Despite technological advances, an increasing number of people are buying their music on records

In today’s world, streaming services give users instant access to almost any song. However, an ever-growing number of people are returning to a music format of yesteryear.

On Sunday April 3rd 2022, the Tap and Tumbler pub on Wollaton Street in Nottingham will be transformed into a record shop with tens of thousands of discs being available to buy.

According to the event’s organiser, AA Record Fairs, a wide selection of records will be offered – with the majority ranging from the 1960s to the present day.

With the history of records, or phonographs as they were initially called, dating back to 1889, their current popularity, particularly with young music lovers, may come as a surprise.

Rough Trade is one of Nottingham’s most popular shops for new and second-hand records

Whilst records famously crackle and can skip when played, some claim that they are superior to other music sources due to the richer, analogue sound quality they are capable of.

Compared with the digital audio files used for CDs and streaming platforms such as Spotify, records feature completely uncompressed versions of songs, often taken directly from the original master copy.

What is more, many record buyers appreciate the design of each album, with most coming with a detailed and often characterful cover- something the digital revolution left behind.

Currently, the price of a new record is significantly higher than that of a CD, with some albums costing as much as £50. However, as more companies begin to produce them, this figure should decrease.

Young adults in particular are buying more records, with sales figures at their highest since 1991

In 2021, worldwide record sales were at their highest in 30 years, with over five million being sold in the UK alone. Currently, vinyl sales make up 23% of all album sales.

Dan Jones, a student at Nottingham Trent University, regularly contributes to those figures.

He said: “They look really good. There’s something about having a real album, and they sound more crisp compared to CDs as well.”

“I think buying a record is a real labour of love.”
Leah Johnson, Rough Trade

The increase in record sales is also helping high-street shops recover from a turbulent period over the past few years.

Leah Johnson works at Rough Trade, a popular music shop in Nottingham city centre. She said: “I think buying a record is a real labour of love.

“With buying a record, you’ve got this amazing artwork, you’ve got the experience of putting it on a record player, turning it over – it just sounds so much crisper.

“Streaming music these days can be quite forgettable because you just put something on, you get these suggestions that come up which is great for discovering new things but you might not necessarily pay attention to what it is.”

Audio: Leah Johnson from Rough Trade talks about the advantages of owning music on record