Teens Turn the Table on Music Consumption

Joshua Lieberstein, Co-Editor

From the very beginning, vinyl records have been a source of music for people of all ages to enjoy, from the classical vinyls that used to be played in ballrooms to the jazz music that would be blasted in diners. Vinyl slowly dropped off when CDs or compact discs were coming into the limelight but they are not extinct. Other advances in musical streaming could have spelled the end for vinyl among teens, but this vintage style remains alive.

Darin Chace, the owner of Watt’s Music in Novato, which has been selling all sorts of music since 1979, said they had their biggest year of sales ever, perhaps a credit to teenagers getting into vinyl for the first time.

“2020 was the biggest amount of people getting their first turntable, and then, followed by their first vinyl, that we’ve ever had [sic],” Chace said. 

I too got into vinyl in 2020, desiring something more than digital. The tangible aspect of a vinyl record, along with the sound, is the driving force behind old and young alike getting into or continuing their love of vinyl.

“Younger people are kind of getting that that’s what it’s about. It’s so cool to kind of have a real product in your hand. Every generation has grown up with product in their hand, except for this generation,” Chace said about the feeling of holding music in your hands.

One reason many teens and adults are choosing vinyl over digital is because the music is something that can be felt. With a record, one must hold it, flip it when need be, clean it, and preserve it. All of that creates a listening experience like no other. The sound change from digital to analog is apparent as well; it’s subtle, but with the right setup, it can be detected and has a profound effect on the music being played.

For some, getting into vinyl is an adventure, as was the case for Kenyon College junior, Zoe Neuschatz. It started with one song, and the obsession to find the album this song was on. 

“I got really into Arthur Russel who was a very cool experimental musician…and I happened to hear this one song by a band he was very briefly in called The Necessaries,” Neuschatz said.

She searched and searched for this album, combing through used records in stores, online and in any collection she could find. Finally, a year after the search started, she found it for $50.

Personally, I hadn’t even thought about getting into vinyl until I walked into a Barnes and Noble with my friend and went to the music section. Seeing all the vinyl records and record players captured my interest. We found an album from a band that I was really into at the time (Dreamland by Glass Animals), so I bought it along with another album, even before buying any equipment. After extensive research, I purchased a record player, speakers, an amplifier, a record holder and an anti-static brush that functions like a tone-arm. Later, I purchased speaker stands and a fancy way to display records with great album art. 

The best part is going to a record store and looking through used records to find hidden gems. I’ve purchased many classic records for mere dollars simply because they were used. There is also the fun of buying a brand new record and hearing it like you have never heard before, such as my experience with Flower Boy by Tyler, the Creator.

The sound of a record is unlike any other media. This is truly seen in rock music as everything mastered and separated into each speaker can be heard in perfect harmony. Soul music, such as Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers and Earth, Wind & Fire, come through how they were intended to be heard, the driving beat gets the body moving and the sound is impeccable. 

Surprisingly enough, songs from the pop genre with hard-hitting bass lines from artists such as Billie Eillish and Tyler, the Creator also light up the room. The bass vibrations can be felt throughout, truly creating music for the body.

The journey to getting into vinyl is different for everyone and is not cheap. Yet, the experience and search is ultimately satisfying.


ou can find Watt’s Music at 1211 Grant Avenue in Novato or on Facebook.