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Time to change the record
IF seven years ago one had been asked to picture a record store, the scene would probably have been a boxy and frayed shop, writes Leon Elliot.
Inside would be a 50-year-old man foraging through dusty records; a man perhaps too familiar with this hushed and threadbare environment.
With Record Store Day having just boasted its seventh annual celebration of all things vinyl, however, it seems that these stores are finally being let out of their sleeve; releasing themselves from this stigma and kick-starting a record rejuvenation.
In 2008, digital downloads finally outsold CDs.
The physical form of music that had dominated since 1984 had been trumped by an invisible enemy – music was coming and going without shape, form or design.
Now that disposable downloads have removed the identity of music, it’s not a surprise that these authentic, physical copies have returned to the limelight.
The joy of owning a record with a unique print, a sleeve, and its own art work is an experience untouchable by any other form of music.
After five years of download’s virtual dominance, it’s clear why more and more buyers are reverting to the old.
And this hasn't gone unnoticed. As the number of buyers has risen, so has the number of artists putting out vinyl to be bought.
For almost every alternative music release, a vinyl edition can be found – a staple tradition of labels like Rough Trade.
Thanks to colossal releases by Arctic Monkeys and David Bowie, last year saw the highest record sales in 15 years.
Just remember – this is no mean feat considering the state of the market since the advent of CDs.
Record Store Day 2014 saw vinyl sales rocket 4000 percent in one day.
This shows just what could be achieved if people visited these shops more regularly; fuelling the local trade and community.
It’s perhaps clear then that any 2007 preconceptions should be put aside for a trip to your local record store, nevertheless because you certainly won’t be alone.
Of the 800,000 new records sold in Britain in 2013, more than a third were bought by people under the age of 35 – highlighting just how the times are changing.
It’s this renaissance that has given existing suppliers like Chunes and new stores like Weymouth’s Stash Vinyl such a promising future; and helped turn previously stagnating shops into cultural hives.
Out with the new, and in with the old.
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