NEW YORK, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Renewed interest in vinyl recordings could bring back an historic name in the record business: the mail-order company Columbia House.
John Lippman, who bought the company at a bankruptcy auction earlier this month, told The Wall Street Journal, "You can see a yearning and an interest to try a new format."
Columbia House, originally formed by Columbia Records in the 1950s, provided a way for music fans to build a record library with its "11 records for $1" promotion, followed by a commitment from the customer to buy more records in the future. A monthly catalogue encouraged Baby Boomers to purchase long-playing vinyl albums through the mail.
Columbia House changed hands several times as its focus shifted to compact discs and then DVD movies. When its most recent owner, FEI Inc., owned by Lippman, auctioned the company off in bankruptcy court there were no takers, so Lippman bought it himself for about $1.5 million.
Sale of vinyl records rose by 50 percent in the first half of 2015, the trade group Recording Industry Association of America reported, but the industry faces a production bottleneck, with few manufacturing facilities worldwide prepared to produce the again-popular vinyl format.
The old promotion of receiving many LPs for a dollar, beginning a customer's relationship with Columbia House, will not part of the new plan, with new vinyl recordings typically now retailing for $20 or more. Instead of simply offering a catalogue of available records, Columbia House could use a business model in which suggested albums are sent to customers in the style of mail-order book clubs.
The final details have not been ironed out.
The new Columbia House faces competition from other vinyl-by-mail firms, such as VYNL, which sends three recordings per month, based on customers' taste in music, for $36, and Vinyl Me please, which for $23 per month sends a new record, with original album cover artwork.