record sales

Ted Hamilton

Junior accounting major Matt Hobson browses music selections at the Exchange on Lincoln Street. The Exchange is just one of many stores that offers used CDs and DVDs at a discounted rate. Katie Roupe | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

A year ago, record stores seemed to be beyond hope as Internet piracy soared. Coupled with the era of iTunes and digital music sales, it seemed few sales were left for stores selling the physical product.

Area stores, however, are not feeling the pinch of the recession like some businesses are. In fact, some seem to be faring a little better than usual.

“Business is actually really good right now,” said John Semonim, head manager of The Exchange. Located across South Lincoln Street from Kent State’s campus, The Exchange sells new and used CDs and DVDs.

Semonim said the store has been selling about as many used and new as it has in the past. The only difference is there seems to be a boost in the number of CDs in the budget section of the store.

Randy Law, a manager at The Exchange, said there have not been too many more people trading in their old CDs than last year.

“It seems there was an influx of trades at the beginning of the year, but the days I work, it seems there is as many as there has always been,” he said.

When there are trades, he said many people say they are selling their old stuff because they have been laid off or are out of a job.

Turnup Records is a relatively new record shop, opening more than three years ago by Charlie Loudin and Doug Gent. The store is a gold mine for people trying to find artists who are not the typical acts shown on MTV; albums by David Bowie sit next to bands like Pitchshifter and The Cramps.

The rather obscure music might be part of the reason people come back to Turnup Records after visiting it for the first time.

“We have a clientele, lots of regulars who are pretty devoted lovers of music,” Loudin said.

Overall, Loudin said he has not seen much of a decrease in sales. Although sales were down at the beginning of the year, there have been times when they have been lower.

Spin More Records is Kent’s oldest record store and has been in business for 28 years. The store has a large selection of vinyl.

Almost three decades in the business has taught Phil Peachock, the owner of Spin More Records, a thing or two about the effect of recessions on his industry.

“I don’t see much difference in recessions,” he said. ” I have been through two others, and business is usually about the same.”

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Ted Hamilton at [email protected].