The Fort Collins record boom

With Record Store Day and Vinylthon right around the corner, record sales have skyrocketed across the country. KCSU’s Tyler Weatherwax, aka DJ Wax, discusses how record shops are appearing all over Fort Collins and why the record industry is on the rise.


Tyler Weatherwax

“Everybody seems ready to get out and do things and reconnect. I think that there’s a backlash to streaming.” – Jason Gorbett, Songbyrd Records

Tyler Weatherwax

Dropping the needle and hearing the crackles and pop as the music plays is often what record collectors enjoy most.

Music lovers of all ages and all parts of the country have become obsessed with the collection of vinyl – both new and old. More record stores are appearing all over the United States and more people are buying records. Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of popularity throughout the country with a product long thought to be dead.

Vinyl records were the dominant form of purchasing music throughout the 20th century, but began to fade away near the end of the century. Other formats, such as CDs and digital media, have been the dominant form of music listening, yet a trend of collecting vinyl has taken over the country.

The BBC reported that in 2022 vinyl records outsold CDs for the first time since 1987. Over 41 million vinyl records were sold in 2022, bringing in $1.2 billion. This impressive feat came after 16 years of sales growth for physical media in the music industry.

An increase in record sales have happened since the end of the COVID-19 lockdowns. More people are expected to buy physical copies of their music than ever before and find a place to gather and share that love of music.

Fort Collins has been impacted by these trends as well. Multiple record shops line College Avenue, and more appear every year. College students and people of all ages and backgrounds flood the stores to find their next album, poster, or turntable. One of these new stores settled in Fort Collins.

Songbyrd Records is located on College Avenue and is the perfect example of a small, locally-owned business. The store’s little living room interior entices shoppers with a comfortable and welcoming space. One man who sits behind the counter to assist them is Jason. Jason Gorbett is the owner of Songbyrd Records and has noticed this nationwide trend of collecting records right here in Fort Collins.

Jason Gorbett sits behind the counter at Songbyrd Records. He holds up a Beck album over his face. (Tyler Weatherwax)

“I think in the last year it’s doubled the number of serious record stores. I think that there’s also been a revival along with it in live music and in record shows. I think that is all part of a cultural revival that I think is happening across the nation as we come out of COVID.” said Jason “Everybody seems ready to get out and do things and reconnect. I think that there’s a backlash to streaming. Streaming seems to be more of a disposable medium. It’s not a communal activity that accurately collects us.”

The nationwide trend has come to Fort Collins, where more record stores than ever line College Avenue. The feeling of connecting with other music lovers and buying that favorite album is drawing in more collectors.

In celebration of Record Store Day, KCSU will be participating in Vinylthon! On April 22 and 23, hear your favorite DJs play vinyl records all day long in participation of the national event. More information on Songbyrd Records can be found here.