Beyond Records: Lancaster’s Vinyl Community and the Romance of the Turntable
SubjectLancaster, PA; vinyl records; music; Stannulls Record Bar; Mr. Suit Records; record turntable; small business; music digitization; sound quality
The goal of this paper is to identify and analyze a music subculture in Lancaster, Pennsylvania: the vinyl community. This subculture, though not connected to any specific genre can be defined by a certain set of principles that revolve around the enjoyment of listening to vinyl records when record industry statistics dictate that the mainstream mode of listening to music is through mp3s and CDs (both digital recording technologies). This community represents the principles of a brand community in the aspect that the concept of “vinyl” represents certain cultural capital that comes from an accepted set of beliefs that consumers express through the purchase of records. The principles of the vinyl community can be described as including: 1. A largely white, male, often middle-class membership base. 2. The practice of epistemophilia: the love of acquiring musical knowledge and sharing musical knowledge. 3. An appreciation of a physical form of music (in contrast to the mp3 format.) 4. A perception that vinyl is of a better sound quality than digitally recorded music (CDs. And mp3s). 5. And above all, a search for an authenticity or the “real” in music. Though not specifically limited to the vinyl community, the search for the real can be displayed through this community. The research takes the form of three conversations with local store-owners and several more ethnographic conversations with customers. The main focus of the paper is a comparison between Stan’s Record Bar, (located 48 N. Prince St.) and Mr. Suit Records (located 18 W. Chestnut St.).
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2012
- F&M Theses Collection 
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