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The Vinyl Countdown


In today's easy access age and instant gratification culture, society has become accustomed to downloading media at the click of a button. But sometimes it's important to stop and look at what we have before we decide to chase cheap and possibly the lesser option...

If you are a bass music enthusiast and in particular, a fan of drum & bass, it will be no new news to you that vinyl distribution company Nu Urban recently went under. Of course we could only speculate as to the contributing factors behind the collapse, but what is for sure is that it is going to effect everyone from the artists, to the labels, to the outlets and djs who buy the records.

I know myself that I love vinyl. I love the smell, I Iove reading every word on the artwork, I love the patterns created by the grooves in the record. I love having a malleable slab of plastic that by the wonder of electronics can reproduce sound. But I grew up on it, first my fathers jazz, soul and funk records and as I got older the world of electronic music. People coming into the music don't necessarily have that nostalgia to hang on to or even knowledge of what makes vinyl great. MP3 releases mean that music is both disposable and instant... And considerably cheaper... But I can't help asking myself as a consumer; What is ultimately better? This is no new issue however...

"There was this whole thing, early 2002, 2003 when people were beginning to see the decline of sales. And it was like, shit, what are we going to do? How are we going to make money? Ok well we can keep it cheap, put it in a disco bag, no real artwork... It kind of felt to me like; Hold on a minute, if anything, now is the time to spend a bit more money on that. Put out a good looking product that people want to keep. I base the way I release records on the way I consume them myself." - dBridge

It's hard to sell vinyl as a concept to a kid who only knows ipods an MP3s. Sure you could go down the route of hip hop culture and the simplicity and ultimate seduction of a mixer and two turntables, so maybe it is about giving those who either grew up with the format or have found it anew a solid well made product. A decent cut, higher quality materials, considered artwork as good for putting on the wall as playing.

"A finished and high quality product is needed. That goes for artwork and packaging, not just the music. You have to up your game now and that’s what we do at Astrophonica. The physical product is still apparent, but it is very hard to maintain and you have to stand out. It’s gone beyond the music, which is something that buying records always did for me anyway. It has become collectors that buy vinyl now, not just music consumers. So the package has to be desirable and collectible as does the music."
- DJ Fracture

Ultimately, the consumer will always make themselves heard through the choices they make, what they buy, and how they buy it.
It is for the labels to create desirable product...