Welcome to the vinyl revolution
The year is 2013, and our insatiable appetite for music continues to grow. Multiple platforms now offer the ability not only to store insanely large amounts of music, but also to play them through spanking great media systems. We are completely spoilt for choice: it’s music for the expectant generation.
So with so much available to maximise our listening pleasure, why have we entered a vinyl revolution? Sales figures released in April this year showed the increase in the first quarter sales of records for 2013, and the figures were startling: sales had risen 80% compared to the same period in 2012. This is an astonishing turnaround for a musical medium that has long since been seen as the hobby of bearded, car-boot-going blokes with a penchant for brown leather. Well, not anymore.
In 2012, the number of record shops fell from 293 to 274, a fall of 6%, mostly down to the continuing popularity of downloads. However, independent record shops, often touted in the media as failing miserably, seem to have found their niche. Although numbers have fallen from over a thousand 12 years ago, record shops have become resilient in the process. They have learnt about their market and have consolidated in the process.
Pie and Vinyl, a record-cum-pie and mash shop based in Southsea, Portsmouth, is a record shop that is like no other. Although only open since April 2012, they offer something that is truly unique: selling new records with a delicious accompaniment of locally sourced pie and mash. This novelty features has made the process of buying a vinyl a much more personal experience, and co-founder Rob Litchfield is proud of the results.
“We have customers aged from 15 to 80, it is fantastic to see. We haven’t really seen an increase in sales, as vinyl has sold right from the beginning. Our older customers love the decor and the tea”.
For Rob at least, the love of vinyl was always prevalent. ”I don’t really think that vinyl went away, I see it more as a resurgence rather than a revolution. Nowadays anyone credible will release on vinyl which means that record companies have had to become wise. With the growing demand for downloads, record companies now offer download codes attached to records so customers have something tangible, it solves all issues”.
Shoebox-small the shop has managed to do what successful businesses do well: finding their niche quickly in an area, and within a year of opening, Pie and Vinyl has already bagged Audio-Technica’s, Best Independent Record Shop of 2013.
Image: Thomas Weidenhaupt via Flickr