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A pair of music lovers is offering Brighton a unique record buying experience – with a fun, friendly store that’s set to change the way we buy music. Vinyl Revolution aims to counter traditional experiences, with a survey showing that nearly 40% of record lovers have felt intimidated or judged in a record store.  



Vinyl Revolution – in a nutshell:

  • Founded by music lovers to start a revolution by making record buying the most fun possible
  • Vibrant, spacious, thoughtfully-designed city-centre shop that welcomes music lovers of all ages and tastes, from mums with buggies to ageing rockers
  • Exclusive pop-culture inspired clothing, art and home stuff
  • Flagship store in Brighton – spiritual home of founder, musician Simon Parker
  • No music snobbery!

Much more than a record store

Vinyl Revolution is more than just a record store.  With friendly staff on hand to help everyone – from those exploring vinyl for the first time to established collectors – as well as quality record players and an exclusively designed range of music-inspired art, clothing and household items, it’s an entertaining immersion in music and pop culture.

The Duke Street store, which opens to the public on Saturday 15th July, is the brainchild of musician Simon Parker – whose musical career has its roots and cultural inspiration in Brighton – and his business partner, Rachel Lowe.  “Vinyl Revolution is inspired by our love of music, but also by our absolute passion for making it fun, friendly and accessible to all,” said Simon.  “Record buying and buyers have changed, but record stores haven’t. Vinyl Revolution is set to change that and make the record-buying experience enjoyable for today’s music lovers.”

New team photo

Welcoming experience for all

“Buying records in a supermarket is soulless, but too many record stores are unwelcoming and quite blokey – even my musician friends, who really know their music, say they have felt unwelcome or intimidated,” explained Simon Parker.

“Vinyl Revolution aims to offer a completely new record-buying destination.  We welcome everyone, regardless of their musical interests, gender or age, and we offer a rare mix of vintage and new vinyl.  Whether you’re looking for a special album to add to your collection or you’re trying to find the perfect present and don’t know where to start, our staff – who are all music lovers – want to help you.  And we will never, ever sneer at your choice!”

This is in stark contrast to experiences offered by many traditional record stores.  A recent survey1 found that:

39% have felt intimidated or judged in a record store

45% have felt uncomfortable asking for advice in a record store

25% have chickened out of asking for a particular record or artist in a record store because they felt it wasn’t cool enough

75% have gone online to buy a record, even though they have a nearby record store

Words used by respondents to describe their experiences include: intimidating, arrogant, judgemental, unhelpful, precious, exclusive, dark, hit and miss, frustrating, snobby, psuedy, uncomfortable, daunting, arrogant, elitist, impersonal, overcrowded, pretentious, cliquey, cluttered, disorganised, confusing, grumpy, cramped, blokey, old fashioned, unfriendly, too male orientated.  One respondent, who was laughed at in a record store for his choice of music, said: “I still start sweating when I see a 7 inch”.

“Music is a celebration – creating and recalling brilliant memories.  That’s what we want customers to experience in Vinyl Revolution,” said Simon.

More than a record store

“While making music friendly and accessible is our passion, Vinyl Revolution is not just about the records.  Our exclusively designed clothing, art and household items offer something for everyone,” said Co-founder Rachel Lowe.  “If cooking is your rock n’ roll, we’ve got a really cool apron for that.  If art is your thing, you’ll love our edgy prints.  If you’re a beer drinker, we’ve got the perfect glass for your pint.  And if you simply fancy a good cuppa, you’ll love our Boy George teapot.”

Vinyl Revolution’s warm welcome will be obvious from its vibrant shop front and interior, designed by Sally Anne McCoy, who has worked with the likes of Liam Gallagher of Oasis and Liam Howlett of Prodigy and whose recent projects include the top international nightclubs Drama Park Lane in London and Cirque le Soir in Dubai. It will provide the perfect backdrop for the regular live acoustic sets for local and visiting bands.

Simon Parker and Rachel Lowe

Simon Parker and Rachel Lowe

Vinyl resurgence

The Brighton store follows a successful pop-up shop in Tunbridge Wells over three months late last year.  “Spending on vinyl albums increased 53% last year to its highest level since 19912, and the huge appetite was born out by the enthusiasm that we found in Tunbridge Wells from people of all ages and walks of life,” said Parker.

“As someone who has spent his entire career in the music industry, vinyl is the only way to listen to music. There is nothing better.  Vinyl has a warmth, a separation of sound and a clarity of the highs and lows which has not been matched by CDs or downloads; it’s how the artist intended you to hear their work.  Vinyl has a magic all of its own; whenever you pick up a record, you pick up a work of art, no matter how weird or wonderful.  Once you start collecting vinyl you are hooked for life – you will never have enough.”

Return to cultural roots

Despite the success of the Tunbridge Wells pop-up, Vinyl Revolution had no hesitation about where to site their flagship permanent store.  “I first came to Brighton to join a band in the 1990s and spent more than 21 years here playing in bands and working within the music scene, sharing an office with the manager of The Kooks and The Ordinary Boys, promoting the likes of Kasabian, Keane and Bat For Lashes, teaching at Brighton Institute of Modern Music, scouting for new talent and DJing on the radio.  For me, Brighton is music and music is Brighton,” said Simon. “It’s the obvious place for our first permanent store and HQ from which to run our website”

For the Brighton launch, Vinyl Revolution will be producing a limited-edition Brighton T-shirt and their first range of beach towels in honour of the seaside town.

Quality and music centre stage

A love of music underpins every decision taken by Vinyl Revolution.  “Lots of places sell turntables these days, but cheap all-in-ones can actually damage your records and sound generally sound terrible, so we only sell award-winning or Which? recommended models,” explained Parker.

“We personally grade all our vintage records, recycling the ones that are too scratched into unique household items, including wine racks, coasters and bowls.  We’ve also invested in record-cleaning equipment so our customers can give their treasured albums and singles a new lease of life – a unique service within Brighton.”

Green revolution

Vinyl Revolution is also committed to ethical, environmentally friendly business practices. “We’ve invested in a low-energy environment, we recycle and avoid using plastic packaging and our clothing is organic and ethically sourced,” stressed Lowe.  “We also source our products from the UK wherever we can.” (1)
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