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Columbia House Record Club Reportedly Relaunching as Vinyl Service

Spencer Platt, Getty Images
Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Mere months after Columbia House filed for bankruptcy, the fallen music mail-order giant is reportedly poised to relaunch as a vinyl-only delivery service.

The Wall Street Journal spoke with Columbia House owner John Lippman, who purchased the brand for $1.5 million and intends to target what he sees as an untapped market for physical product. “You can see a yearning and an interest to try a new format,” he explained. “For a category that is meaningful and growing rapidly, you don’t see a whole lot of choice.”

Vinyl enthusiasts might dispute that assertion — and given that sales for the once-moribund format have continued to rebound long after analysts (and some artists) dismissed its resurgence as a fad whose bubble was doomed to burst, it’s readily apparent that anyone who wants to buy a record can already do so without expending a lot of effort.

Potentially more troublesome for Lippman is the fact that, for many vinyl lovers, the best part of buying a new LP is the time spent digging through the crates in search of that perfect new addition to one’s collection — something obviously lacking in mail-order record clubs (a market sector whose competitors already includes Vinyl Me Please and VNYL) and online storefronts such as Amazon, whose vast size allows for deep price cuts to a nearly limitless catalog.

However Lippman’s gambit ends up playing out, we can’t complain about anything that encourages people to purchase music — and if nothing else, news of Columbia House’s imminent revival may inspire some of us to head out to our local record store and pick up a stack of vintage vinyl for pennies on the dollar.

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