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On the Record with Record Outlet

A blast to the past with the forgotten music of the past

January 31, 2018

Inside+of+the+Record+Store
Inside of the Record Store

Inside of the Record Store

Ryan Solot - The Talon

Ryan Solot - The Talon

Inside of the Record Store

There is only one lone survivor in the music industry in all of Oak Park, Agoura, Westlake and Thousand Oaks–, and it is just in time for the recent uptick in records, Cassettes and CD’s.

The Record Outlet, which has been open since 1984, has been delivering a musical experience for multiple generations. The current owner, KC Staples, has owned The Record Outlet for 21 years and worked there since 1987. He said that he has seen fluctuations in interest, action and sales at the store as well as throughout the record industry.

“There is a large generation that’s grown up without having something tangible to hold and look at  the record, you know is a tactile experience in some ways,”Staples said.

“You’re holding this big piece of cover art, and back in the day the cover art was as important as the music on the record.”

However, according to employee Nadia Franks, the music shop has seen a recent incline in record interest.

“A lot of people come in here mostly looking for vinyl. Especially kids [in the age group of 17-24] —, they usually go to the ‘Punk, Indie, Alt’ section,” Franks said.  “The resurgence of vinyl [is due to the fact] people are definitely appreciating indie music in a way they haven’t in the past decade or so.”

According to Staples, sales in CD’s have also inclined to surprising levels.

“I saw the sales of CD decline quite a bit, but suddenly those are starting to increase as well. I can’t help thinking that a lot of it has to do with how expensive new vinyl is,” Staples said.

The fluctuation of these formats in popularity and their certain characteristics, such as sentimental value, have evened the playing field in their ability to sell.

“There will always be somebody buying [music in] some format or another. If there [were] a bunch of stores [selling music] all at the same time where I am, it would be terrible, but because I’m the only one, it, works for me,” Staples said.

However, the Record Outlet has not always had the luxury of being the only music shop in the Conejo Valley.

“When I opened up my store there was several stores around, and of course Best Buy was a big competitor,” Staples said. “

According to Staples, he at one point, left The Record Outlet, to join a corporate store.

“I worked at a chain record store,  –, they stole me away [from The Record Outlet] because they wanted me really bad [since]  I had a lot of knowledge [about music],” Staples said.,

Staples eventually returned to The Record Outlet before 1996 when the original owner began to see his business struggle.

“Eventually I got over that corporate stuff, but I learned a lot, as far as management goes and [things] like that,” Staples said.”

Staples said that he is surprised over how much his records have aged over the past

decades.

“A lot of the older records now,it’s weird to me –– I mean they are like 50 years old, [like] some of the Beatles records and Rolling Stones and the stuff that I sell a lot of. Those things are a half century old,” “Staples said. “

And when I was like 15, 16, 17 something that was 50-years-old was just completely ancient to me. 

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