What Do Tay James, One Direction And The Ghostbusters Theme Have In Common?

April 25, 2014
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The answer? Vinyl.

In a week which saw Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ become the UK’s most downloaded track of all-time, record stores across the UK proved that physical ownership of music is still desirable.

International Record Store Day began life 8 years ago in the US and headed over to the UK a year later.  Celebrating all things vinyl, the event, which was held on 19th April, attracts the attention of collectors and novices alike.  This year, One Direction joined the party with a limited edition vinyl copy of their track ‘Midnight Memories’ and in doing so, attracted a large number of young people who may never have experienced a record shop before.

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Exclusives from Nirvana, David Bowie, The Pixies and Dolly Parton could be snapped up alongside a 10″ limited edition glow-in-the-dark record of the Ghostbusters theme song from the 1984 film. Commemorating the 30th anniversary of the comedy favourite, the record not only featured the classic theme, but also the instrumental version, a rare dance remix, and a dub-step version.

According to the Official Charts Company’s new countdown, Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ digital download sold a record-breaking 1.54 million copies since its release in May 2013. Impressive, for sure, and Thicke is certainly happy with his achievements “I’m so honored, the success of “Blurred Lines” is a dream come true,” the controversial singer said in response to the news.

However, let’s bear in mind how the track gained popularity.  Certainly through heavy radio airplay, but more importantly, the talented UK club DJs played a vital part in the popularity of the track.  Club DJ’s sell the music through the way it makes us move and feel, hearing tracks in the club can leave a huge impression.

But, as our very own worldwide legend, DJ Tay James, will tell you, you’ve got to practice.  In a series of tweets and Instagram posts yesterday, Tay pointed out just how vital a knowledge of vinyl is to his industry:

“if there was no laptop how many djs will survive???… im talking about practicing day in and day out in your room hoping to dj a party…not just wake up download some music..call a promoter friend you might have and ooo hey im a dj now …this is just like playing bball”

A vinyl record may well be the diametric opposite to a digital download, requiring substantial equipment to play it as oppose to a tiny device capable of holding a thousand songs, but it also has texture and can be physically manipulated to create sounds that can be melded together expertly by skilled DJ’s, such as Tay.  If their laptops were to break at the vital moment in the club, would many DJ’s be able to keep the party going with records or would they need to run for the nearest exit from the angry punters?

Sales of vinyl may only account for a small percentage of the overall music market in the UK, but last year, Record Store Day generated £2m worth of vinyl sales in just one day.  The resurgence of vinyl sales began around a decade ago, but was limited mainly to the ‘antique’ collectors who wished to top up an existing collection.  Now, though, we have a new band of consumers who in some part wish to guard their heritage with pride but also like the idea of owning a physical copy of all the tracks they love.

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It’s a good job, then, that the most popular digital download in the UK ‘Blurred Lines’ is available as a 12″ record because all you aspiring DJ’s need a copy. You need them all! So start collecting and learn the true skills of a DJ.  As Tay James says, “can you dig in your crates, not your hard drive?”.

-Lucy Jenkins.

@LUCYJENKlNS

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