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6OmnibusThursday, November 10, 1983
umniDus 1 nursday, November 10, 19337
11 the tiny CD eventually
vanoTULisii the ouitdate
Oh noooooo!! It seems like albums are getting more and more difficult to find these days. Will
CDs push albums out of our lives forever? In some areas the new technology has made these
tough times for vinyl discs but some experts contend that our vinyl friends still have a significant
By LESLEY BARTLETT
Remember the day when you saved your allo
wance to buy a Barry Manilow album, and then ran
home to play it on the combination tumtableeight
track tape player? Even if your musical taste was
more sophisticated, the equipment you used to play
the album was still probably the same. Now, just
as eight-track tapes have become virtually non
existent, albums are slowly disappearing.
Statistics prove that sales of albums (LPs) are
indeed down in mainstream record stores. At Record
Bar in University Mall, LPs constitute only six percent
of the sales (In number, not in dollars), and they
account for 1 o to 1 2 percent of the stock. Meanwhile,
CDs constitute 28 percent and cassettes 50 percent
of the sales. ; i . j
According to Jenny Frye, manager of the Univer
sity Mail Record Bar, the drop in sales stems from
the decrease in demand and not to any lack of supply.
The policy of Record Bar is to use a date code pull
in which employees remove from the shelf any
products which have not sold after six or eight
months. Thus the store ensures that it provides any
product which has a market. According to results
of the pull, the LP obviously lacks this market.
But not ail stores report such a drastic decline
in sales. At School Kids Records on Franklin Street,
LPs, CDs and cassettes each account for approxi
mately one-third of all sales (again, in number) and
35 percent of stock, while retailers at School Kids
have noticed a decline in LP sales, they say it has
Other stores that sell used records support this
daim. Nice Price Books has experienced no lack of
demand. Neither has Skylight Exchange, where LPs
constitute 60 percent of sales. Dennis Gavin, manager
of Skylight Exchange, notes, 70s and 80s rock barely
sells on LPs, but new releases and '60s rock sell very
So the question remains: is the LP dying out?
Research suggests that sales of older rock and of
reggae, jazz and classical LPs are indeed down.
Enthusiasts of these music types seem to have
converted to the higher quality CD or the more
accessible cassette. However, the figures of stock
Dvs. sales Imply a correlation between availability and
uciiiciiiu; icuyic uuy ir in iuitn wnere uiey reel
confident of finding their selection, and they shy
away from stores known to maintain a low LP supply.
LP faithfuls argue the advantages of the IP, one
of which is liner notes. The main benefit, though,
is cover art. Often the art loses its original impact
when shrunken to CD and cassette size.
Phil Cowan of Back Door Records cites the work
LP is that CDs do not
of Roger Dean, who has designed many album covers,
as being immortaL Glenn Boothe, a disc jockey at
WXYC, lists the cover of Michelle Shocked's Short,
Sharp, Shocked as one of his favorites. The cover
is an actual photograph of Shocked being arrested
as she protested at the Democratic National
Convention in 19B4. LP supporters also point to the
Beatles' cover for sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts
of those that did not survive the reduction in size
for the CD.
Another advantage to tt
offer the same breadth in tit e as LPs do. For example,
Barry Blanchette of Nice Price Books explained that
often collectors want a specific performance of a
classical piece, if they canrot find it on CD, they
purchase it on an album. !
A few small record labejls that deal mainly in
underground rock, such as Shimmy Disc Records out
of New York, print their material only on LP because
they cannot affo xl the CD technology.
Some cite disac vantages pf the CD as advantages
for the LP. Audiop liles accuse CD sound and packaging
of being "cold." Also, more people own turntables
than CD players. afraid to purchase a CD player since
DATs (digital audi ) tapes) may be released soon and
could eventually replace CDs, they tenaciously hang
on to their turntables. These facts indicate that
there is still a market for LPs. .
finally, some LP ans are unhappy that the CD often
contains cuts the t were not originally released on
the LP and the aissette. "Extra cuts on the CD are
often just a prorr otional trick of the manufacturer
tying to sell the jroduct, regardless of the artist's
original intention," Gavin said, "it is denigrating to
Conversely, CD snthusiasts argue that often the
extra cuts were intended by the artist to be a part
Walton of radio station WRDU
extra cuts were originally a part
were cut due to the lack of room
of the album. Bo
said, "usually the
of the album but
on the LP."
in this case, the CD provides the necessary space
for artists to include all the cuts they wish.
The LP has more strikes against it. At the simplest
level the CD delivers higher quality sound, and the
cassette provides more versatility than the LP, since
vou can olav the cassette in a car stereo or in a
In addition, the attitude of record companies
toward LPs is detri nental to their survival. Most new
products are reiea ed on LP as well as CD and cassette;
Steve Bennetts vice president of marketing for
Record Bar. said, ?ILP business ... is almost a new
However, many re-issues of old recordings are
released only on CD or cassette, in addition, record
companies offer disincentives on LPs, according to
Paul Fusseol of the Record Bar warehouse in Durham.
With the disincentive it costs stores more to return
LPs than it does to return CDs or cassettes.
Also, discounts are offered for the purchase of
the cassette or the CD whereas no discount is
extended for the purchase of IPs. Frye supports this
claim. "Record companies are trying to phase IPs
out and are speeding up the process," she says.
Replacement needles for turntables and the
turntables themselves are getting more scarce as
well, discouraging turntable (and therefore LP) use.
Many stores no longer even carry needles. Brendle's
reports it is getting fewer shipments of turntables
and more of CD players.
The trend in most audio retail stores entails
phasing out lower quality turntables and stocking
the higher quality ones. Jeff Nelson of Stereo Sound
said that in the high quality turntables, sales have
actually increased due to audiophiles who prefer the
warmth of the LP as opposed to the CD. Unfortu
nately, getting a turntable adequate to milk the LP
to its full potential is too expensive for the majority
of music lovers.
in addition, according to Rolling Stone magazine,
the cost of CDs is failing as technology spreads and
competition forces prices down. Meanwhile, the LP
cost is rising because manufacturers must ensure
that they do not suffer the loss in profit on the
Most radio stations have converted their collection
from LP to CD format Walton said WRDU plays CDs
due to the better sound quality but still uses the
LPs that are sent from record companies as
giveaways. Does the station use albums at all
anymore? Sure they do. w ... as door-stops, ashtrays,
Frisbees . . ." Walton says.
College radio stations still employ the LP format
mainly because companies often will not send them
material in CD form. However, even UNO's own WXYC
is expecting a new CD player in a few weeks. Although
the station will stili use LPs, it will begin to incorporate
CDs into its collection.
Various predictions for the LP abound. Walton
argued that the LP is dying out and that it should.
Howard Appelbaum, the vice president of a chain
of DC record stores, predicted that LPs will vanish
within three years. But some enthusiasts remain
As Blanchette says, "until technology is much more
widespread, (LPs) wont fade away. Until that last
country music lover switches to CDs, LPs will be
How albums are used at WRDU:
"as Frisbees, ashtrays, doorstops. . .
Bob Walton, music director.
Rebel! Don't give up all of your
precious LPs Recycle them!
By JENNY LIVINGSTON
Assistant Omnibus Editor
So they say the LP is obsolete.
The CDs are coming, they say, to wipe vinyl
clean off the shelves of your friendly neigh
borhood record store.
No matter that most CDs cost 16 bucks a
pop. No matter that they skip worse than
most records. No matter that this whole thing
smacks of the worst kind of conspiracy.
You guessed it. its a YUPPIE conspiracy
designed to force us vinyl-lovers into the
doset, away from respectable people who
have two BMWs in the garage and two and
a half kids in day care, away from real music
and into the dutches of (God forbid) NEW AGE
yuppie music Could it get worse?
Personally, I dont think the public is ready
to give up their treasured LPs. its not just the
vinyl we'd miss, it's the liner notes, its the great
cover art, it's the loving ritual of deaning each
record before playing it, handling it just so and
then sliding it ever so gently back into its cover.
But just in case the conspiracy succeeds,
we're going to have to be prepared for an
albumiess world in which turntables are no
more common than 18-year-old virgins. What
will we do with ail those albums when the
last turntable has expired and no one even
knows how to fix it? What will we do when
our kids look at our collections and ask what
those funny black things are?
What are we going to do with all that vinyl?
a Frisbees - They look a little like them,
they'll even fly like them if you throw them
hard enough; just dont throw them to your
dog. For extra laughs, you could sharpen the
edge, throw them at your enemies and
pretend you're Chuck Norris.
b retro dinnerware - What could be more
trendy? Ditch that china bullstuff and dish out
some vittles on your handy round albums. Use
45s for salad plates. Use your turntable as a
revolving buffet1 Best of all. they're now
a decoration - You know, mobiles, wallcov
erings, sculpture. The circle is a very aesthet
ically pleasing form.
b recycling - If worse comes to worse, you
could always just melt them down. Just think
how much vinyl we'd recover from those
useless LPs. There would be enough to cover
ail the furniture in Hardees for the next 100
years, enough to make hundreds of thousands
more "Leather Look" luggage sets for them
to sell on the home shopping channels.
its enough to make you puke, huh?