Sponsored by Forest Grove Economic Development
Home Back Issues September 2009 Old tech is new again

Old tech is new again

| Print |  Email
Archives - September 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Old Tech
The vinyl world of Everyday Music in Portland
PHOTO BY MARTIN GEE

In the past few years, vintage technologies such as manual cameras and vinyl records have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity among 20-somethings and teenagers who grew up inundated by digital technology, and it’s helped several Portland stores that cater to these niche markets survive.

Blue Moon Camera and Machine sells manual cameras and refurbished manual typewriters. In the last year and a half, Blue Moon owner Jake Shivery says he’s seen a huge interest among students, hipsters and artists.

“People want to get as far away from digital cameras as they can because that’s the establishment,” says Shivery.

This has helped Blue Moon’s revenue remain stable, though it’s down slightly from 2008. The film processing aspect of business also continues to grow. But camera shops are not recession-proof. Citizens Photo is relocating to a cheaper space because of a drop in sales.

What people find appealing about manual cameras is the physical process of adjusting settings and using film to create a distinctive photo they can’t make digitally. This appreciation of tactile experiences is shared by those who buy vinyl records. They enjoy physically putting a record on the player, listening to the sometimes scratchy music and turning the record over. Though manual cameras’ market remains narrow, vinyl has gained mainstream popularity throughout the state in the past few years.

This popularity has helped boost sales at music stores, though it can’t make up for the decline in CD sales. Record sales make up 15% of revenue at Portland-based Everyday Music. Owner Scott Kuzma expects that percentage to increase. He also thinks the music industry will ruin vinyl’s popularity by continuing to hike prices.

“With new vinyl you’re paying more than for a new CD and that’s actually inhibiting sales,” says Kuzma.

Mississippi Records makes 90% of its revenue from records and revenue is currently flat over last year. It’s one of four stores in Portland that sells primarily vinyl. In owner Eric Isaacson’s opinion, Portland’s scrappy youth culture helps support sales. He’s also seen more teenagers purchasing records; so has Trina Brenes, co-owner of Ashland-based Music Coop.

“If you spend your entire day in front of your computer and listening to your iPod, it’s isolating,” she says. “[Teenagers] are now listening to LPs at someone’s house together as a social event.”

Though records and manual cameras remain a niche market, as long as there’s a culture that appreciates tactile experiences, shops like Blue Moon and Mississippi Records will find a customer base for their vintage technologies. 

JENNY FURNISS
 

Comments   

 
Bob
0 #1 Cameras and VinylBob 2009-09-14 16:59:06
OK, so I have an old manual Cannon camera and a bunch of old LP's, circa 70's and 80's. Anybody want to buy them?
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Oregon Business wins awards

News
Monday, June 30, 2014

ASBPEOregon Business magazine won two silver awards for excellence in writing in the National American Society of Business Publication Editors Western region competition.


Read more...

Who said we should sell in May?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, July 18, 2014
BullMarketBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”


Read more...

Updated: Disrupting innovation

News
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
070814 thumb disputive-innovationBY LINDA BAKER  | OB EDITOR

The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation  — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment. 

Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.


Read more...

Green Endeavor cleans up

News
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
080614 ULnew greenendeavorBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Portland startup Green Endeavor strikes gold, inking a partnership with Underwriters Laboratories, an Illinois-based consulting and certification company with offices in 46 countries.


Read more...

Podcast: Interview with Steve Balzac

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

082014BalzacBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Tom Cox interviews Steve Balzac, author of "Organizational Psychology for Managers."


Read more...

Q&A: David Lively of Organically Grown Co.

News
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
OGCLogoBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

Demand for organic food continues to soar: Last year, sales of organic food rose to $32.3 billion — up 10% from 2012. In Oregon, organic produce wholesaler Organically Grown Co. has been championing organic growing methods for four decades.


Read more...

Portland rises

News
Monday, August 18, 2014

IMG 2551Portland is in the middle of another construction boom, with residential and office projects springing up downtown, in the Pearl and Old Town. OB Web Editor Jessica Ridgway documents the new wave.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS