If there's one thing that the vinyl has proven over the past decades, it's the ability to overcome any challenges that come its way. It has lived through the rise and fall of cassette tapes, CDs and even MP3s, and the Vinyl Revival in the late Noughties. Even in this age of digital streaming, the art of vinyl is still practised by many music lovers and DJs, proving the adage that old is gold.
But is this year any different? The pandemic has globally rocked the music scene, forcing festivals and concerts to cancel, and live music venues to close. People had to get their music fix elsewhere – whether it's tuning into live streams of intimate gigs and virtual festivals by international and local artists, or playing instruments and singing in unison from their balconies (remember belting out to Dick Lee's Home with your neighbours?).
Now that we're in Phase 2 of Singapore's reopening plans, music fans can resume their crate-digging ritual at record stores. While digital streaming is so much more convenient, the vinyl gives music fans something tangible to showcase their love for their favourite artists. Plus, there’s just something enthralling about dropping the needle gently onto the groove of the record and hearing that initial crackle through the speakers.
But lest we forget those that were forced to permanently shut down due to the crisis. A few days shy from the announcement of Phase 2, White Label Record & Bar made a heartbreaking announcement about their closure. Not only was it a vinyl paradise for non-mainstream releases, but it was also a popular hangout for the music community.
What can music fans do? The message is simple: if you can, and while you can, please support independent record stores. Whether it's ordering some tasty bites and coffee from Choice Cuts Goods + Coffee, or bagging some merch and vinyl from The Analog Vault, every little help counts in helping these small businesses stay afloat. We might even see another vinyl revival this year – one that overcomes the challenges of Covid-19.