11 May 2015

The vinyl strikes back

Recently, I was in a second hand shop at a nearby mall here in Malaysia and it looked like they were doing great business in used records. They were playing some really great songs and I do not know whether it was due to their music system or the acoustics in the shop, but some of the songs sounded really good even with the hisses and other extra noises. In fact, I would have to agree with the description "warm" used by many record aficionados.

In case you were not aware, vinyl records are back in fashion. As someone who grew up with cassettes and then CDs, I was never really exposed to this music format. Even when I read about rise in sales a couple of years back, I dismissed it as a short fad that would go away soon. I have to admit that I was wrong, and it is the Generation Y or Millennials, who are behind this phenomenon. According to a recent Guardian article, "Vinyl sales accounted for £20m in 2014".

Along with the growing demand, sales and prices of old record players are also growing on auction sites including eBay and I was regretting not grabbing one of those record players on sale at various car boot sales while I was in the UK - many of them going at ridiculous prices.

It is not surprising that manufacturers of record players are ramping up their production and also coming out with new models to cater to this new demand. This includes companies like the 130 years old Thorens who recently came out with a budget turntable. In fact, Czech turntable company SEV Litovel was reported to have sold an amazing 96000 units in 2014.

It is really interesting to see the growth of analogue tech in this digital era and wonder where this is going. This phenomenon is definitely not a fad.Looking at it from an ethical consumption perspective, as it involves recycling of records which would have ended up on landfills, it can be seen as something positive.

What do you think? Would love to hear your views.

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