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Vinyl is back in Oxford… finally

Asst. Opinion Editor Devin Ankeney can now bolster their vinyl setup (pictured above) with new local shop Black Plastic Oxford.
Asst. Opinion Editor Devin Ankeney can now bolster their vinyl setup (pictured above) with new local shop Black Plastic Oxford.

For 17 consecutive years, vinyl record sales have increased annually. The physicality of holding a beloved album cannot be matched by a digital album, whether streamed or downloaded.

Black Plastic Oxford has brought the vinyl market back to Oxford after years without record stores Uptown.

And, if I may say, it’s about damn time!

For record collectors, vinyl enthusiasts and people who just love holding something in their hands, this is a more-than-welcome business.

Behind us are the days of driving to the recently-relocated Main Street Vinyl in Hamilton to scratch the itch that comes along with every passing minute not spent in a record store.

The narrow store fills the former shoes of The Oxford Copy Shop and does so in a way that makes you believe it couldn’t have ever been anything but a record shop. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of albums line either wall with boxes of jewelry in the middle and cases of posters under the record shelves.

Vinyl isn’t just for old farts and old souls who’ve pressed on like upon the beaches of Normandy to bring back the long-beloved market. The market for vinyl is everyone who loves music.

Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Olivia Rodrigo and Kendrick Lamar encompass the artists that sold the most albums on vinyl in 2022. These are hardly the genres exclusive to those stuck in past generations of media consumption.

However, the store’s plethora of brand-new, sealed records has recently been accompanied by a few shelves of used vinyl holdovers from Black Plastic’s primary location: a bone for those of us who primarily seek out older pressings of albums.

Before Black Plastic Oxford, I and other connoisseurs would have needed to drive to either Hamilton or, more likely, Cincinnati to get to a decent record shop.

This new business fills a much-needed gap in the market for Miami University and for Oxford, allowing for easy access to a product that makes up over 40% of album sales today.

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While used records likely make up 95% of my record collection, they only make up a few shelves out of dozens in the store. I hope this ratio changes, though I wouldn’t dare complain about a business that both aptly fits my interests and surprised me when I heard about it.

I have a record collection of over 250 albums and growing, not helped by the compulsive desire to continue that trend.

Maybe Black Plastic will act like a fix for an addict, but I can’t be bothered to care even if I end up spending hundreds more than I needed to during my time here at Miami.

As streaming becomes ever-more popular, compressed, lossy audio fills the vast majority of our ears the vast majority of the time. Not only does bringing this market to more people provide collectors like me a chance to further our collections, but it also allows for music-lovers to discover the overwhelming beauty within a physical LP. 

Spinning your favorite album for the first time is a feeling like no other. You’ll hear things within your favorite songs that you’d never heard before, and you’ll never go back.

As I write, I have spinning Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' second album “You’re Gonna Get It!” As my second purchase from Black Plastic and first time spinning this incredible early LP from Petty, I can tell you confidently that the feeling never goes away.

Hearing impossible depths to the vocals and an all-encompassing feel to every song and album spun, vinyl breathes life into everyone’s ears. 

Simply put, it feeds the soul.

Black Plastic is a more-than-welcome addition to the overabundance of restaurants and vape shops that line our streets, and I hope it’s here to stay.