The Guardian branded record shop regulars a ‘dying breed of people’
this week, noting that from the number of shops has dropped from 2,200 in the 80s to just 305 today.
The paper also noted that many of the remaining stores are ‘close to bankruptcy’ as 50 independent shops combined to stage ‘Record Store Day’, to market themselves more effectively.
UK techno DJ and Flux Recordings label boss Chris Finke recalled spending entire days record shopping in the West End of London when he first started DJing though admitted ‘that’s unheard of now’.
“Considering I run a record label and release music on 12" it’s not exactly leading by example but I DJ using (digital system) Serato,”
Chris also admitted.
“To be honest, I only usually tend to buy older music on vinyl now unless there's something really special I can't get digitally,” he said.
“As a result my expenditure is obviously a lot less than it used to be. I don't listen to dance music outside of a "work" situation generally so that's another reason I spend less on records and more on downloads or the odd CD.
“It’s a shame that people who have recently started to buy music for DJing won't have had the same experiences that we did when we had to go to record shops. Now that most people shop online, it’s easier and more convenient, but makes the "digging" process relatively non- existent which I suppose breeds laziness and ultimately less care and attention over the music bought,” said Chris.
German based DJ/ producer Xenia Beliayeva suggested that ‘one or two’
record shops will survive as focal points for club culture (‘I’m thinking of Freebase in Frankfurt, Phonica in London or Hardwax in Berlin’, she said) though was largely unsentimental.
“It doesn’t matter to me that much,” she told Skrufff. “My Grandma always says ‘as one door closes another one opens’, and you can’t rewrite history or control the future. As an artist, you don’t care so much whether people buy your record online or in a shop, in the current economic situation, you’re just happy about every sale.”
“I play with CDs now anyway,” Xenia added. “Not because I took a clear decision to stop using vinyl, rather I started playing my own tracks from CD because I didn’t want to wait for months before I could play them. Then I started adding unreleased tracks from friends and gradually started removing more and more records from my bag and replacing them with CDs. For one year I’ve not used vinyl at all,” she said.
“I still buy occasional collectors’ items from labels I love or old records I’m missing in my collection, but that’s all,” she added.
“As you get older you also realise that a lot of the records taking up loads of space in your flat have become meaningless,” Xenia continued.
“You realise they’ve always been tools and they’ve stayed as tools and when I skip through them I know I will never need them again. I’m sorting them out now and hoping to find a good eBay agent,” she laughed.
Chris Finke’s remix of Mark Broom's "Got Me Working" is out on Flux in May followed by his own EP of new tracks on Italy’s MRecs, also in May.
Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)