Earth & Conservation

Are Teenagers Keeping Vinyl Records Alive?

Why is vinyl thriving in the age of streaming music? A 16-year old record store owner explains why it's her preferred format.

2015 marked the tenth straight year that vinyl record sales were up in the U.S., with over 12 million units sold. With all of the streaming capabilities these days, from Spotify, to Pandora, to Apple Music, who is still buying music the old-fashioned way and why?

According to MusicWatch, it's millennials -- half of all record buyers in 2015 were under the age of 25. 16-year-old Adia Douglas is one of the the many young vinyl lovers out, but she's taken it a step further. Adia co-owns her own record store, RPM Records in Brentwood, CA, where she works every afternoon when she's finished her high school classes for the day.

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Adia told Seeker that she began collecting records at age 10 with the help of her father's impressive vinyl collection that he started decades earlier. Her favorite albums span genres and time periods and currently include Oceania by Smashing Pumpkins, Oracular Spectacular by MGMT, Déjà vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and Warpaint by Warpaint. She credits her father for giving her such a broad taste in music.

Adia's love of vinyl has a lot to do with the listening experience and sound quality. "When I'm listening to my music on my stereo it just sounds better. It sounds more alive. There's like a totally different vibe than me putting my laptop on and playing something from YouTube, Pandora or Spotify," she told Seeker.

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Her father, Jason Douglas, agrees. He believes that by switching to MP3's from vinyl records, "everyone sacrificed sonic quality for convenience." It was his encouragement to appreciate vinyl that inspired Adia to open her own record store. In fact, RPM Records started off selling albums from her father's very own collection.

Events like Record Store Day, which takes place every third Saturday in April and celebrates independently owned record stores across the country, have helped promote vinyl to younger and younger audiences each year. Adia says that sometimes kids as young as 13 will come into her store to buy records after they've saved up enough of their allowance.

Adia's excited that so many kids her age are getting into old music and appreciating vinyl. She told Seeker, "When their parents are pulling out their old vinyl, they're really getting into the bands that they're playing for them. It's really great because I've been into that, so now I can relate to all the kids my age."

-- Molly Fosco