If you’re interested in picking up vinyl copies of Frankie Rose’s Interstellar, Queen’s Flash Gordon, or Sonny Rollins’s The Bridge, you don’t have to go on a record store treasure hunt or dig through bins in a garage sale. You can find all of these records at Urban Outfitters, the hip and often pricey clothing chain. Chris Chafin penned the Village Voice article “Is It OK to Buy Records at Urban Outfitters?” He joins Thomas Bernich, the owner of the vinyl processing plant Brooklynphono, for a discussion about buying vinyl in this modern age.
Chris Chafin, on stumbling upon a large selection of quality records at Urban Outfitters:
I thought, like I say in the article, it would be basically the record version of a college dorm room poster sale. The Doors, Britney Spears for kitsch value, and then that would be it, and onto hamburger phones. But there was a lot of stuff….I started flipping and I thought it would be very quick, but there’s just bins and bins and bins. It was actually pretty fun to look through. I think my lunch was cold by the time I got back.
Thomas Bernich, on why he would be happy if Urban Outfitters carried his vinyl:
The medium is the message, so seeing it in Urban Outfitters feels good…. We’re not going to evaporate tomorrow as an industry. And in the same breath I see it going to little places all over. I know it’s OK. Also, I hear Dinosaur Jr. now, and this is something that I didn’t hear everywhere ages ago. So it has the evolution. I see the little things eventually evolving, and customers like that.
Chafin, on why labels like to stock their records in Urban Outfitters:
The people I spoke with at Sub Pop said they were so happy not just to be put in front of that audience, which is mostly college kids, but Urban works with them on all sorts of stuff, like making temporary tattoos that say Sub Pop, putting up big window displays for them. And for a label like that, which has a big name but a lot of their great releases are maybe a little bit in the past, like early Nirvana, stuff like that, they’re thrilled to get in front of that audience. Other people I spoke with say [that] nobody buys one record. If you’re going to buy a record and a record player, you’re hooked.