The Immortal Vinyl Culture

Some things exhaust with time, some remain forever – Vinyl and its undying love affair with the music fanatics.

 

Kept in the corner of a room on the second floor are the vintage vinyl records. There are over three to four aesthetically stocked shelves abounding with all kinds of vinyl and LP records that are priced justly.

Welcome to Balaji’s Antiques & Collectibles, a store in Avenue Road, Bengaluru, that sells collectibles and vintage accessories.

Metropolitan cities like Bengaluru, which are home to the music lovers and the vinyl record junkies of the country, witness a huge scarcity in the number of genuine vinyl record sellers.

But one such store which never fails to catch the eyes of antique and record lovers is Balaji’s Antiques & Collectibles, which is tucked away inside one of the busiest road in Bengaluru, Avenue road. This family-run multi-storey store sells some of the finest and rarest collectibles and vintage accessories, and is owned by Balaji. Started out in 1924, in one of the oldest areas of Bengaluru. Balaji’s Antiques & Collectibles is a paradise for the art and vintage memorabilia collectors.

Comeback of vinyl records

One of the biggest comebacks that was seen in the music industry was not of an artiste but of the vinyl records. By the 1980s, vinyl sales witnessed a decline but it only took few years for it to come back with a bang. Vinyl sales boosted up to a million after its resurrection; its biggest buyers being the music-loving youth with the middle-aged crowd in tow.

Photo by Alexander Sam Thomas

Vinyl records and gramophones were a huge hit in India especially since the country recorded and produced regional and classical Indian music. But soon after the CDs gained popularity, vinyl sales declined in India as well. The problem lay in the inverse nature of the demand and supply of vinyl records, with the demand increasing once again, while the supply still remained scarce.

At Balaji’s Antiques & Collectibles the collection includes English albums ranging from Robert Flack and Donny Hathaway’s soulful duet album which was released in the year 1972 to jazz artiste Tony Williams’s album ‘A girl is a girl is a girl’, which was released in 2014.

Another interesting find at the shop is a record called ‘Hustle Hits’, which is a compilation record released in the year 1975, including soul and funk artists like ‘Kool and the gang’, and ‘Zakariah.’ Not only does the store cater to the fans of the English speaking community, it also has a range of regional vinyl records, making sure that no music lovers are left out.

Photo by Alexander Sam Thomas

The records are neatly stacked on labeled shelves and are separated mostly depending upon the language or genre. An interesting observation from the labelling is that there is a separate shelf just for the 78 rpm records, which are flat discs played at a speed of  around 78 revolutions per minute. These were manufactured between the years 1898 to late 1950s after which they withdrew from production.

Vinyl might not sound thrilling to the masses, but for the old souls whose hearts overwhelm with joy at the sound of music, Balaji’s Antiques & Collectibles is the best haunt!

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