What record shops can teach the high street – Building Design

David Rudlin_index

Spillers Records lays claim to be the oldest record shop in the world. It was established in 1894 selling wax phonograph cylinders and shellac disks not long after these new technologies were invented. I love record shops plus visit every time I’m in Cardiff.

This I have been doing since the 1990s when much of the store was devoted to CDs although you could tell that their heart wasn’t really in it. In the 2000s Spillers was struggling, and it might have disappeared, were it not for a campaign organised by Owen John Thomas associated with the Welsh Assembly and the Manic Street Preachers. When I was last there in 2019, it was, once more thriving, riding the particular wave of the vinyl revival in new premises at the heart of the city’s arcades.

The data we have gathered through our research on high streets shows that will since 2017 there has been a modest rebirth in the number of report shops in the UK. This is remarkable whenever you consider that record shops have got seen the particular almost complete transfer of their product on-line. In an era when any track can be downloaded for free, it seems that music punters still want the hiss and crackle of the vinyl disc as well as the romance of a piece of sleeve art.


There is much that other retail sectors can learn from the record store. Spillers will be like a knowledgeable older brother or sister, passing upon their love of music. Many of the records in their racks have a short, handwritten note outlining the history of the particular band and why they are so great. The assistants are enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and the shop is usually a social space where people hang out, listening to new music plus enjoying the particular atmosphere.

I have been hanging out inside record stores since, as a teenager, I would head into Birmingham with friends most Saturdays. Having listened to Steve Peel all week and read the reviews in Sounds or the New Musical Express, we might go to town with a list of potential purchases.

These were the days when you can hear a track on the radio or read a review, and never manage to monitor the report down, which meant that will, unless it had been successful, you would never hear it again. The Luton shops would get a few copies associated with new indi records on their release but after that they were gone. Ownership of a rare piece associated with 7” Vinyl was a great source of teenage status because there was nowhere else that your friends could access that will piece of songs, unless you allowed them to tape it (which of course all of us did despite the posters about piracy killing the music industry).

The record shop has survived against all the particular odds

The biggest report shop inside Birmingham, at the time, was Virgin Records, lengthy before Richard Branson branched out into trains, airplanes and space rockets. Back then Virgin Records was all that Virgin did and it was both a record label and a retailer. Its stores were great matt black-painted spaces with an awesome sound system and the coolest shop assistants who always seemed to be judging the customers upon their purchases.

We also frequented the much smaller independent Inferno Records exactly where you had been served by the owner who had a good encyclopaedic music knowledge. Then on to Reddington Rare Records, squashed in to an unit in the subway beneath the Bullring. This has been where we all got our own musical education, searching back through the dog-eared, second-hand albums from the 60s and 70s buying records on the basis of their own cover art or just curiosity as to what the particular New York Dolls, Hawkwind or Bong sounded like (brilliant/disappointing/terrible).

Virgin mobile Records briefly became Zavvi and collapsed in 2009 while HMV went into administration in January 2013 plus again in February 2019. HMV had been bought simply by Doug Putnam owner of the Canadian chain Sunrise Records. His formula to turn the chain around is similar to Spillers Information just on a much bigger scale. The focus is on vinyl and physical stores furthermore painted matt black, along with cool shop assistants and a stage for live acoustic sets.

The record shop offers survived towards all the odds plus HMV provides been reinvented by learning from the independents. This has been not inevitable as can become seen from the parallel history of the video shop. Other retail sectors like fashion, that also cater to the particular transient desires of a changing market, and where everything is also available on-line, can learn much from Spillers Records.

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