Another spin for vinyl?

13 February 2013 - 03:08 By ANDILE NDLOVU
Vinyl. File photo
Vinyl. File photo

Despite the prospect of higher production costs, record label Gallo Music is considering printing more vinyl albums, after releasing Arno Carstens' new album Atari Gala on both vinyl and CD.

The cost of manufacturing vinyl is much higher than a CD because the records have to be produced abroad.

Besides, are there enough hipsters and purists in this country to revive the format? Cassettes were only phased out a few years ago.

Gallo's Product and Marketing Manager Neil Greenberg said yesterday that there was still an "appetite" for vinyl - but less so for cassettes.

"Vinyl is the physical format with more potential. You can't beat the warmth of a great vinyl pressing," he said.

Greenberg said there was a "resurgence" of demand for vinyl and there are many turntables still in the market

"Recently, retailers have been stocking USB turntables, which is whetting the vinyl appetite," he said.

Owner of indie record label Just Music, Karl Anderson said records are more popular with fans of alternative music.

The label released a limited edition white vinyl of South African Music Award-winning band Shadowclub's Guns & Money last year.

He said while a CD would normally retail for R150, a record usually sells for around R200.

"We get requests all of the time. Although the market for vinyl is really small in South Africa and there aren't many retail outlets, the real fans still love the idea of having their favourite artists releases on vinyl," he said.

Stephen Segerman, who co-owns the popular Cape Town record store Mabu Vinyl, said: "We are mostly second hand, but if we get requests, we can import as well.

"People still want the likes of Miles Davis, James Brown, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder," said Segerman.

The label EMI still produces vinyl albums for key musicians such as Kylie Minogue, Coldplay and Deadmau5, but EMI Music South Africa has not done so for at least the past 20 years.

EMI's South African marketing head Kevin Grenfell said the demand for vinyls internationally was sustaining the format, but there was not much money in vinyl locally .

He said: "We do get some requests for artist albums on vinyl, but they are relatively few and far between.

"If we get a total of three to five vinyl orders in total per month, it's a lot," Grenfell said.

How long will it be before we listen to music solely via bluetooth, without the task of charging iPods and even worse MP3 players?