Vinyl Revival: Brooklyn Phono

There’s a record-making resurgence in Brooklyn – and the world.

According to Nielsen Soundscan, sales of vinyl records rose by a shocking 39% in 2011 to reach totals of nearly 4 million.

And those are just the conservative estimates – Soundscan’s rankings only include barcode sales at retail outlets. The RIAA says that even after accounting for returns, vinyl shipments had already topped 4 million by 2010, for a revenue increase of 44% from the year before. This represents a mere fraction of the total music market, but an important one.

Brooklyn PhonoOf course, Thomas Bernich didn’t know that any of this was coming 10 years ago when he opened Brooklyn Phono in Sunset Park.

He had set up shop right down the street from an old repairman who had spent the past several decades restoring vintage jukeboxes and arcade games, and was then on the verge of retirement.

They both rattled around their too-large warehouses, Bernich ramping up business with his one functional SMT record press, while his neighbor wound things down. As a parting gift, the older man would give Bernich a classic jukebox for his shop and a tabletop Ms. Pac-Man for his home.

“I didn’t start this in anticipation of the resurgence,” Bernich told Goldmine Magazine in 2010. “I’m happy to be caught in it. It helps us grow. But I just did this because I wanted to do something where I could come to work every day and put my full energy into it.”

When he began, Bernich says he was working 6 days a week, up to 20 hours each day. His schedule eventually became more sane as he mastered the process and brought his machines up to speed.

The day I visited Brooklyn Phono, he had a look of alert and patient focus, and gave a brief smile and a polite little nod while tending to his 5 fully-restored record presses.

“They need to be watched constantly,” production manager Paul Sweedlund told me. “Anything can happen in the process…

Click to continue “Vinyl Revival” on SonicScoop.

This entry was posted in All Stories, April 2012, Industry Trends, Made in New York, Sub-Feature 2. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
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