Vinyl records thrive amid pandemic; online record stores now available

Jade Yamanaka Gime - Philstar.com
Vinyl records thrive amid pandemic; online record stores now available
People digging in the crates inside the vinyl store Plaka Planet in Makati Central Square.
Bobby Banaag

MANILA, Philippines — The music medium that is vinyl was all but forgotten when more portable formats arrived.

The arrival of compact disks (CDs), cassette tapes, and MP3 players has made people's musical experience more convenient.

Nonetheless, the previously abandoned vinyl records have recently resurfaced in the music scene.

With vinyl records being rediscovered in the digital age, one might wonder: What’s the payoff of collecting records when people can just consume music digitally, a way more inexpensive music format?



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For Bobby Banaag, owner of vinyl haven Plaka Planet, people still collect records for a couple of reasons.

Since the craze for vinyl records reignited, Plaka Planet, a passion project of Banaag, was established in 2017. 

“It feels better when you interact with the medium. It’s something physical –– it’s something you’re holding, something that you can read about kasi hawak mo ‘yung plaka eh, and then you interact with it –– you put it on a turntable, you play it,” Banaag explained.

“From the sound point of view naman, iba talaga ang sound ng vinyl. You’d really hear the full spectrum, the full range of sound coming from the vinyl. 'Yung nga ‘yung description ng mga tao –– it’s like being there,” he added.

Banaag, who also grew up listening to vinyl records, said that it’s the charm that motivates people to still use the music medium.

“Some people, especially the ones who grew up with it, miss the sound of the vinyl, complete with the crackles and pops. The sound of imperfection, they miss that a lot,” he said.

One thing he also noticed was how the demand for vinyl records increased amid the pandemic. He figured that since people were forced to stay at home, they needed to pick up a hobby.

“The demand was already high pre-pandemic but after a few months of the pandemic, it started to pick up again, especially ‘yung demand for the system itself –– turntables, amplifiers, speakers.”

Considering the health crisis that we are in, Filipinos still have no choice but to stay at home so as to not contract the virus.

Good thing, vinyl record stores have also adapted to the new normal as people can now virtually “dig” for the records they want.

Apart from Banaag’s “Plaka Planet,” which has a physical store in Makati City and a virtual store both on Facebook and Instagram, here are other stores where people can purchase their records online:

For brand new and sealed:

The Grey Market https://www.instagram.com/thegreymarketrecords/

Plaka Express https://www.instagram.com/plakaexpress/

Plaka.MNL https://www.instagram.com/plaka.mnl/

Backspacer Records https://www.instagram.com/backspacerrecords/

Markarvin Records https://www.instagram.com/markarvinrecords/

Anthology https://www.instagram.com/anthology.ilo/

Vinyl Unlimited https://www.instagram.com/vinylunlmtd/

Spindle Hole Records https://www.instagram.com/spindlecommunitystore/

Analog Daily Records https://www.instagram.com/analogdailyrecords/

Acetate Music https://www.instagram.com/acetatemusic/

Vinyl Record Bar https://www.instagram.com/vinylrecordbar/

For used and second-hand:

Noisy Neighbors https://www.instagram.com/noisyneighbor.records/

Spin That Plaka https://www.instagram.com/spinthatplaka/

Milf Crate Records https://www.instagram.com/milfcraterecords/

Good Morning Records https://www.instagram.com/goodmorningrecords/

For records with other goods:

Kape at Plaka https://www.instagram.com/kape.plaka/

Banayad Records https://www.instagram.com/banayadrecords/

Champagne Records https://www.instagram.com/champagne.records/

For records and turntables:

Ben and Bart https://www.instagram.com/benandbart/

Villaluna Vintagehttps://www.instagram.com/vintagedotph/

The Vinyl Lab Records https://www.instagram.com/thevinyllabrecords/

Himig Modern Phonographs https://www.instagram.com/himigngplaka/

Old Souls https://www.instagram.com/oldsouls.retro/

Old Soul Vinyl Records https://www.instagram.com/oldsoulvinyl/

For those who are planning to jumpstart their vinyl collection, Banaag advised that the first major investment is to have a decent sound system.

“It’s good to start with a basic set-up, a basic starter kit. And as you expand your taste, your collection, you can always upgrade your system one at a time.”

There are also Facebook groups where people can join to sell and trade not just their records but also turntables.

As Banaag recommended, “look for the best price possible, both for the system and for the vinyl.”





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