Wednesday 21 February 2018

Goodbye MP3s ...we're falling back in love with old-style vinyl

Left to right: Veronica Sorce from Italy and Dasha Titova from Russia
Left to right: Veronica Sorce from Italy and Dasha Titova from Russia
Paul Kelly from Sandymount with (front) Steve Murrin from Blanchardstown at the Music, CD & Records Fair in Temple Bar

Jane O'Faherty

MP3 players could be facing competition from an old rival as the humble vinyl record is back in vogue.

Dealers from all over Europe have flocked to Dublin's Temple Bar this weekend for Ireland's biggest music fair, where thousands of music fans will be browsing for records to add to their collections.

It comes as music stores report a return to turntables, with sales of physical albums on the rise.

Some in the business say the resurgence in records - and in some cases even cassette tapes - is a direct response to the boom in MP3 downloads and streaming services as music lovers want to build a physical collection, rather than an online database.

Brian O'Kelly has been organising the Irish Record Fair at Filmbase for the past 11 years. Having previously owned a record shop for 35 years, he has witnessed massive changes in the ways people enjoy music.

"An awful lot of record shops had closed down. Now that trend has reversed and a few people are opening up shops again," he said.

With up to 20 international traders and 45 stalls on the Curved Street site, Mr O'Kelly says the two-storey fair is "bigger than a megastore".

"[With vinyl], you can read the notes. You can read the whole package. You have a little slice of the band.

"A large part of it is collecting. There's a real joy in collecting something. There's no joy in collecting files - there's nothing there," he added.

Vinyl collector and seller Paul Kelly from Lichfield, England, has been in Sandymount for the past 10 years. He started selling records last year, and said there was never a better time for fans to get their hands on some classic albums, be they records or CDs.

"Between fairs, charity shops and retailers, you could get a kernel of a great CD collection for €100 or €200," he said. "In the 1980s, everyone just got rid of their vinyl. Now, people are buying it back because playing equipment is so much better."

Meanwhile, mainstream shops are also feeling the benefits of a perceived record revival.

"Sales are doubling every year," said Vincent Dermody, head of music at HMV Ireland.

Mr Dermody said that he linked a renewed interest in vinyl with the prevalence of MP3 downloads and streaming services.

"The resurgence of vinyl is a very specific response to digital," he said.

"Digital is a non-physical item. Vinyl is a very physical item."

However, other record stores dismiss claims that interest in physical albums is anything new.

"There hasn't been a resurgence in vinyl. Vinyl never went away," said Steve Kearns of Spindizzy Records in Dublin.

Mr Kearns said he was more sceptical about the purported popularity of cassette tapes, which have reappeared at some record fairs. However, he added that tapes were "a quirky thing to collect".

The fair continues in Filmbase from 10.30am until 7pm today and from 10.30am until 6pm on Sunday.

Free Sunday passes are available at

Irish Independent

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