Real Groovy's new weekly initiative: Vinyl Tuesday

Real Groovy co-owner Chris Hart in the iconic store's record library. Photo / Chris Gorman
Real Groovy co-owner Chris Hart in the iconic store's record library. Photo / Chris Gorman

Forget Christmas, Record Store Day is the biggest celebration on the vinyl enthusiasts' calendar.

Falling on the third Saturday of April, RSD was conceived at a time when both records and record stores were ailing.

Designed purely as a way to get collectors in store, it tempted the beardy and compulsive collecting habits of the formats fans by offering up limited edition one-offs, special reissues and other desirably exclusive releases that were only available in store and in limited quantities.

Since then it's become a sales juggernaut. So much so that the organisers are launching a new weekly initiative called Vinyl Tuesday.

However, format fans worried about a potentially devastating weekly hit on their wallets can rest easy. Organisers say Vinyl Tuesday is not about bankrupting record collectors but is instead about syncing up global release schedules.

Although they have promised to scatter the odd special release throughout the year.

The phoenix-like rise of the humble record continues unabated with music shops like Auckland's Real Groovy Records reporting a 400 per cent increase in new vinyl sales and a doubling in used album sales.

Chris Hart, owner of Real Groovy, says the profile of the typical vinyl fan has changed as vinyl's popularity has increased.

"They're all ages, from kids to the retired and from all walks of life. They just share a passion for music. And obviously own a turntable."

What Real Groovy has seen is demand in vinyl are mainstream titles like Dire Straits and the Eagles. Photo / Chris Gorman
What Real Groovy has seen is demand in vinyl are mainstream titles like Dire Straits and the Eagles. Photo / Chris Gorman

It's a view backed by Jeremy Taylor, of Wellington's Slow Boat Records. "The biggest change is that it's gone from being largely an older male demographic to a younger one. The single biggest growth sector would be younger females, 15-35."

It's not just the audience that's changing but also what they're buying.

Previously, record hunters chased rare and obscure game. Now it's common and mainstream albums that are being targeted and flying off shelves, Hart says.

"Our best sellers remain a combination of historic albums like Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Black Sabbath, the Beatles, and current releases like Adele's 25, Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead's A Moon Shaped Pool," he says.

This interest in older catalogue albums has presented a new problem for music shops. The demand far outstrips the supply, with Hart saying Real Groovy could have sold "a lot more" used records had they simply been able to source enough.

"Everyone used to seek cool or obscure stuff on LP," Taylor says. "But what we've seen is demand for mainstream titles like Dire Straits and the Eagles. As for secondhand Led Zeppelin, Prince or David Bowie vinyl in good condition we hardly ever have that anymore."

There are many theories on what's driving vinyl's resurgence, everything from better audio quality, the outstanding efforts in special collectors packaging through to it simply being a fad.

Taylor reckons it's because people have grabbed on to the concept of an album.

"As with other things in life," he says, "it is all about partaking of an experience. More people are embracing the culture of the independent record store and of vinyl."

Hart agrees with the sentiment. "Vinyl records aren't portable but are perfectly suited to social listening in the home," he says.

"Digital is portable and there's an enormous selection but the sound quality is not as good. Music fans are realising that and turning back to vinyl as the best solution."

- TimeOut

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