When photography was invented, people said painting was dead, and when CDs came along, many thought vinyl recordings were dead. Then, with the rise of downloadable digital music, CDs looked destined for the trash heap.
But things have a way of coming full circle. Painting is alive and well, and so, too, is vinyl, according to Craig Wright, who will open Innersleeve Records in Amagansett Square early next month, offering new and used LPs and CDs, along with rare poster art and music memorabilia.
Not including downloadable music, “the vinyl format is the only music format that has seen an increase in sales over the last several years,” Mr. Wright said Tuesday. “All the major record companies are pressing most of their new releases [in vinyl] and repressing their classic old releases.”
He ought to know. A manager for years at the now-defunct Long Island Sound music stores in East Hampton and Southampton, he brought vinyl back to those stores, then turned his attention to Internet auctions of valuable records after they closed.
With newer, less bulky formats to choose from, why has vinyl survived? “People have different approaches as to why they collect. Teenagers like the cover art. Some people think the sound is superior, and some of these guys have to have an original pressing or nothing at all.” There’s something to be said, too, for “being part of the process,” Mr. Wright said. “I love being involved in flipping the record and putting the tone arm down, looking at the liner notes and the cover art, and when you download you don’t get any of that at all.”
Mr. Wright sells all genres of music and is always on the hunt for collections to buy, but American jazz and blues have become his specialty and his particular area of expertise. His buyers hail from all over the world. “I’ve also had a number of Japanese clients come and visit and buy out of my storage unit,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I decided to open a store.” He wanted a place where his stock could be on display all the time, not just by appointment.
The location — in shouting distance of Crossroads Music across the square and a short walk from the Stephen Talkhouse — seemed to provide a lot of synergy, too, making Amagansett a sort of local mecca for those who love, play, and collect music.
Though Mr. Wright will continue to offer collectible vinyl for auction on eBay, he will also display his auction items in the store, so people can see some of the more rare LPs and bid on them if they like.
The store will include a space where poster art, memorabilia, and antique audio equipment will be displayed, along with local art with a “pop culture” bent.
For those who have “given up on the vinyl format” and gotten rid of their old turntables, Innersleeve will sell new and vintage introductory-level turntables “to make it easy and affordable” to re-enter the world of vinyl, Mr. Wright said.