By Jeff Simms
The resurgence of vinyl records, as well an appreciation for obscure 1980s pop culture, is back on Main Street in Beacon.
Audioccult has been open since April. For its owner, lifelong music fan Sean Congdon, 38, the location is ideal.
“I moved to the Hudson Valley four years ago, and Beacon was one of the places that we explored early on,” said Congdon, who lives in Holmes. “There’s something about pulling onto Main Street and seeing the mountains in the distance. I really did fall in love with it as soon as I visited.”
Congdon argues that while consumers gravitate to the convenience of digital, musicians have always favored analog recordings. Vinyl sales were nearly nonexistent 15 years ago, yet they have increased 260 percent since 2009, according to industry figures, and are up again this year. And promotions such as Record Store Day (recordstoreday.com) have become sales juggernauts.
“I attribute the resurgence of vinyl to the MP3 and the poor sound quality and less emotional nature of computer-based media,” Congdon said. “The MP3 format appeals to those who see media as being disposable. Vinyl appeals to those who are more invested in the art and sound quality. There’s an attraction to physical media that got lost.”
The physical, artistic aspect of the product is on display at Audioccult. There’s a section of new releases that runs the gamut of styles, as well as a stock of clean used records. This isn’t an old-school dark and dusty record store.
In addition to music, Congdon stocks the perimeter of his shop with VHS horror movies, vintage monster movie lunch boxes and unopened monster trading cards. He hopes the selection appeals to other ghoulishly nostalgic children of the 1980s.
“I wanted my store to be a reflection of who I am, so I brought in a bunch of that stuff from home,” he said. “Besides records, creepy antiques and ‘80s stuff from my childhood are the things I love discussing, collecting and sharing with other people.” In addition, he admits they help pull customers into the shop who might otherwise have no interest in LPs.
“I’ve gotten a lot of support from this community,” Congdon said. “It’s flattering to come in and open my first business and feel like the people locally have got my back.”
Audioccult, located at 267 Main St. and online at audioccult.com, is open every day except Mondays and Tuesdays. Phone 845-838-1437.