Vinyl record sales in 2021 are leading the new year, the highest they have been in the past 30 years, with record shops across Wales enjoying demand.
Despite issues with backlogs and delays, independent vinyl stores nationwide have established themselves as ‘musical hubs’, with music enthusiasts resurfacing in hard copy versions of their favorite tracks.
According to new data from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), more than five million LP vinyl records have been purchased in the past 12 months, accounting for nearly a quarter of album purchases, its highest level since 1990.
But like many other industries, it has seen its fair share of challenges in a year plagued by shortages, as one independent record store explained: “It has gotten to the point where we are victims of our own success, just too much. There is a shortfall because stressed companies cannot match the huge demand in the industry.”
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In a year since ABBA returned to our sound waves, reports show that Voyage was the biggest seller of the first week, with 29,891 records sold.
However, as many independent record shops suggest, a new wave of ‘music enthusiasts’ has emerged with the younger generation choosing to have physical copies of their music.
Current artists such as Sam Fender’s “Seventeen Going Under” with Ed Sheeran’s “=” have achieved considerable success in both chart and record sales.
With the increasing popularity of vinyl in this new era, all record shops have noted that increasing demand far exceeds current supply.
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With half a million vinyl copies of Adele’s long-awaited album ’30’ being chosen to release artists as well as their music as we exit lockdown earlier this year, a serious hitch has surfaced. I have come
Despite this, record stores across Wales have argued that the result was inevitable due to the nature and appeal of having a physical copy of your favorite track.
With the expansion of current independent record stores, as well as pop-up stalls and those that have lasted decades even before the pandemic, vinyl has long established itself as a must-have for music enthusiasts.
We asked several independent stores across the country what they believe is behind this thumping success.
Swansea Bay Records
Founded three years ago in the market of Swansea, the independent record store secured a permanent home after selling tracks online for several years.
Gareth Robinson began selling car boots before setting up the popular store in a stall in the center of town.
Now, requiring more space for storage and subsequent ‘growth after lockdown’, the store is moving to a larger location at 52B Plymouth Street.
Owner Gareth Robinson said, “We decided to make the move based on a business perspective, we need more space and the new space lets us dive more into our online service.”
“The market is amazing but we have moved on from where we are and the success of the store and the popularity in vinyl has really helped us be able to carve out our niche.
“People will always be looking for a vinyl record store, it’s a destination with a product, a lot of people are reflecting on better times and diving into the 80s and 90s, which I think are the times of better music.” was,” the 57-year-old added.
With the ongoing restrictions and the previous emphasis on staying indoors, vinyl has gained a lot as people want to entertain themselves without leaving the comfort of their home.
“People are recognizing the value of having a turntable in the home, the physical aspect offering over a million songs on your phone,” Gareth said.
“We’re grateful to the market, it allowed us to flourish and people look for us. There’s room for everyone, each record store offering something different.”
The same success is being enjoyed by other record stores just a few streets away, who argue that the market has grown exponentially over the past 10 years.
Located on Oxford Street, the family behind Derricks Music say they are “re-living the past” following their recent resurgence in vinyl records.
Founded in 1968, the team has weathered both the ups and downs vinyl records have seen throughout the years.
“We’ve been around to see it all, from the time when there was only vinyl to the rise of cassettes, 8-tracks and CDs,” said Christos Styliano, who owns and runs the shop alongside previous generations. ,
“It was expected vinyl’s demise, but we’ve seen all the cycles and each time vinyl just sank and came back and it’s happening again.”
“Currently the biggest problem for us is the ability to print vinyl. The printing capacity is around 140 million units, which is double the requirement at the moment,” he said.
While the growing demand for vinyl records is a significant issue for artists looking to sell their tracks to loyal fans, demand far exceeds supply, according to Christos.
“Getting products to these people is the toughest thing, we have stood the test of pandemic and getting people through the door has never been an issue.
“Demand is increasing year after year, the balance between vinyl and CD is about 50/50 for us, so we are seeing growth in music not just as records,” said the 65-year-old.
“The biggest thing people modify is how they buy music, you get more of it with vinyl and appreciate music more, music on vinyl has come on leaps and bounds.
“The technology to capture the information and the equipment to drive it, the quality of the new product and the new record is much better than before.
“We are fortunate enough to have people find us during the pandemic and I am grateful for that and hopefully in the new year we can all see some new shows without any issues,” he said.
Independent record stores in South Wales have also seen a significant increase in ‘audiophiles’ in recent years, with a particular emphasis on younger audiences.
Founded in 1988, Newport-based vinyl shop Divers Vinyl highlights the value of the format across generations with its “breadth or reach.”
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“Take Adele for example, her album was ready in 2020, but she delayed its release by a year due to a backlog of demand on the vinyl press. Incentives for the artist to print your music on this format It’s huge.”
“Vinyl makes a lot of money for the music industry, that’s where the money is. Digital has a different feel. You can’t replicate the analog sound of vinyl and it offers a unique experience you won’t find online.”
“I think a lot of it has been passed down by generations, we got parents to bring up their teens and pass their own music through classic hits and artists, creating it’s own collection. in a way that in turn encourages smaller audiences as well,” he said.
“It’s now reached a point where it’s not just the classics on everyone’s mind, with artists like Adele, Sam Fender and others adding to this transition between old and new.
“People always used to look for old classics for their collections and now these people are venturing into new stuff and vice versa and we’ve seen that a lot and I think that’s really contributed to its success.”
“We’ve been around for ages and have always done vinyl and will continue to do so, record shops are always in demand and it’s great for anyone who enjoys music,” Graham said.
With locations in Carmarthen, Hay-on-Wye and Swansea, the thriving independent vinyl record store The Tangled Parrot has been serving music lovers for more than 10 years.
This is despite the fact that vinyl was expected to “die off” as a digital revolution in the early 2000s.
“Music lost its value when everything went digital, vinyl inevitably became a hit, but everyone expected the worst when digital came,” said independent store owner Matthew Davis.
“I think there was a backlash against it, people would have hundreds of songs accessible to them, but didn’t have that real affinity for a particular track and that led to a reaction to the revival of vinyl.
“People who have an added interest in music find that they associate vinyl with the artist you love; people like me put the information and things that come with one of these records; sleeves, its With the visual aspect everything.
“When you pick up a record, every time you associate with that artwork, it has a lot more value than what a CD can offer.
He said, “There is a sense of ritual that is deeply embedded within us, there is an added experience to these records when you are physically holding them on top of you and enjoying what they have to offer, that is unparalleled. Is.”
Over the years, independent stores argue that the age of music has ushered in a new era of vinyl that a younger demographic wants to enjoy.
“When you’re enjoying your music and all that it has, nothing gives you more than vinyl and I think young people especially are catching on to that.
“When I was a kid, I would save my food money and not eat for a week and I would spend it on a record and starve it to death for a week, that’s the experience I had when I was a kid. People seem to be rediscovering that value,” Matthews said.
With the ongoing pandemic and the emphasis on staying home, The Tangled Parrot highlights that coming out of lockdown has led to the best business at many record stores in years.
“Something happened at home, I think people spent more time within their walls and found music to be a treat and having a record player adds to your home.
“People found that love again during the whole lockdown and it’s something we’ve seen at record stores nationally, we’re a unified community and it’s a trend a lot of us have talked about .
“Vinyl stores, if they are doing their job properly, we are the center of music, we connect people through music and people who love music move to record stores.”
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