AUSTIN, Texas — The appeal of analog in a digital world seems to never end.
For more than 30 years, the Austin Record Convention has attracted hundreds of dealers from all over the country and Europe. It is the largest sale of its kind in the United States. Paul Solarski is from Tennessee and has been a vendor at the convention for many years. He was selling a record player made in 1915.
“Mostly [[people are]] shocked that something like that actual still works after 102 years, because most of us after a 102 years aren’t going to be working and the fact that the beauty of the cabinet and the craftsmanship, I mean this is really what, you know, was great about early recording technology,” Solarski said.
Old technology has been staying on track against a wave of new sounds.
“A lot of people are listening to artists for the first time on a streaming service digital and then deciding to go and buy the vinyl later, so it might even be complimentary it’s not really an either or situation,” said Nathan Hanners. His father started the convention in 1981.
The big, national event is built on small, personal moments. For many, listening to the rich sounds of vinyl records in a living room provides a different listening experience.
“Sometimes people want to feel, they want to hold something in their hand that’s sort of a connection,” Hanners said.
It's also about the hunt. Young and old, from near and far were seen flipping fingers and finding treasures in a sea of vinyl records, 8-track tapes, and cassettes.
“It seems like nowadays you could just get whatever you want off the Internet," said 16-year-old Alfonso Ranno who collects vinyl records. "Whenever you come to a record convention it’s like you come in looking for a specific thing, but you never know what you're going to find.”
Many collectors said the practice provides a greater potential for reward.
“For those people who are really into this obscure stuff, it’s like an archaeological exercise right, they’ve been chasing it like Indiana Jones for you know a decade and when they finally get it, it’s pretty cool,” Hanners said.
The next show will be in May. For more information visit austinrecords.com.