In 2006, I watched as so many around me offered up thick stacks of records, mixers and their beloved belt-drives to sites not that dissimilar to webuyanyphone.com.
I’ve always been a fan of physical product, so when the record shops began closing down, I turned to subscriptions; music mags and yes, a £6.99 monthly retainer went to Fabric for its well known CD pack.
Up until 2007 my vinyl collection consisted largely of singles, and to be fair, apart from the odd classic (anything from Masters at Work), none were likely to ever feel a needle again. Thumping (inappropriate) tech house, loads of break-beat and plenty of tribal stuff too. As much as I loved it back in the early 2000s, the only time those records have reappeared was on my 32nd birthday, a house party in the middle of nowhere with old uni mates (appropriate).
Since then I’ve discovered LPs from the likes of Nico Jaar, Four Tet and Maribou State. Collections of songs you can easily tee up and enjoy with no DJ effort at all. Over the past seven years the shelf space has steadily grown, and I’m now a proud owner of around 40 artist albums.
But what about everyone else?
In April last year, the Official Charts company reported 1.3m vinyl albums were sold in 2014, the highest number in 20 years of pressing. In July, the vinyl factory published an article headlined with: “vinyl sales climb over 56% in the first half of 2015; on track for biggest total sales in over two decades”. And a few months ago, wax was again in the news, this time The Guardian highlighting that sales have increased by 290% since 2009. Terry Currier stating in the article that “Record Store Day”, first launched in 2007, was ultimately responsible for the return of vinyl.
It may make up less than 4% of US sales, but it’s something. And where did the inspiration come from to chat about this topic? ADE of course. I sat and watched our friend and client, CJ on a panel all about label life. He’s shared the stage with Intec, Kobalt, Roland from Get Physical (a very interesting character!) and one half of Soul Clap. Now Soul Clap themselves I first heard about when a NYC buddy put me onto Wolf + Lamb, in particular, this one podcast that changed my iTunes library for the better – WLP096. Some banter about the two lads doing commercial gigs for the cougars of Bloomingdales just had me in stitches… anywaaaaaaay, it was Eli’s comments that stayed with me for the remainder of the day.
He talked about how as a kid he witnessed record shops closing down and that was that. Apparently in the last year he’s seen a whole bunch now opening up, I didn’t catch if that was Boston or NYC he was referring to, but either way it’s only a good thing right? He went on to talk about how the kids of today are buying records, similar to me, in LP format, getting one deck and going from there. It’s a physical thing, and an audio thing. That crackle.
And so he went on… rather than my generation, looking up at likes of Sasha and Carl Cox mixing a tonne of records together, his point was that the kids of today have all that to come, plus the tech, so who knows where it will all go, but the point is it’s exciting and they have it all ahead of them.
Here’s the video that when accompanied with the aforementioned podcast, got me back into vinyl.