Vinyl record pop-ups pay off for ‘stunned’ retailer

Two years of vinyl record pop-ups for collectors have left retailer Nick Langford stunned by the level of interest in the vintage format.

He started his business with a shipment of 10,000 LPs (long-playing records) in 2015.

“It’s all about vinyl,” says Langford, who holds the pop-up events each month at SoHo’s Culture Club Gallery.

“Every genre from the ’50s onward is covered, including new issues from Hong Kong artists like Blood Wine or Teenage Riot,” says the English expat, who describes the demand as “quite extraordinary”.

A worldwide vinyl revival kicked off about 10 years ago, with sales are set to reach US$1 billion for the first time this year. Sony Music is launching a record-pressing plant in Japan to cope with demand, much of it driven by the Asian market.

Langford started by buying a collection of 10,000 records which he had flown to Hong Kong in 95 boxes. “It took me four months to get them in order, and it cost a lot of money, but it was worth it,” he says.

While organising a recent purchase of ’60s flexi-discs from China, he found a first pressing of a Beatles record that had been put back into the wrong sleeve. He says it is such discoveries that keep collectors hunting.

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