‘Every day is record store day for us’ says Hackney vinyl seller
- Credit: Archant
Every year now the vinyl industry spins off the turntable and into the stratosphere for Record Store Day.
On Saturday, thousands of people will flock to participating stores around the world, queuing up to get their hands on a copy of a favourite record.
The celebration of music was conceived in 2007 to support struggling independent record shops but has grown to become a machine for major labels to reissue and repackage classics.
It undoubtedly raises the profile of an already reinvigorated format, even if the celebration is a double-edged sword for many independent traders.
For them, every day is record store day, and the months-long clogging up of the handful of pressing plants remaining in the UK is not exactly welcomed.
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Most take part – for some it’s what their business is all about – chatting to customers about the music they love.
But others now participate begrudgingly in order to make the most of the once-a-year business opportunity.
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They, after all, are open all year round, and though vinyl sales reached a 21-year high of 2.1 million in 2015, the independent stores still need all the help they can get. They are now competing with Sainsbury’s customers and even national newspapers after all (the Mail offered free albums to readers this week).
So get your hands on the 12” picture disc of David Bowie’s TVC15 or the live release of Patti Smith’s classic album Horses on Saturday, but the following week, why not pop along to one of the many stores Hackney is gifted with?
As well as the better known Flashback and Sister Ray in Shoreditch, there’s Cosmos Records in Hackney Road, Love Vinyl in Pearson Street, Kristina Records in Stoke Newington Road, Lucky Seven in Church Street, Lion Coffee and Records in Lower Clapton Road and Eldica in Bradbury Street.
There’s also regular record fairs across the borough.
Ahead of the big day, the Gazette went down to Epic Dalston for last month’s Hackney Record Fair, and this week popped into two of the independent stores for a chat about the vinyl revival and Record Store Day itself.
Visit recordstoreday.co.uk for a full list of RSD releases.
Lion Coffee and Records, Lower Clapton Road
Charlie Salvidge, of band Toy, manages the store.
“Last year was the first time we took part and we were really busy,” he said. There were people waiting at the door at 8am. We had bands and DJs.
“I think it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. It is good for independent places like us because it’s a good day and we have people coming in and rifling through the stock.
“But a lot of smaller businesses can’t afford to do it. We are throwing everything we have at special releases with no guarantee whether they will sell, and there’s no returns.
“Originally it was about celebrating independent stores and it’s a bit of a runaway train now, but it’ll still be good fun.”
Eldica Records, Bradbury Street, Dalston
Andy Westbury has ran Eldica Records in Bradbury Street, Dalston, for more than 10 years and explained why his store was not taking part in RSD.
“We used to take part, but for us record store day is every day,” he said. “It’s not for us really because we don’t sell new releases. We’re a second hand store focusing mainly on soul, funk and reggae.
“It’s been completely hijacked by major labels, though. We’d rather sell an original Led Zeppelin than a reissue with tacky posters.
“The majors are messing it up for everyone in the pressing plants. I have friends who can’t get stuff pressed for four months a year.
“But it is great to see people knowing what records are again and we have young customers and ones who are 70/80. When we start there were a few record shops, then there were none. Now they’re popping up again.”
Hackney Record Fair, held every two months at Epic Dalston by Hackney Flea Market
The Gazette went down to one of the most popular record fairs in London at the moment to speak to traders and customers about all things vinyl.
Traders Erik Steagglas and Stuart Haigh far right, also known as We’re Only in it For the Music, are regulars. “I have been buying records since I can remember, when no one else was,” said Erik. “I think there’s a certain type of people who buy them but it’s definitely on the rise.
Another trader, Paul Smith, said: “This is the only fair I’ve seen where it’s mostly young people. They’re not all old Pink Floyd fans.”
Gustika Jusuf was there with her boyfriend Dennis Wikabhara right. At 22 and 23 they represent the younger audience Paul mentioned.
“I’ve just started buying vinyl,” said Dennis, who used to collect cassettes. “I like the artwork and it’s a really cool way to listen to a whole album.”