当黑胶的复兴刚开始出现时，资本主义的齿轮开始转向，现在销量的显着增长是主导力量是大量Pink Floyd和The Beatles唱片重新发行，Ed Sheeran的专辑和好莱坞电影配乐之类。潮牌商店也加入了行列，比方说Urban Outfitters和Sainsbury's的备货记录。去年索尼宣布计划在接近三十年的间隔后开始重新推出唱片，而Sainsbury's在宣布自己是英国最大的黑胶销售商之后创立唱片公司。独立商店和唱片公司的财富状况并未出现相应的好转。
“在我看来，非专业零售商推动的销售高峰期，这不是值得庆祝的事情，”Kristina Records创始人杰森斯平克斯（Jason Spinks）表示。 “基于当前时尚和生活方式选择的潮流和风气通常会带来很多有害的影响，这些影响将盖过整个行业的积极因素, 尤其是在独立和地下音乐和文化方面。”
We’ve all seen the headlines, beaming proudly as they declare vinyl sales are soaring. UK transactions are at their highest point this side of the millenium; the US market has grown for twelve consecutive years, with 14.3 million wax LPs sold in 2017. There’s no denying it, vinyl is experiencing a resurgence - of sorts.
To this day, vinyl is a symbol intrinsically linked to dance music culture, and it’s tempting to got lost in the romanticism of vinyl’s unlikely comeback. On the surface, an increased interest in the format favoured for underground labels and DJs across the globe seems positive for dance music, but digging deeper doesn’t paint quite so gleaming a picture.
When a revived interest in vinyl first became apparent, the cogs of capitalism began turning, and now the significant rise in sales is the effect of major labels shipping huge quantities of Pink Floyd and The Beatles reissues, Ed Sheeran albums, and Blockbuster film soundtracks. High street shops have got in on the honeypot, with the likes of Urban Outfitters and Sainsbury’s stocking records. Last year Sony announced plans to start pressing records after a near-three decade hiatus, and Sainsbury’s decided to launch a record label after declaring itself as the UK’s biggest vinyl retailer. Independent shops and labels are not seeing an equivalent upturn in fortunes.
“It's not something to celebrate in my opinion,” says Kristina Records founder Jason Spinks of the sales spike driven by non-specialist retailers. “Trends and fads based on current fashion and lifestyle choices generally have a lot of detrimental effects that will outweigh the positives on the industry as a whole. Particularly where independent and underground music and culture are concerned.”
One example of the mainstream’s detrimental impact is the much-maligned Record Store Day. Started in 2007 to ostensibly "celebrate the culture of the independently owned record store", RSD is generally now viewed with contempt by independent dance music outlets as majors have stuck their claws in and co-opted the day to flog old hat reissues at jacked up prices. In 2018, Kristina Records will not be participating in the event for the third year running.
去年，Rye Wax避免了正式的庆祝活动，并主办了自己的活动叫做“消失”。该商店列出了其最喜欢的厂牌，如Hyperdub，PríncipeDiscos，Rhythm Section，Where To Now？，Phantasy和FTD，发行他们最新的唱片，并需要紧迫地用Peckham Cuts供应商印唱片，且在当天售出。 “整个活动很风靡，并引起了真正的社区共鸣。今年我们计划进一步加大力度，所以请留意一下！”乔说。
此外，对于厂牌和唱片店来说，黑胶正在成为一种更昂贵的业务。尤其是在英国，压制和批量生产成本正在上涨。许多工厂和分销商都设在欧洲，自2016年英国脱欧以来，英镑的贬值已经很大程度地压缩了的利润空间,并使市场膨胀。考虑到进口成本上涨到20％以上，Kristina Records和Rye Wax都必须增加销售价格。但是，尽管Urban Outfitters可以以38英镑的价格卖出Katy Perry唱片给一个数百万强大的粉丝群，但这些流行歌手每三到四年才发行一个完整版专辑。不知名的地下音乐相对来说，购买者会更加减少，并且喜欢这些音乐的人可能资金比较紧缺。
Peckham record shop Rye Wax also no longer gets involved in the day. Joe Howard, the Assistant Manager, told me: “While we definitely feel like there’s a need to celebrate the vinyl industry, and the independent shops that offer the grassroots support, RSD has recently been hijacked by the major label machine, who clog up the pressing plants for almost the entire year with often pretty unimaginative reissues. While this is also due to a lack of pressing plants, we felt that the lack of focus on the independent sector really undermines what the whole day should be about.”
Last year Rye Wax avoided the official celebrations and hosted its own version called The Run Out. The store enlisted a selection of its favourite labels such as Hyperdub, Príncipe Discos, Rhythm Section, Where To Now?, Phantasy and FTD to submit exclusive tunes which they cut to dubs, using local pressing business Peckham Cuts, and sold on the day. “The whole event went off and had real community vibes. This year we’re planning to ramp things up even further, so keep an eye out for that!” says Joe.
Furthermore, vinyl is becoming a more expensive business to partake in, for both labels and record shops. Pressing and stock purchasing rates are rising, especially in the UK. Many plants and distributors are based in Europe, and the weakening of the pound since the 2016 Brexit vote has squeezed already tight margins and inflated the market. Kristina Records and Rye Wax have each had to increase their sale prices in light of import costs rising by upwards of 20 per cent. But while Urban Outfitters can get away with selling a Katy Perry record for £38 a pop to a millions-strong fanbase of an artist who puts out one full release every three to four years, there is less customer potential in the nicher market underground dance music buyers, who are already spoilt for choice with vinyl options and more likely to be tighter with their pursestrings.
Perc Trax创始人Perc说：“我认为只要保持高质量，越多可以制造黑胶的选择越好。 “如果较低产量的工厂帮助小厂牌开始发行黑胶唱片，并让他们稳步建立黑胶购买群众，那就太棒了。”
独立生产唱片的兴起及其音乐质量在某些地方被视为一个问题。 Jason Spinks评论小规模品牌和分销商的发展时说，“太多了！很多来来去去，很多在他们消失之后都不知道他们曾经存在过。”
他认为谈论黑胶复兴会导致一些人进入实体厂牌领域，对风险和回报的潜在因素有着较为天真的判断。 “这是非常艰难的，很多厂牌都在竞争市场位置，”他说。 “这在某种程度上是健康的，但我认为有些人觉得发行唱片时只出售黑胶，但当事实并不像他们想象的那么乐观时，会受到剧烈打击。”
“The cost of pressing records has gone up at least 20 per cent since I started,” says Elijah, who co-founded the Butterz label in 2010, “and the prices haven't really gone up in the whole time I've been buying records, which is since 2005. I look at stickers for 12"s with £7.99 from then, and now, some people wouldn't spend £10 on a 12".”
Elijah doesn’t think dance outlets should play the victim, though, noting that it’s only natural that a plant run as a business would find it easier to press a run of 10,000 Spice Girls records than deal with 20 separate batches of 500 from various smaller operations. Elijah thinks the onus is on independent labels to be more proactive in pushing their music in creative ways: “We need to do better at getting new music to people, to make our records a more valuable purchase to those kind of people that are buying these things.”
“I think the more options there are to press vinyl the better, as long as the quality is kept high,” says Perc Trax founder Perc. “If lower minimum production runs help labels get started with vinyl and allows them to steadily build up a vinyl buying audience then that is great.”
The quality of the music on records being produced in this independent production spike has been seen as a problem in some corners. Commenting on the rise in small-scale labels and distributors, Jason Spinks says there are “too many! A lot come and go, a lot you wouldn't know they were there before they're gone.”
He thinks talk of a vinyl resurgence is leading to some people entering the physical label realm with a naive outlook on the potential for risk as well as reward. “It's very tough and lots of labels are jostling for position,” he says. “It's healthy to a degree, but i think some people get into it thinking that the records will just sell as there's a vinyl boom, but get a sharp shock when things don't turn out as they thought.”
Local Action的创始人Tom Lea认为，必须要用黑胶发歌的想法对艺术家们来说是不公平的，并且如果销售令人失望，会导致制作人和唱片公司的进展停滞不前。 “我不会因为想赚钱而去签约艺人，而是因为我喜欢他们的音乐，但是与一个可能没有粉丝基础的艺术家一起卖黑胶唱片会给发行商带来不公平的压力，”他说。 “数字专辑的话，如果销量不好，你损失的最多数字就是几百美元。但假如是黑胶，你可能会有£800-£1000的损失，当这个现实情况出现时，这对艺术家和厂牌是不利的。“Perc提供的建议是：“请记住，格式不会改变音乐的质量。发布黑胶也不会增加一个厂牌的音乐受到尊重可能性，它不会立即为你的音乐赢得更多支持和DJ的播放量，或帮助它达到更广泛的受众。“
Spinks支持这一观点，并补充道，自从2011年Kritina Records在2015年开业以来，初始阶段新厂牌人气不断上升情况开始出现了一些倒退的现象。买家现在变得越来越挑剔，越来越多地转向寻找二手唱片商店，他们也已经开始备份更多的晦涩难懂的音乐。 Spinks 说，“我认为这一部分是归因为市场开始变得非常饱和，有很多平庸的东西”。
Tom Lea, founder of Local Action, thinks the idea that releases need to be on vinyl is unfair on artists, and can cause both the producer’s and label’s progress to stagnate if sales disappoint. “I don’t sign anything because I think it’ll sell, I sign it because I love the music, but pressing vinyl with an artist who probably doesn’t have the fanbase to sell it puts an unfair pressure on a release,” he says. “Chances are with a digital album, the most you’re going to lose is a few hundred quid if it doesn’t sell well. With a vinyl release you could be looking at an £800-£1000 loss, which is demotivating to the artist and label when those figures come in.” Perc offers the advice: “Remember that the format does not change the quality of the music. Releasing vinyl is not essential to your label being taken seriously and it will not instantly win your music more DJ support or help it reach a wider audience.”
Spinks supports this view, adding that an initial buzz around the rising levels of new labels in operation since Kristina Records opened in 2011 started reversing in 2015. Buyers are now becoming more picky, and are increasingly turning to second-hand wax in the hunt for obscurities, which the shop has begun to stock more of. “Part of this I think is because the market started to become really saturated with a lot of mediocre stuff,” says Spinks.
Spinks adds that although digging for rarities has always been a part of dance music culture over the years, it has “seemed to gain more traction through certain DJs, artists and labels, and the media fetishising over people’s record collections and their ‘setups’, which has become a bit tiresome and out of hand.” Last year, Ben UFO tweeted: “if ur hovering over the purchase button on a fancy £££ record on discogs consider buying the last ten records you [downloaded from file-sharing network Soulseek] instead”.
A rising interest in older records is reflected in second-hand online music marketplace Discogs recording an 18.8 per cent vinyl sales growth last year, with a total of 7.95 million units sold, of which 3.45 million were categorised as electronic. Similarly, various music publication postings covering expensive sales on Discogs, and one user compiling regular monthly reports, demonstrates sizable interest around the rarest records being sold.
In the short term, the impact of vinyl breaking back into the mainstream is clearly causing some problems for the underground. But it’s still early days and teething problems as the industries intersect is perhaps inevitable. The investment in new technological production developments coupled with a growing audience of independent thinkers with an appreciation for the form could be more beneficial down the line. We hope the tables turn.