Vinyl enthusiasts spin into action on UK's record store day

Vinyl enthusiasts spin into action on UK’s Record Store Day

/ 08:09 AM April 22, 2024

Vinyl enthusiasts spin into action on UK's Record Store Day

A customer listens to vinyl next to Flashback Records owner Mark Burgess (R) inside the indie record store in London on April 18, 2024. Record Store Day is celebrated across the UK on April 20 when independent record shops celebrate their culture by selling special vinyl releases. (Photo by BENJAMIN CREMEL / AFP)

LONDON, United Kingdom — It was 8.30 am (0730 GMT) and the line was growing in front of Flashback Records in the Shoreditch neighborhood of Britain’s capital.

Saturday marked the UK’s annual Record Store Day, created to support independent outlets, and vinyl enthusiasts were eager to get their hands on special reissues and new releases.


The first fans arrived at 4.45 a.m., although the store did not open until 9 am.


The excitement reflects a new golden age for vinyl, with sales thriving despite their predicted demise 20 years ago.

Martin Wolyniec, 45, with a graying beard and blue eyes and accompanied by his niece Amelia, stood in the line outside the store, holding a list of specials released for the day.

On it was an album by the English band Groove Armada, the duos Orbital, and Everything but the Girl, and if the pair were “lucky”, a record by the singer Kate Bush.

Minutes later, after a search inside, Wolyniec emerged victorious, brandishing a square bag filled with coveted album sleeves. Amelia danced ecstatically to celebrate.

Standing the test of time

Wolyniec and his wife began collecting vinyl six years ago.

“Probably because it’s something you can still feel, touch, look at — not just something that fits in our phone,” he said.


READ: Brisk vinyl sales music to Rega’s ears

Derek Yeboah, a 32-year-old software designer, started his own collection after inheriting his brother’s old garage and trance records.

He had his eye on some jazz and blues titles.

“Everything is digital now,” he said.

“Songs are shortened because of social media, everything has to fit within four minutes” whereas vinyl offers more freedom and space, he said.

This annual day “is very important as it gives us a boost at this time of the year which is really needed,” said Mark Burgess, the founder and owner of Flashback Records.

Vinyl resurgence

The number of independent record stores in the UK is at a ten-year high, totaling 461 shops — 122 more than in 1994 — largely driven by the vinyl resurgence.

READ: Once dying, then a novelty, vinyl is back and thriving

This is despite the high cost of new LPs, which range from 20 to 40 pounds ($25 to $50), amidst a cost-of-living crisis.

Vinyl album sales rose by nearly 18 percent to £177.3 million last year, while CDs saw a modest rebound for the first time in nearly two decades, according to the ERA trade association.

However, the bulk of the music is consumed digitally, with only eight percent in “physical” formats, vinyl or CD, per the organization.

Given vinyl’s significant resurgence in the UK music scene, the National Office for Statistics has decided to include them in the basket of goods used to calculate inflation.

“Nearly every album released by a major label comes out on vinyl, but it’s expensive to produce”, especially with the soaring cost of oil in recent years, which partly explains their high price, said Burgess.

A family experience

In front of Soho’s iconic Sister Ray record store in central London, an eclectic crowd of various ages and styles lined up around the block.

Zoe Farace, 25, who works in human resources, said she inherited her passion for vinyl as a child from her father, who owns “too many to count”.

For her, buying and listening to records is a way to spend quality time with her father, who stands by her side, watching her with a smile.

“It’s sort of a bonding thing with my family and my dad,” she said

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“So it’s like we can talk about shared things that we enjoy.”

TAGS: UK, vinyl records

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