Vinyl is back: Browse more than 3 million records at Bananas in St. Pete

If you're over 50 years old, you may have had a record collection at one time, but now, those old LP's are back, and they are making new records. The younger generation is discovering music on vinyl.

"My grandparents sort of started my record collection off," says 19-year-old Kayla Cuva. "They gave me like the Mamas and Papas, Fleetwood Mac, Elton john, David Bowie."

Records are hot, and not just old school Beatles, Beach Boys and Pink Floyd Albums. Modern artists like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and many others have new releases on vinyl.

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"Our sales have increased more than 50% in just the last three or four years," says John Allen, whose family owns Bananas Records on 22nd Avenue North in St. Petersburg

It’s one of the biggest record stores anywhere, with an estimated 3 million records – old and new.

John has all kinds of records, including 1950s jazz records. They can be valuable, depending on how rare they are and their condition. 

"Anywhere from $20 to $30 to $1,000," says John. 

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Factories are pressing new vinyl records as fast as they can. According to an industry association, records outsold CD’s last year for the first time since 1987. 

In the 1990s and early 2000s, almost everyone was betting on CD’s, but not John's father, Doug Allen. 

"As CD’s began to take over, I bought more records," says Doug.

He kept growing the store, which then grew even faster as people tried to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Because they were looking for things to do at home, we sold tons of turntables," says John.

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Streaming services still account for the vast majority of music revenue in the US with more than 80%, but there have always been those who have said it just sounds better on vinyl. 

Cuva's roommates believe it. 

"We’re all living with each other next year in our dorm, and we were talking about who's bringing whose record player," she laughs. 

Like a turntable of time, the return of vinyl shows the amazing resilience of the record that some thought would become a thing of the past.