Vinyl revival turns tables on listeners
"Vinyl's always been there."HANNAH FLEMING
The worldwide vinyl revival is continuing to spin out of control and a New Plymouth store is getting in on the action.
Vinyl Countdown has been open just over 12 months and is now sending its stock all over the world.
Owner Mark Thomas says the increasing popularity of vinyl has seen orders from around the globe including China, Poland,
VINYL COUNTDOWN'S TOP 5 IN-STORE
1. Beatles Box Set
2. Rodriguez, Searching for Sugar Man 3. The Who, Box set of all studio albums.
4. Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon
5. King Cannons, The Brightest Light
"It's quite amazing for a little shop on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand to go all over the world like that.
"It's quite funny, when I go to the post office, they always have a bit of a laugh to see where it's going next."
And it is not just the records that are proving a hit.
Last month, a Japanese tattooist, who was in town for the New Zealand Tattoo & Art Festival, took a shining to Vinyl Countdown's cassette collection.
"It turns out he was a tape collector and he bought about 100 tapes. He just loved it."
While vinyl left the mainstream about 1991, it experienced a resurgence in 2008 and has continued to rise in popularity.
Thomas says although records have always held a certain appeal, the introduction of cassettes and CDs had contributed to their decline over certain periods.
"Now downloads are doing the same thing.
"But throughout all of that, vinyl's always been there. Now, all of a sudden, people seem to be a lot more interested than they have been in the last 10 years.
"A lot of the older generation are dusting off their turntables to see if they still work, buying a new needle and getting back into it. But the young kids, too, are getting turntables for Christmas and going out and buying records."
Thomas says the fact new release albums are coming out on vinyl had helped to attract the younger generation.
"There's just so much coming out, you can almost get anything on vinyl that you couldn't have got before."
While worldwide statistics show rock music to be the most popular genre bought on vinyl, Thomas says at Vinyl Countdown it goes across the board.
"I'm still trying to figure it out, there's not too much of a set pattern. There's a lot of rock, heavy metal and punk, but there's also blues, jazz and reggae."
Indie bands such as Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes have also grown in popularity globally, while last year's best-selling new vinyl album was The Suburbs by Arcade Fire.
Thomas says the whole experience that comes with sitting down and putting on a record is a lot more satisfying than putting your iPod on shuffle.
"It's like taking a book off the shelf and reading it. I think some people see it as old school but a lot of people see it as just normal.
"And vinyl just sounds a lot better than downloaded music in my opinion," he says.
The independent record store owner says he is looking at pressing his own vinyl next year for bands wanting to record their sound on the medium.
"We'll do it through the United States but we'll organise it and have a little Vinyl Countdown record label."
Thomas says he cannot see the trend dying out any time soon and will watch its progress with interest.
"I can't see it slowing down. If it's beaten the cassette, the CD, the download and stayed there, I can't see it changing."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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