A generation of people has grown up taking downloads for granted which has had a huge impact on high street shops selling new music. Glasgow’s second-hand sector bubbles along nicely but for the latest releases you need to try Fopp, a surviving branch of HMV, or the city’s few interesting independents.
There are only eight Fopps across Britain, two in Glasgow however, and they remain the first port of call for anyone who wants dance, jazz, pop or rock CDs – many at bargain prices – while the chain also sells pop culture books, DVDs, T-shirts and a selection of music technology. This is the Glasgow city centre branch; they've also got a West End outlet on Byres Road.
HMV may not be the behemoth it was, financial troubles leading to the closure of many stores in 2011 and 2013. But it still has more than 120 outlets and, given the pace of change in retail, by early 2015 it had nosed ahead of Amazon to become the UK’s biggest seller of what we quaintly call ‘physical music’. The central Glasgow branch sells everything from Gary Numan to Ghostface Killah.
Adjacent to Queen Street station, this shop is adored by locals as well as music fans about to get a train home to Edinburgh. It buys and sells second-hand CDs and vinyl, but also has new releases. You could pick up an old Soft Machine CD here perhaps, buy the latest from some Scottish alt-folkies or hang around to hear an in-store set from an up-and-coming indie band.
Part of the multifaceted Mono at the King’s Court arcade – with its vegan café-bar and space for lo-fi, post-punk gigs and other events – Monorail is the congruently interesting, in-house record store. Typical contemporary purchase: red vinyl edition of 'FFS' by FFS (members of Franz Ferdinand and Sparks). Typical back catalogue purchase: 'Illinoise' by Sufjan Stevens. When quiet, Monorail can feel oddly like a music library.
A music shop in the broad sense, Rubadub has been going for over 20 years selling equipment like drum machines, samplers, sequencers and more. It also has the kind of records you might make with this kit – music that could legitimately be labelled as obscure electronica, house or techno. If you want to buy a new release like the 'Hyper-Realised' EP by Melbourne DJ Bell Towers, for example, this is where to come.