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Upminster store enjoying ‘fad’ as vinyl hits record 25-year high

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 January 2017

Crazy Beat record store in Upminster.

Crazy Beat record store in Upminster.

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With billions of songs streamed online every year, you could be forgiven for thinking that buying a vinyl record was a thing of the past.

Crazy Beat record store in Upminster. Neil Archer (DJ Lok) Crazy Beat record store in Upminster. Neil Archer (DJ Lok)

But the business of buying and selling vinyl is booming after a year which saw sales reaching a 25-year high.

Statistics released by the British Phonographic Industry show last year to be the ninth consecutive year that vinyl has grown.

In 2016, more than 3.2 million LPs were sold, a rise of 53 per cent on 2015 and the highest number since 1991 when Simply Red’s Stars was the bestselling album.

To understand what is causing the peak in vinyl sales, the Recorder took a trip to Upminster’s own Crazy Beat Records, a shop which stocks at any one time in excess of 100,000 items on vinyl and CD.

Crazy Beat record store in Upminster. Crazy Beat record store in Upminster.

The store, in Corbets Tey Road, started out as a predominantly black music store with people coming from all across London for rare records.

It now specialises in anything from classical to reggae music and has been owned by Gary Dennis for the past 27 years.

Gary believes the current boom is a “fad” as consumers become fascinated and hooked on the physical format of music.

“Vinyl records have that wow factor,” he said.

Crazy Beat record store in Upminster. James Davenport dealing with some records for posting out to customers across the world Crazy Beat record store in Upminster. James Davenport dealing with some records for posting out to customers across the world

“It’s not just about how the record sounds but it’s the artwork, the note sleeves, more specifically the look which also appeals to buyers.

“CDs may also have those things but when you have to struggle to read something then it’s not particularly enjoyable.”

He believes the current rise in buying and selling vinyl will not last forever though.

“The next five years could be really interesting,” Gary said.

Crazy Beat record store in Upminster.  Staff John Paddick, James Davenport, Natalie Lyons, Dean Porter, Neil Archer, manager Gary Dennis and Joe Porter Crazy Beat record store in Upminster. Staff John Paddick, James Davenport, Natalie Lyons, Dean Porter, Neil Archer, manager Gary Dennis and Joe Porter

“It could be really good as a new generation become wrapped up in the search of a rare record.

“The demand for vinyl will last forever but the hype we are currently experiencing won’t last more than five years.”

The shop has also been the only place in the borough to take part in events like Record Store Day, which has become a nationwide phenomenon.

For one day, the annual celebration means fans can buy re-releases of classic albums and singles or new, limited-edition vinyl.

Crazy Beat has now become a respected business worldwide with the rise of internet sales seeing purchases from as far as Japan, Australia and the US.

Gary said: “The internet is huge for us but I’m more concerned with people coming into the store.

“While people are spending less on every visit, they are returning to the store, which is important.

“I’ve noticed a rise in those coming to the store and I expect to see that more this year.”

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