Chicago's Reverb to launch vinyl-record selling platform

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Reverb, an online marketplace for music gear, plans to launch a platform for buying and selling vinyl records and other physical music formats, the Chicago-based company said Friday.

Since launching in 2013, Reverb has grown into a popular website for musicians to buy and sell everything from vintage amps to professional turntables. It hopes to expand that reach by making Reverb LP a destination for non-musicians, too, as they look to collect or profit from hard-to-find albums.

“We feel very strongly that Reverb has a brand that identifies with musicians and passionate music fans who might not be musicians themselves,” said Reverb Chief Operating Officer Dan Melnick. “We’re looking for ways those users can interact with us.”

It’s free for people to list gear on Reverb, which takes a 3.5 percent fee when an item is sold. The company expects to hit $429 million in sales on its platform in 2017, bringing Reverb $29 million in revenue when also taking into account optional add-on features sellers can purchase.

Reverb LP will have a similar business model, including low sellers’ fees, Melnick said.

The company plans to roll out Reverb LP later this year after a round of private beta testing.

“We’re going to launch on the web, but with a very good, responsive mobile experience,” said Melnick, a former Reverb software developer. “We won’t launch with an app, but that is definitely on the road map.”

MusicStack and Discogs are among the existing online marketplaces for vinyl, cassette tapes and CDs. More general options include eBay, Amazon and Craigslist, as well.

Melnick said that Reverb LP will differentiate itself from competitors with an attentive customer service team and an image-rich platform that emphasizes the uniqueness of album art. Additionally, he said, Reverb LP will also help sellers identify which specific pressings of an album they own so they can best determine pricing.

“We believe the current offerings are still in the older generation of marketplace technology and approach,” Melnick said. “We feel like there’s a clear need for a more modern player.”

Driven by consumer demand for collectibles, vinyl records and related accessories are projected to generate about $1 billion in global revenue in 2017 for the first time in years, according to Deloitte Global. The market for new vinyl, in particular, will likely see a seventh consecutive year of double-digit growth, the firm predicts.

Stephen Young, owner of Record Wonderland in Roselle, will be a seller on Reverb LP. Young said customers of all ages search for records at his 1,500-square-foot “eclectic” store. Out of its thousands of records, rock sells the best at Record Wonderland, Young said, though the store also has sizable selections of jazz, classical and “odder genres.”

“For older collectors, there’s a serious nostalgia factor,” Young said. “But we have people who are 16, 17 and 18 year olds coming in, fascinated by the idea of tangible music because they’ve all grown up with only digital files.”

In-store sales at Record Wonderland have “varied widely” in the 10 months that it’s been open, Young said. The store gets significantly more sales online, he said.

Reverb, led by CEO , has about 150 employees, according to the company. Besides its Chicago office in Lakeview, it has an office in Amsterdam and employees in Australia, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Robert Holly is a freelance writer.
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Chicago's Reverb to launch vinyl-record selling platform

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Article Chicago's Reverb to launch vinyl-record selling platform compiled by www.chicagotribune.com