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VINYL SALES GO FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH… HURRAY!

Well here it is, a brand new year, a brand new website, a growing vinyl market which seems to be going from strength to strength and now a brand new blog from Pristine Vinyl. Just what you’ve all been waiting for no doubt.

This is a departure for us as we have been wrapped up in the record cleaning machines for the last few years and we’re pleased to say that the business is going, like vinyl sales, from strength to strength.

Don’t worry though, I’m not going to use this as a sales tool for our fabulous range of ViVac Record Cleaning Machines (sorry, I couldn’t resist at least one plug) but following a new year resolution, I am determined to become far more knowledgeable about all things Hi Fi and what’s hot and what’s not in the music world.

It would be great if you could join me on this journey and to those who fall into the ‘teaching old dogs new tricks’ I apologise now but bear with me, you never know, you may may find something of value or there may be some entertainment value at the very least.

So, what’s the plan? I hear you ask, how are you going to encourage us to keep reading?  Well, the honest answer is, sat here at this very moment,  I’m not entirely sure but, where there’s a will there is invariably a way.

Right, I think we ought to start somewhere so how about starting with that magical black disc be it a 7, 10 or 12” in diameter? Or even 16” before someone writes in, but I’m still yet to see one of those in the flesh.

For something I have been steadily collecting since an impressionable 14- or 15-year-old (it all started with Baggy Trousers by Madness on a 7” if you're at all curious) it’s fantastic to see it making in a resurgence and seeing the vinyl corner of my local Exeter HMV slowly but definitely spreading.  

Our local second-hand record shop seems to be doing a roaring trade.  The only downside to this is that the once burgeoning charity shop vinyl shelves no longer seem to be burgeoning so the great value records seem to be a thing of the past. 

To think of all of the fabulous records I’ve bought while trawling the Oxfam and Red Cross stores of the high street over the years.  That now seems long gone unless you want the Carpenter’s Greatest Hits or something by John Denver (and I’m not knocking, every vinyl collection could do with a drop of Please Mr Postman or Leaving On A Jet Plane).

Given the slightly unexpected rise of vinyl sales, who’s buying what?  The ‘who’ element is difficult to exactly ascertain and sadly we don’t have the budget to instruct an Ipsos Mori Poll but take a look at the following link and we can make a reasonable stab at guessing http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-38487837

Interestingly, with the exception of David Bowie’s Blackstar and Radiohead’s Moon Shaped Pool (both great albums in my humble opinion) the other 8 top sellers are re-issues. So what does this tell us about the vinyl buying public of 2016?

Well, going by the numerous Hi Fi shows we do every year, I often joke that if I had a £ for every time someone’s said “I’m getting back into vinyl” or, “I’m here to buy a turntable, I have boxes of vinyl in the attic” I’d be a very wealthy man.  For this reason, I’m assuming, whether rightly or wrongly a great deal of vinyl is being bought to replace long lost favourites when everyone ditched vinyl for CD’s in the 90s.

The Guardian’s findings suggest that vinyl buyers are of a certain age which I don’t disagree with, the test for vinyl is whether it can retain its sales momentum by getting the teens of today interested in buying it: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/aug/12/vinyl-destination-who-is-actually-buying-records

It’s encouraging to see the younger generation buying vinyl but my concern is that they are not so into the ‘hardware’ as we were and for this reason not getting the best sound and not being drawn into the whole Hi Fi world, which bodes badly for both the format and the wider Hi Fi industry.  

I remember like it was only yesterday the first time I heard a record played on a Rega turntable through a NAD 3020 amp that a friend had just bought.  

From my regular AKAI Midi System with a built in turntable this was like flicking on the lights and guess what I went out and bought when I could afford it? Yep, you guessed it, a Rega and a NAD.   

This first upgrade started a lifelong interest in Hi Fi and the drive to attain the best sound per pound.  Unless we encourage the next generation of record and turntable buyers to get involved, the upsurge in vinyl sales could be short lived. 

So what have we learnt from my first blog (and well done for staying with me)? Vinyl sales have increased significantly over the last few years, which is good, but the people buying them tend to be middle aged, which is also good but we need the youngsters to embrace the format and proper Hi Fi for the increases to be sustained.

What is exciting and will make a real difference are the bars and clubs which mix a social meeting place, alcohol and high end music systems playing classic albums.  This new and growing concept may well drive a new generation to get involved but we’ll be looking at this in our next blog so join us then.

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