On a weekend away in Scotland, more often then not, one usually ends up traipsing round the nearest town or village to where you are staying in the rain. Last Saturday was no exception and waking up to a stormy day in Pittenweem we made for St Andrews for a mosey round the shops and some shelter from elements. To my joy and delight we stumbled across a shop selling books and second hand records who happened to have the largest selection of old jazz records I had seen in a long time. That was it; I was there for the afternoon.
Call me old fashioned but I love records and my home is full of vinyl. For me, the physical act of looking though records, and to a lesser extent CDs, in a shop is something that I would miss if it weren’t available. Although the larger music retailers have almost disappears, or changed beyond recognition to accommodate new technology, thankfully several independent record shops are still there and are clinging onto existence. Although, it does make one wonder about the future of the LP record and whether or not they will eventually be confined to history and only seen on display in a museum.
The way people access music nowadays has, off course, moved on a million miles from when I was a teenager. People tend to access or look for particular tracks on the Internet rather than a whole LP. This has, for some, has signaled the beginnings of the end for the album, a collection of songs usually 6 – 10 tracks, to be played in a particular order or sequence. I certainly have my personal top 10 albums, and there are national classic albums of all time that have been chosen by music producers and the markets for their collectives and arrangement of songs.
The proliferation of music on the Internet is a wonderful thing although it has changed music in some ways for the better but, at the same time, certain things have been lost. Thankfully, according to figures published by the British Phonographic Society, 2013 saw the biggest rise in record sales in 15 years. The BBC produced a similar report stating that mostly people in the 18 –24 year old age bracket are fuelling the rise. Younger people are discovering for the first time the joy of vinyl and record producers have seized the opportunity to make another buck. According to the report they enjoy the experience of going into a shop, talking to staff and other and looking through the latest selection.
Although digital music has taken over, it seems that there will always be a market and a place for vinyl. This is underlined by figures that state that record sales have been growing since as far back at 2004. In the same way the dawn of the e-book has not meant the demise of books and the high street bookshop, records will continues to have a place in retail and hopefully the market will continue to grow.