Editor’s comment: What can we learn from Alan?
- Credit: Archant
I’m delighted to see Alan’s Records (our Business of the Week) going strong after 24 years.
I spent a lot of time in East Finchley over the summer but always seemed to be on the way to or from somewhere else when I passed the shop on the bus. This weekend, I’ll be sure to pop in.
My childhood was spent in record shops. I can’t have been older than Alan’s eight-year-old customer when I started digging through dusty crates for the music that would go on to soundtrack my teenage years – the Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Pink Floyd – and soon enough I was planning entire day trips around shops I’d found in the Yellow Pages, in towns that were just about accessible by train with the assistance (or resignation) of a long-suffering parent.
It seemed like a whole world had opened up to me but in truth those years – late ’90s, early 2000s – were vinyl’s nadir. Sales, despite my pocket money, were unsustainably low; shops were closing or downscaling to focus on easier, more reliable sources of income; industrial investment was minimal or non-existent, with manufacturers left to salvage parts for ailing record presses from decommissioned Eastern European plants.
Yet fast-forward 15 years and the picture is completely different. After a decade of growth, 2017 saw more (new) records sold in the UK than in any year since 1991.
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I wonder what lessons, if any, the news business – another once mighty media industry that has been brought to its knees in the digital age – can learn from the resurgence in records’ popularity.
If anything, it might be that we’re wrong to assume people invariably value convenience and immediacy over quality, or that the market’s shift in that direction is entropic. It’s no secret newspapers don’t have the resources they once did – my job is to decide how best to deploy them so what we still do produce is high quality, and offers something you can’t get elsewhere.
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- 2 Man killed in 'shooting' in north London
- 3 How did a double-decker bus crash straight into a Crouch End house?
- 4 Man killed and two injured in triple shooting
- 5 Appeal to find four children missing from north London with father and grandmother
- 6 Spot the '90s pop stars in the Never Mind the Buzzcocks identity parade
- 7 Man jailed for rape of young girl in north London 40 years ago
- 8 UK's first no chicken nugget shop pops up in Camden Town
- 9 Explore 8 of north London's prettiest streets
- 10 Council denies liability for Church Row bollards car damage
No, records and news aren’t the same. But I feel sure that if our industry survives, it won’t be through a race to the bottom.