Almost every day at local record-selling institution Twist & Shout, owner Paul Epstein says he notices the same thing: a constant stream of young buyers all looking at vinyl with a "deer in the headlights" look, examining records "like the monkeys in 2001: A Space Odyssey." The customers are clueless, and Epstein wants to change that.
Cue the record shop's latest video series: "Vinyl University."
"In the last year or two, more than in the last decade, there's been a huge influx of young buyers," Epstein says. "When I say young, I mean two or three generations below the classic vinyl buyer."
Epstein says these new buyers often know little to nothing about vinyl, just that the Internet has told them that it's cool. So Epstein has started this series to help his customers.
"It just made sense," he says. "We should just start showing people so they are more confident when they come in the store."
This isn't the first time that Twist and Shout has used YouTube to reach the community. "Tales of the Wall" featured Epstein pulling items off the store wall and explaining their history and some facts. Also every live performance in the store is recorded and put online.
The first twenty-minute episode, or "lecture" of "Vinyl University" is online now, and is called "Orientation." Epstein goes all the way back, beginning with a brief history of the phonograph. Time to get serious, students.
Future episodes, of which there will at least be six, will include topics such as how to best handle vinyl, how to handle a needle and how to set up a turntable.
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"I think there's an enormous amount of both cultural and artistic transmission waiting to happen in physical goods," Epstein says. "It's an entire world of interesting and cool shit to explore, and the more you know about it, the more fun it is. We're trying to give people a leg up in their collecting and help them enjoy this awesome hobby."
Vinyl fans keep getting younger and younger.