Vinyl records hit the mainstream market during the 50s and 60s rock n' roll revolution. When vinyl records were the principal music medium, the collectors were dye-hard fans of the bands at the time – mainly the younger generation that would have gone to the concerts of the bands.
Little did these folks know how things would be 50 years down the line…
Down The Line
Now, thanks to the internet, you can browse online vinyl record marketplaces, sat in pretty much any location of your choosing, be it your bedroom, an airport or a coffee shop.
The internet also gives us the opportunity to buy records from around the world. Online market places such as musicstack and Gemm, mean that we don't have to just buy from large online stores or shops either, but get to browse thousands of records from individual sellers.
One can see then, the added dimensions and scope that the internet has provided the record collector with.
What About The Record Stores?
But what about the independent record store? Are these amazing online record marketplaces killing off the back-alley gems where we used to spend a couple of hours rifling through to find something that was at least closely related to what you were looking for?!
Well it is true that the number of record stores has been in steep decline, and reached an all-time low in 2009. However, you may be surprised to hear that a report by the BBC has discovered that for the first time in years, last year saw a small increase in independent record stores.
Granted this increase only comes as a handful, but this is no small feat for something that many thought would be completely dead in the water by 2011.
A Collectors Dream
OK, so vinyl continues to remain a collectors dream item – the artwork, the sound, the nostalgia. But is making a trip to the record store an unmissable part of the collector's experience? Or is it worth missing out on, in order for convenience, and more importantly ensuring that you are getting the best vinyl at the best price?
If one was to completely dismiss the vast marketplace that we have access to on the internet, then one is missing out on looking at records from around the world, from millions of artists, with different collector's attributes. And I don't think that there are many people out there that are stubborn enough to avoid looking for records on the internet for the sake of saving the independent record store.
But, there is a simple answer to all of this; one which I put into practice myself; and that is to do both! Use the internet to browse vinyl records from round the world.
Also, make sure that you sometimes make a trip to your local independent record store – because lets face it, an internet marketplace can't always substitute the musty smell of an independent record store, and doing your record hunting in the company of other vinyl record collectors.