Written On Record Store Day by Devious Soul
There was a time when the happiest days of many a DJs life was getting home with a fresh stack of unopened wax. Carefully selecting the tunes in the record shop, ensuring you had enough cash for the double pack, wondering what treasures were lurking under the counter.
When you finally got home nothing else was on your mind but to throw your coat down and have a mix with your latest purchases. Those first few hours with your new ‘babies’ were full of excitement and creativity. Speakers up loud, feeling the thump of a new kick, you could really lose yourself and forget about the world outside, if only for a little while.
Some DJs (guilty!) even took the time to smell the New York air when carefully opening a sealed white label fresh from across the pond. Hey, I paid the import fee; I was getting my money’s worth!
BM Records April 2014:
As the digital age finally took hold, more and more records shops across the globe just couldn’t compete financially. It’s a buyers market out there and with download prices costing $1.99 on Traxsource compared to $10.99 on vinyl, there was only going to be one winner. Or so we thought.
Vinyl has had a huge renaissance over the past 2-3 years with events like Record Store Day, and it has achieved an almost ‘cult’ status too where it once was the norm. Trendy stores such as ‘Urban Outfitters’ even stock vinyl now alongside their beard combs and moustache wax, making the format very ‘on trend’ (yawn!).
The fact that Technics no longer produce their world famous turntables does not seem to be holding back the new record buying public. With 3.5 million Technics turntables sold since 1976, they can still be picked up pretty easily. In fact, there’s a pair of silver 1200’s kicking about in my Mum’s loft (no they are not for sale!). Vinyl is now in such demand that Pioneer, who could be said were the destroyer of Technics in the first place, are releasing a traditional turntable to fill the void.
One purveyor of bespoke stereophonic sounds that survived the darker times is Vinyl Underground, based in Northampton, England. Still going strong after two decades in the game, store owner Aidy West, said –
Vinyl never went away but sales hit a bottom level after 2005 and things were tough, but since 2010 things have been on the up. The underground labels stuck to their guns and did things the only way they wanted. Everything goes in cycles and it’s been a combination of new kids discovering the beauty of vinyl for the first time and people coming back to vinyl. The music has had a strong retro element, which suits vinyl and more and more influential DJs are turning back to wax – influencing a whole new generation.
Vinyl only labels have meant the only way to get the hot tracks is to physically buy the product and it’s snowballing from there. Collectors and particularly the younger kids love the whole rare aspect of it, along with the artwork and image – records come out and due to low presses are immediately rare and wanted – all your mates might have a download or play the YouTube stream but only a few have the wax. But its not just a fad, people realise that it truly is the purest and best format for music and as more and more people get deeper into it there is no turning back.
There is a whole world of older vinyl to discover, some of the biggest sellers are 90s reissues. Kids are learning about digging, discovering the history and new labels are continuing the culture with new music for the future. Those of us who stayed true to vinyl do it for the love and that’s been a solid base for the current upturn – the music we sell is so strong at the moment due to the cost and time its takes to produce vinyl so it has a natural quality control that digital doesn’t. It’s the good music that is driving the up turn in sales.
So even in the toughest times, those that still believed in the format are being proven correct in sticking to their principles. I mean come on, how can downloading an MP3 ever replace the buzz of purchasing a piece of dope on plastic? Impossible.
Don’t call it a comeback.
Garnish Music Production LA covers turntable DJing as well as digital. Our tutors have many years experience mixing vinyl, as well as digital.
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