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A window into LA’s budding scene for Latin vinyl records

Jarrett Dang and Erika Soderstrom Mar 9, 2023
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Sonido del Valle owner Rene Perez stands in front of a case of vinyl records for sale at his shop in Boyle Heights, CA. Marketplace/Erika Soderstrom

A window into LA’s budding scene for Latin vinyl records

Jarrett Dang and Erika Soderstrom Mar 9, 2023
Heard on:
Sonido del Valle owner Rene Perez stands in front of a case of vinyl records for sale at his shop in Boyle Heights, CA. Marketplace/Erika Soderstrom
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In an age that’s seen the rise of digitized music and streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, physical media can seem like a relic of an era gone past; one where records spun on turntables in nearly every house in America.

However, in recent years, old-school vinyl has reasserted itself back onto the music collectors’ scene. 2022 marked the 17th consecutive year that record sales grew, benefitting record shops and vinyl pressers alike.

At Sonido del Valle, a shop in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, the vinyl comeback has mostly come in the form of Spanish-language records that underscore the area’s rich Latin American roots. Most of the shop’s offerings are used, and many are more than half a century old.

“LA has a really long and rich history of Latin record labels that have been here since the beginning of recorded music,” said owner Rene Perez, who has been running the shop for around five years. “I was just sort of drawn to it. And that’s what kind of made me want to start specifically focusing on that as our main thing.”

Sonido del Valle focuses mostly on used Latin vinyl records, said owner Rene Perez.

When Perez first started selling records, it was at pop-up gigs at concerts or other events where he DJ’d. As the business picked up steam, he looked to open a brick-and-mortar shop.

“I was surprised that there wasn’t already a shop nearby, I think when we opened, there was one and it was actually in Lincoln Heights,” Perez said. “But they weren’t really carrying a lot of local artists or even Latin music. So we thought there was definitely a void that we can fill with our shop.”

To hear Rene’s story, click on the play button above.

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