Vinyl records are experiencing a resurgence across the UK, with searches for “vinyl records” increasing by eight percent since 2022, and nearly 10,000 Britons have already searched the term this winter.
Such is the vinyl revival that in recent years vinyl sales have overtaken CD sales with 41 million vinyl records sold, compared to 33 million CDs.
The UK is blessed with a large number of record shops for vinyl lovers to snoop in search of a holy grail find, but there are plenty of tantalising options further afield.
Audio experts KEF and Audio-Technica have released a complete guide to the world’s biggest vinyl loving destinations – cities across the world where music lovers can uncover hidden gems and experience thriving independent music scenes in 2024.
Founder of Naviar Records, Marco Sebastiano Alessi, has also shared his insight on how vinyl continues to reign supreme.
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Denmark’s capital city is an electronic music hot spot and home to a vibrant live music scene, whilst also being known for the high quality and superb curation within its record stores.
Visitors can explore the specialised locations of Can Records and Second Beat, or explore the vast collections of Sound Station and Mint Records.
Copenhagen is regarded as a relatively expensive city for tourists, but its magnitude of vibrant and immersive audio experiences make it a must-visit for music lovers.
Marco explains: “The physicality of skipping through LPs to find something unexpected is an experience that’s not available in the digital realm, where all music is accessible and at your fingertips.”
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Although thousands of miles away, Tokyo is often regarded as an audiophile’s dream thanks to its abundance of independent and second-hand record stores.
Ranging from nu-disco to used-jazz, the diversity of collections make the pilgrimage a worthy one for British music-lovers.
Enban is considered to be the home of Japan’s most underground artists, offering the most unique and experiential music genres.
Heading to the land down under, Melbourne makes the list as a must-see destination for music lovers thanks to its range of eclectic independent music stores.
Greville records is one of the oldest and most popular vinyl stores in the city, selling thousands of new and used records, signed copies, original masters recordings, and occasionally hosting free live music events.
Melbourne is also home to a number of bustling live venues, including the Corner Hotel, a remodelled 19th century pub that has seen performances from artists such as Double Denim and Maple Glider.
The birthplace of the iconic Leonard Cohen, the Canadian city of Montreal is a unique and spectacular breeding ground of artistic impression.
Sonorama is a spot that specialises in genres such as jazz, rock, and funk, and has helped to cement the underground scene local music lovers have come to know and love.
Audio expert Marco Sebastiano Alessi says: “While streaming services are monopolising the way we experience music and helping the industry rise to its feet, independent record stores are playing a completely different game, showing the value of human touch and dedication in contrast with the power of the algorithm.”
São Paulo, Brazil
It is hard to picture São Paulo without imagining its carnival atmosphere and samba sounds, but this music-loving city is incredibly diverse in its taste.
Visitors searching for Brazilian music can head to the legendary Chico and Zico’s, a store popular with British and American producers and is known to have everything and more from your wish list.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town has a rich musical culture, with the lively rhythms and soulful sounds of Ghomea and Marabi dominating the area.
In recent years electronic dance music has taken over the South African city, with the area hosting the continent’s largest electronic music festival, Ultra South Africa.
Film and music lovers can head to one of Cape Town’s most iconic record stores, Mabu Vinyl. The store was featured in the Academy Award-winning documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, a motion picture based on the true story of the store’s owner, Stephen Segerman, and his search for songwriter Sixto Rodriguez in the 1970s.
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