Mark Micloskey, owner of Mr. Vinyl, will “spin” his way out of the world of small business ownership and into the world of retirement this June after more than 23 years of music sales in the Sedalia community.
“I looked for a job when I got here and I didn’t find any, so I figured I’d have to make my own job,” Micloskey said. “Where I came from, out in California, they had a nice vinyl record store and I really enjoyed going there, so I though the people here might enjoy collecting and having a fun shop.”
Thus, Mr. Vinyl was opened in November 1991, but Micloskey said his love of music and his reasons for opening a record shop were formed during his teenage years when he hitchhiked from Connecticut to Greenwich Village in New York City. One night at the Café Wha? he saw a performance by a little-known band who called themselves Jimmy James and the Blue Flames.
“Jimmy James and the Blue Flames were playing and I saw this guy playing the guitar behind his back and neck and with his teeth and I said ‘man this is really incredible.’ Then a year later, in ‘67, I saw him again and he had changed his name from Jimmy James and the Blue Flames to The Jimmy Hendrix Experience. But, I had seen him a year before he had been discovered and he blew my mind and inspired me,” Micloskey recalled.
“So, when people ask ‘what would be the perfect job for you?’ I say help the people find the missing music in their life. That lost song.”
Thinking of the song “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles, it is often rumored the compact disc killed the vinyl album. However, according to Micloskey, that’s not entirely true.
“CD’s did not take the place of vinyl like I thought they would,” Micloskey explained. “I didn’t open until they stopped making vinyl in 1991. They stopped making vinyl in 1990 and I opened in 1991, so everyone knew that vinyl was on the way out and all expected that CD’s would be the new thing. That only lasted 20 years and then they started having music downloads. Now, people don’t even bring in CD’s anymore.”
He added there is still a market for vinyl, as it has several benefits over digital formats, artwork being one of the most obvious.
“The first thing people like is to have something in their hands — it’s bigger than the CD’s, they can read the information, look at the pictures, read the lyrics,” Micloskey said. “Some of them had fancy covers. I have one cover back there that folds into a pyramid. Another one is a trash can cover that opens up with this star coming out into the street. There are collectible covers, so there is some attraction to vinyl because of how it looks.
“It’s just inherently cool, because all the rock and roll stars were on vinyl.”
While it may not seem an obvious choice for purchasing vinyl as opposed to a CD or digital media, Micloskey, and many purists, said the sound quality of a vinyl album on a good turntable cannot be beat.
“They call it ‘warmer’ and that translates to having more mid-range compared to a CD,” Micloskey said. “Now a CD has more bass and treble, but apparently it leaves something to be desired in the mid-range. So the people that really appreciate the sound rather than the look also like it for its warm sound.”
The resurgence of vinyl in the new millennium is confirmed by sales. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), vinyl saw a global downturn beginning in 2000 ($161 million in albums sold) that lasted until 2006 ($36 million in albums sold.) From 2006 to the present, vinyl has seen a steady increase with $171 million in sales in 2012.
“There still is (resurgence) and they are still making vinyl. They put metal bands on vinyl and all the new hits. They’re going back and making old Hendrix hits on vinyl again,” Micloskey said. “The problem is, the original collectors were like Elvis, rockabilly, doo-wop — those people are not going to want the new records like the hip-hop records on vinyl.
“But, if somebody was flexible enough to go back and like the stuff from the ’40s, ’50s, ’70s, they could continue their collection with the new stuff.”
In addition to helping thousands of people find that “lost song” over the years, Micloskey has helped people compile tracks for funeral services, weddings, wakes and even inspirational tapes for sports teams, with many of those songs found only on vinyl. While he is closing Mr. Vinyl so that he can retire, if recent sales charts and Micloskey‘s information are accurate, it’s not due to the death of the record.
“I thought it was the greatest job in the world. I never got rich at it, I mostly brought a lot of joy to people that enjoy music and needed a place like this,” Micloskey said. “I would say less people came from town than from around the state or the country. I’ve had people from overseas come here. I’ve had disk jockeys from cities like L.A. come here and say they couldn’t find something anymore.”
While an exact closing date has not been set, Micloskey said the store will close sometime before the end of June. Despite his retirement, he said he plans on staying active in the local music scene.
“I’ll still go out and support the local bands. I pretty much know all the musicians. I’ll go out and head-bang. I’m always excited to see a new blues artist arrive. I’ll still live in town, I’m not going anywhere. I’m probably going to keep my collection and if anybody gives me a call and asks if I still have ‘that’ record, I’ll see if I can help them find it,” Micloskey said with a smile.