Despite what the title may suggest, I am not going to sit here and tell you all about the history of the vinyl manufacture or whatever. What I am going to discuss is the gradual moral decline and alteration in the possession of vinyl records. It infuriates me every day that the ownership of an artists beautiful musical achievement is simply viewed as an aesthetic object. 48%. 48% of current record buyers purchase vinyl without any intention of playing them.
It is considered a ‘trend’ and ‘fashionable’ to have ‘iconic’ records up on your wall for admiration, yet these people are missing the point. If you want to admire band’s artwork or any art for that matter, buy a poster or painting, but do not waste the process of buying a record if the vinyl itself will never breathe the air beyond its casing.
It all started with shops like Urban Outfitters and even supermarkets stocking records and due to their accessibility, unfortunately dominate the market. STICK TO YOUR OWN MARKET. If you’re a supermarket chain, you need to thrive in that field and not take away from authentic record stores who rely on these sales to survive. You don’t see independent record stores stocking ready meals and baked beans do you?
I live in a small town called High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. My dad was telling me how when he was young there was at least three record stores in our local area, but now there are none. Yes, the vinyl resurgence has only become apparent in the last few years, but surely if chain stores ceased stocking these records purely to fuel a displaced trend, it would leave room for local record stores to re-open and claim back their rightful market segment.
My local source to records is my nearest HMV store. Some may consider this to also be a wrong supplier of records, but it’s a tricky argument. The way I see it, HMV is a music store and does stock Crosley turntables (WHICH YOU SHOULD NOT BUY- we’ll get onto that later) and cares for the record’s musical quality, so they are an exception to the chain store stampede engulfing the vinyl market. I also believe that the resurrection of the record and its popularity amongst ‘indie’ teens who will actually play the record and the strange collectors, saved HMV from closing a few years ago. I can only imagine the profit increase since selling records and applaud HMV for saving their stores by identifying a new marketable aspect to music.
Now onto Record Store Day. It sickened me to see only hours after the Saturday morning rush, limited edition RSD vinyl were being sold on eBay for at least five times the original price. It’s these people that deprive those who genuinely care about that artist and their work from the experience of buying their record themselves, simply because it is profitable. Music isn’t supposed to be purely a money making market. If you’re like me and values music as a life essential, something that is genuinely treasured, than you will understand how infuriating this is. It’s the encounter of purchasing a record and getting the tangible experience which is savoured more than people understand. And that’s another thing, why do people buy records off eBay and Amazon? You’re only fuelling resellers markets who enthuse the same disgusting ethos that records are simply a trend that is an opportunity to make money, without even considering the precious time spent making genius by the artist.
Now onto Crosleys. Where do I start? Firstly, it angers me beyond belief that a brand manufactures cheap, poor quality turntables to simply cater for a mass market of new vinyl buyers. Secondly, regardless of being a record table supplier, the misleading atrocious quality of electronics by this company astounds me. Yes, they look ‘vintage’ and ‘aesthetic’ but that is not what a turntable is meant for. Originally, they were the only source of playing music so the making was executed with the highest amount of affordable quality. I have heard stories of people records being scratched and damaged after one play on a Crosley table. So why? To make money, that’s why. They target new record collectors and market as a vintage player when in actuality it’s only a shitty needle with easy-on-the-eye casing.
Don’t get me wrong, I am so happy that the sales of records has made a comeback over the last few years, reaching an overall high. However, maybe this achievement has been wrongly executed? Records used to be purely to enjoy your favourite bands and music, but now are seen to some as a novelty item that will inevitably stay on your shelf. I commend those who have taken the time to buy a turntable (but not a Crosley please I cannot stress this enough) and play your records, new or old. Let’s bring back the tradition!