THIRD MAN RECORDS, DETROIT
We all had one. A local record shop where we spent far too much time. Which one was yours? Bruce’s Records? Listen? The local branch of Woolworths?
You would go there and browse the racks. Examine the covers. Try to imagine what the music might sound like. Maybe you would take the record out of its sleeve, hold it at the edges, check for scratches. And then you would take your purchase home, put the needle on the record and wait for that anticipatory crackle to break through the speakers.
A thing of the past? Not quite. Vinyl sales have been on the rise in recent years. Last year more than nine million records were sold in the UK, making up 16% of physical album sales. These are still niche numbers, but it turns out reports of vinyl’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
It’s a return from near death celebrated in Jennifer Otter Bickerdike’s new book Why Vinyl Matters, in which the author asks musicians and DJs that very question. “There’s snob appeal, for sure,” notes one of her interviewees, the novelist Nick Hornby. “Vinyl looks great, the covers are cool, the format is fashionably retro, and so on.
“But I suspect that many young people are taking the position that old-school music nerds adopted: what you own says something about you.”
Taken from Why Vinyl Matters by Jennifer Otter Bickerdike, published by ACC Editions, priced £25