Music Stop keeps alive the nostalgia of enjoying music like never before

vinyl records, cassettes, “8-track” and compact discs. These were popular means of disseminating music in the last century and by the 2000s, record stores were essential for the public to be able to hear the work of their favorite singers and groups.

But the advent of digital audio players in the early 21st century led to a decline in demand for these items and as a result, establishments selling them disappeared… and Puerto Rico was no exception.

Faced with this scenario, Music Stop owner Richard Soto decided to transform the store that his father Francisco Soto had founded 49 years ago in order to keep the hobby of music lovers alive, as well as ensure the sustainability of the business. Who has succeeded in modernizing it. Offering focused on vinyl.

Music Stop remains the store with the largest supply of vinyl records in the Caribbean.
Music Stop remains the store with the largest supply of vinyl records in the Caribbean. ,David Villafane Ramos,

Soto spoke to Primera Hora about how the company – which originated in New York in the ’60s, but moved to the island with its first store in Bayamón in December 1974 – has once again expanded its offering of new vinyl. Revised its proposal to expand. The format has maintained momentum since its return due to the interest of young audiences in exploring yesterday’s musical productions and their reproduction technology, and the new affection of traditional consumers.

“All music formats were formally established by record labels, they were the ones who invented and adopted the systems for reproducing music. These were the same record companies that insisted on having cassette players in cars in the ’80s, and then insisted on having CD players in the ’90s, when vehicles only had radios. They had that engine running. However, seven years ago, in Los Angeles, there began to be an interest in listening to LP (long-play) records, which led companies to carefully study this trend,” Soto said.

This trend, surprising to many, became the norm, the businessman explained, when it was discovered that sales of microgroove records grew by double digits over the past five years, causing music companies to press both new productions. Had to go back, like the albums of the past.

“There are two aspects here, a lot of content is being bought from ‘new’ artists like Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo. On the Latin side we see great interest in the albums of Victor Manuelle and Marc Anthony on vinyl. Also, you see people searching for the famous album ‘Abbey Road’ by ABBA, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, which is in huge demand, as well as ‘soundtracks’ from movies like ‘Grease’. ‘ and ‘Saturday Night Fever,'” the businessman revealed.

Richard Soto, who took the reins of Music Stop in 2005, continues to offer records and electronics to the public in Puerto Rico and the United States.
Richard Soto, who took the reins of Music Stop in 2005, continues to offer records and electronics to the public in Puerto Rico and the United States. ,David Villafane Ramos,

In fact, that famous production by the British group, released in September 1969, sold more than 300 thousand copies in the year 2022. While the album “Thriller” of the famous “King of Pop” sells an average of 200. Thousands per year in this analog format, Soto highlighted.

In the case of the Puerto Rican businessman, it was a visit to the Consumer Electrics Show in the city of Las Vegas in 2020 that made him curious when he saw that the most “innovative” proposals at the activity included record players in different formats. Victrola and audio brand -Technica, as well as a collection of needles and cleaners.

“Seeing it at an event where you see the next TVs and electronics on the market gives you a harbinger of what’s to come in the music industry, so we once again brought turntables, something that had been missing from our shelves, And one designated a four-foot section of vinyl as an experiment,” he said.

That experiment was successful for the company, as two years later the change allowed the business – which had more than 15 branches around the island – to expand the store from 800 feet to approximately 2,500 feet and expand its range of vinyl. Provide resources. , became the store with the largest collection of LPs in the Caribbean.

Additionally, the establishment has an online store where customers can order their favorite records with the option of shipping across the island and the United States.

“The Puerto Rican market is very different from the United States. There is still a lot of physical music consumed here and in our many meetings with the original record companies from which we buy directly, we always bring the message that they should continue to produce physical products because Puerto Ricans depend on physical music. Like to discuss. product. , especially in the tropical genre, even if they ‘saved’ them on their electronic devices. But vinyl has surprised us,” he said.

Soto, on the other hand, assures that this trend managed to reinvigorate a culture that lived in the principles of the business he worked with his father, which can still be seen in the hallways of the establishment, Where there are recognized figures such as Romeo Santos, Ednita Nazario, Manny Manuel, Alex Ubago, and the duo as Jesse and Joey.

“I sold vinyl with my father decades ago, and it’s very gratifying for us to see the situation again from so many years ago, where people would come on weekends and talk to others about making history about vinyl. They met, and made history with what they had. It had disappeared, and now it’s here to stay,” he said, indicating that this “boom” revived the vinyl industry in the United States and Spain. Is.

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