The steady resurgence of the vinyl has been a quietly growing phenomenon, which has been occurring in the depths of the UK music scene for some years now. The commercial profit that can be made by selling albums across the country is huge. Vinyl sales increased by a staggering 37.6 % in the first half of this year in the United Kingdom. With no indication of a drop in these numbers, it makes complete sense for companies to cash in on this rebirth of the old. The artefacts revival has been officially confirmed with the launch of the supermarket chain J Sainsbury’s own record label. The superstore already stocks masses of vinyl’s and by introducing its ‘Own Label’ records it can diversify its supply and expand into other areas, beside from re-issues. One of the first albums said to be released will be a “Hi-Fidelity” record that will feature the infamous Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield. This will be welcomed news to those who still want to purchase this technology without the perceived inconvenience of trekking to specialist record stores.
Sainsbury’s has simplified the shopping experience for causal collectors , who can look for groceries, furniture, kitchen utensils, pharmaceutical products and now records at the same time. It is important to note that Sainsbury’s isn’t the first hyper store to take this step. For those who need reminding, ‘Embassy Records’ was released under Woolworths name in the 1950s and ‘Hear Music’ was unveiled by Starbucks back in 2005. However, what makes Sainsbury’s bid unique is its timing. The nostalgic yearning for the sounds of yesteryear in an age of technological excess heightens the appeal of the record as a well-deserved recreational agent.
Of course, Sainsbury’s decision didn’t come without criticism. Some Independent record labels have argued that selling vinyl is a niche business and big chains may end up devaluing the particularised culture that has developed around the cult of the record. They also argue that new talent is best cultivated in the sculpt of independent record labels who have more expertise and time to focus on artistic development as opposed to just concentrating on potential monetary returns.
Article by Yohannes Lowe