Bloomington Tracks music store sees vinyl sales increase during pandemic

Vinyl record sales were already on the rise, with last year being their 15th consecutive year of growth. But with the pandemic, they’ve been stratospheric with 27.54 million records sold in 2020. This trend has helped independent record stores across the country, including the Bloomington music store, Tracks.

There were more vinyl sales than CD sales last year, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

“[Records are] huge now, especially during the lockdown, ”said Emily Morris, UI junior and Tracks senior partner. “I feel like everyone is looking for a hobby.”

Morris said the store’s vinyl sales were high at the start of the pandemic. When they were closed in March and April, Tracks was receiving approximately 20 online record orders daily.

The store sells original spirits clothing, records and CDs.

Morris said the store sells records and CDs spanning genres such as pop, rock, jazz, country, reggae, blues and hip-hop. The majority of the vinyl selection is newer music, she said.

“When you think of a record store, I feel like you usually think of browsing through a bunch of used records that were pressed in the ’60s or’ 70s,” Morris said. “I would say we’re different in that we bring in completely new music because it’s actually quite rare for record stores to have brand new stuff.”

The most profitable vinyl section of Tracks is modern hip-hop like Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar, according to Morris.

Freshman Sydney Greggs is a frequent customer of Tracks. She has been collecting records for years and has a mix of older and newer music.

“I think Tracks is a very important part of our community here at IU,” said Greggs. “I try to get in every time I’m in Kirkwood. There is something very special about buying a record in a record store rather than online. “

Morris has been with Tracks for approximately two years and is now a Senior Partner. She takes care more of the music side of the store by managing vinyl orders and restocking the shelves. Second-year store and designer Emily Regnery designs clothes for the clothing side of the store.

Tracks also sells clothes and Regnery has been designing clothes for the store since October 2020. She is showcasing models and working with her boss to see what would sell in the store.

Regnery said that recently every three weeks she’s getting a new design printed and sold.

“(I see my designs) by browsing my Instagram and walking around campus,” Regnery said. “It’s my favorite part, just having this connection.”

With the return of record collecting, Morris said Tracks is more important than ever to the community of Bloomington.

Alice P. Darby