Thursday, July 8, 2010

Vinyl Gets Groovy

By Suanshu Khurana

Before Blu-Rays, iPods and iTunes, there was gramophone, and you grooved to the black vinyl. In the long-playing (LP) records, you chanced upon the manic genius of Pink Floyd, moved with four Liverpudlians with bangs and traced the sadness in the lower octaves of KL Saigal. If you have missed those times when there was an entire tactile ritual associated with music — flipping through your stack of records, finding the One, admiring its artwork briefly, slipping the cover off, feeling the record under your fingertips, placing it on the gramophone and then moving away a little further and waiting for the music — then here is news: the LP is back in India.

EMI has brought out the first LPs in south India, with other music companies expected to follow suit. Later this month, 78 rpms of Pink Floyd, the Eagles, the Beatles and Led Zeppelin will be stacked in Delhi’s music stores.

Anand Srinivasan, label manager with EMI, says vinyl records have a future in India.

“Customers always respond well to LPs. Over the past couple of years, the West proved to be a really good market for LPs. Now people are buying our LPs in cities like Hyderabad and Bangalore. We think they will work well here.”

The company shut down its only LP manufacturing unit in Kolkata in 1988.

“But it is not just the market. There is also much nostalgia associated with bringing LPs back,” says Srinivasan. EMI will be importing LPs from the US.

Apart from Pink Floyd and Zeppelin who are associated with the golden age of LPs, there will be vinyls of the iTunes generation that includes Norah Jones, Arctic Monkeys and Animal Collective.

“Unlike a CD where music is digitised, an LP delivers you pure analog,” says Atul Marwah, a Delhi-based private collector. Another good thing about these LPs is that they come with a host of merchandise like posters, stickers and artist cards. But they come with a price tag. The LPs are priced between Rs 495 and Rs 5,000. A box set of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon with four LPs will cost Rs 4,000. “The prices are high because of import duties,” says Srinivasan.


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