The history of pop music is riddled with obsolete formats from cylinders to eight tracks, to cassettes and now CDs. Technology is always finding new mediums to deliver music.
But vinyl records — one of the oldest formats — simply refuses to die. Records may pose no threat to the omniscience of iTunes and downloading, but there is still a healthy market for music lovers who enjoy dropping a needle on a record.
Now, vinyl lovers in the Akron-Canton area have another place to indulge themselves. On Friday, local musicians Chris Bentley and Derek Murphy held the grand opening of Frankenstein Records at 221 Fifth St. in Canton.
The 38-year-old business partners are bandmates in the Most Beautiful Losers (Bentley plays guitar and sings, while Murphy is the bassist. They decided to open a record store almost on a whim after buying a bunch of records that were about to be discarded from Buzzbin Art & Music Shop in Canton.
“I’ve been collecting records for 20 years so I have quite a bit of stuff in garages and basements so between all that and Derek we just decided to go for it,” Bentley said.
All told, Bentley said Frankenstein currently has around 35,000 pieces of used vinyl, a few hundred new vinyl albums along with T-shirts, band paraphernalia, used CDs and “cool punk rock stuff.”
He said the store’s name comes from his nickname and one of the band’s songs that is a fan favorite. Bentley said he likes the idea of comparing used vinyl to used body parts to make something cool.
ITunes and illegal downloading may be the big boys in music retail, but Bentley believes the vinyl crowd is strong enough to sustain their retail monster.
“There’s tons of collectors and I’ve definitely noticed in the past five years or so there’s a lot of vinyl being put out on a regular basis,” he said.
Additionally, Bentley and Murphy know their target market is likely not going to be fans waiting on the next Taylor Swift album and are tailoring their new inventory to cater to smaller artists, labels and their fans.
“There’s definitely going to be a certain crowd that comes here to buy stuff. We’re not going to be carrying Justin Bieber or normal crap like that,” he said.
“[Our] kind of crowd is more receptive to physical music. When I was a kid I could go buy a record or even a CD and I always just loved opening it up and looking at the artwork and absorbing the whole thing while I listened to it. With digital music you can’t do it and I think a lot of younger people haven’t been exposed to that,” Bentley said.
They found a storefront with “cheap rent” and Bentley is counting on his eight years of running an art supply store in Columbus to help him get the business up and running quickly. Both he and Murphy have plenty of friends and connections in the area music scene to help spread the word. They also received plenty of support and encouragement from other stores and officials such as Artsinstark in the Canton Arts District.
In addition to the vinyl, used CDs and band stuff, Bentley and Murphy plan to host live music every Saturday night and periodic in-store performances. At 9 p.m. on Monday, Frankenstein Records will host Colorado indie rock act Mr. Nasti. The show is free.
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at 330-996-3758 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s also on Facebook as Malcolm X Abram. … Go figure.