Saturday, June 21, 2014

Will HMV record shop shibuya revive vinyl culture in Japan?

Text:Fumimasa Hori

A used vinyl records and cds specialty shop, HMV record shop shibuya will open in udagawacho, shibuya on August 2nd. It is said that they will sell about 80,000 used records and cds bought from abroad in the space of 500 square meter. It is the site of a record shop DMR (Dance Music Records, a record shop since 90's). 

Udagawacho was called "The record village" or "The sanctuary of record shops" before. From later 90's to early 00's, about 50~60 record shops crowded together, Kids who was digging with a lot of bags of record shops took strides. If you watch PV of Darthreider "Cisco-zaka", you can understand a part of enthusiasm at that time.

However, the bankruptcy of CISCO (record shoops in Shibuya) and economic downturn precipitated by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008 paralleled the successive closing of record shop. The number of record shops in Shibuya decreased to only about 20 from 10's. Instead of record shops, the number of fast fashion shops, cafes, cheap taverns has increased. Forever 21 has been build in the site of HMV shibuya closed in 2010. Shibuya, the center of music culture in Japan has completely changed to the town where can be found anywhere in the suburb. 

While the aspect of Shibuya has exactly changed, the phenomenon of vinyl comeback come to happen in the US and UK, and it has spread to Asia including South Korea or Hongkong. In the past few years, the sales of vinyl records has slightly grown, but there is few specific topics. I guess the clear change has come to happen since Record Store Day on April this year. A very long queue appeared in Jet Set Tokyo and so on, when we expect it will make a full-fledged comeback of vinyl culture in Japan, this big news has arrived suddenly. 

Will HMV record shop revive vinyl culture in Japan? HMV record shop Shibuya writes on Facebook as follows. 

"We will release a large quantity of used records and cds gathered from all around the world. Club/Dance, digging in the sanctuary of vinyl. You will absolutely remember those days. The first step of the revival of vinyl records and music culture will start from shibuya!"

As far as we read this, it is sure that they are aware of the revival of vinyl culture. HMV Shibuya had an achievement they spread "Shibuya-kei"(J-Pop dispatched from Shibuya. Artists like Pizzicato Five, Cornelius, Scha dara parr and so on.) in early 90's, so they must have an ability to convey their informeation originally. I think it is enough possible that HMV record shop shibuya rekindle vinyl culture in Japan with joining the movement of vinyl resurgence from abroad this time.

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