Who doesn’t love a faded memory jumping straight back into the spotlight questioning why you ever forgot it? This particular memory is the humble vinyl that is currently having a more successful reincarnation than Gary Barlow’s return to the spotlight.
A statement collectors piece for all music lovers, vinyl was overshadowed by the ever popular digital download making it a mere memory or relic hidden away in the dusty corners of record stores. Increasing interest in digital music saw the closure of multiple independent record shops in the UK with 540 store closures in five years and little to no interest in the once popular vinyl. What a turnaround it has had in the past couple of years with record sales more than doubling in 2013 and the release of David Bowie and Daft Punk’s LPs generating such a buzz vinyl sales reached a ten-year high.
Since it’s introduction by Columbia Records in 1948 vinyl has had a great following thanks to the alternative sounds and character an LP has to offer. Vinyl lover and collector, Robert Nelson said the rise in record sales is due to both the artwork and sound quality that has revived the vinyl appeal, he said: “to own a vinyl record really means something, from the artwork on the sleeve, to the lyrics printed on the booklet, the vinyl record is special, it is a relationship.”
Dan Lurinsky, manager of music store Rubadub agreed and stated: “I wouldn’t want to just sit in the house with a big hard drive and have nothing to look at. I like having something to look at and flicking through things and finding things by accident.”
There is no denying that the annual Record Store Day events, held in April, have helped to propel vinyl sales and raise awareness introducing people to the wonder of physical music; music that you can see, touch and smell whilst admiring the craft that goes into pressing a record that can be cared for, making it a loyal purchase. Record Store Day has helped music lovers to appreciate not only vinyl but their local music stores as Robert said: “it encourages people to go into their local music stores and look at what is available. In most cases, these small independent stores are a treasure trove of old vinyl that will appeal to the collector.”
Similar to all good things, Record Store Day can be seen as a bit of a hindrance. What we have to remember is that independent stores, like Rubadub, are pressing records all year round and have deadlines to meet but with Record Store Day it makes it hard to meet deadlines due to a backlog at pressing plants with companies re-releasing products, as Dan explained: “it’s a lot of big weighty companies trying to cash in on it.”
Held annually I wondered if making Record Store Day more than a once a year event would encourage more people to discover records but like all good things, less is more. Having one day to value a time tested musical relic in a fun filled day of music is better than having multiple events where people can lose interest because it’s the same thing happening over and over again. Record Store Day is arguably a great event, minus some inconveniences to independent stores, for music lovers to come together to talk to like-minded people having a good time. Dan stated: “every day is Record Store Day for us, but the actual day and the build to it is one of the best days of the year. It’s just an absolute laugh, all the staff really enjoy it, all the customers who come in all year round love it, we have DJs playing all day and we get the beers out – it’s just a good day.”
Rubadub experienced one of the busiest Record Store Day’s this year thanks to the increasing interest in vinyl and the growing appreciation of spending time in independent stores browsing through LPs and finding treasures. With the store packed when the doors opened it’s great to see more people getting involved in a fun event highlighting a statement object for every music fan, Dan said: “I think it’s the most fun we’ve had on Record Store Day, in here anyway, it was a bit of a drunken weekend after that.” That’s how you celebrate one of the greatest methods of listening to music. Long live the vinyl revival.