Record Store Day champions vinyl
The decline of CD sales has been evident over the last few years with the closures of high street stores such as Fopp Records and Zavvi. However, vinyl LPs have experienced a big increase in sales by over 40 per cent last year, according to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). Not only DJs and music collectors treasure vinyl, but students are also rediscovering the bigger brother of the CD.
The digital revolution
The digital revolution hit the music industry hard; 10 years ago there were still around 2000 independent record shops in the UK, but today there are just 300. While the sales of CDs in the UK fell by 12.6 per cent to 82.2 million last year, digital album sales rose by 24 per cent to 26.6 million.
LCC student Victoria Hamilton still remembers buying her last CD by Mike Snow for around 12 Euros. Since last year she has only been downloading music from the Internet, but says that a CD is “something you can hold onto, whereas it’s an MP3 it is just an file on computer.” However, since she started getting her music in MP3-format the student has not set foot in a record store.
While CDs are getting replaced by cheap and quick online formats, the old fashion vinyls are objects of desire again. But while journalism student Amy Crowley still wonders "what is a vinyl?", many of her fellow students are playing their favourite albums on a record player again.
“Vinyls have sentimental value,” says photography student Catherine Feliciano, who buys most of her music online, but keeps up to date about new releases in record stores.
Journalism student Chloe Watson agrees. “It is something you have and you can keep,” she says, adding that she still goes to record shops but buys most of her music online. The 21-year old LCC student spent Record Store Day at Rough Trade in East London. “It was really packed out,” she says. “You couldn’t move in there, but it was a lot of fun.”
Over 300 artists took part in this year’s Record Store Day (April 21st) with special vinyl releases. Among the most popular was Arctic Monkeys’ new single R U Mine?, which was pressed on a special purple vinyl, and Two Door Cinema Club’s Acoustic EP with acoustic versions of their tracks Something Good Can Work and Undercover Martyn. And just a day after the event, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds limited white vinyl edition of their self-titled album appeared on Ebay for £60.
Phonica Records in West London was another of the 230 independent record shops in the UK that took part in the global event. London DJ Ashley Beedle was among the artists putting on vinyls to promote the culture of the record store. The celebration of music and vinyl brought together music lovers all over the world, and spoke up for the survival of the independent stores.
DJ and producer Beedle has been spinning vinyls for over 30 years. The 49-year-old reflects how dance music and club culture has been shaped over the years into its current form.
“The digital revolution took away the power from the record companies and changes former structures,” Beedle says. But that liberty came with a price. The way we buy and access music has affected the music scene as a whole.
“There is no cohesive scene anymore because the Internet doesn’t allow it and the big love for club culture has been lost,” Beedle adds. “It will be interesting to see what impact the digital age has in the long run.”