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"Onban Domei" HIP HOP Serial Column: Disk Outlook

Here's the 5th English translation of our free booklet "Onban Domei"

Translation for page 18 this time,


“Disk Outlook” – dives into the deep sea of sound like a giant squid that unravels HIP HOP・R&B “Update”. In this first episode, we asked Mr. Haruyama who is a buyer for Diskunion’s HIP HOP/R&B to talk about the vinyl market over the past 20 years.

-- Arriving in stylish by car in front of a club and unloading all of vinyl was “the world of the DJ”.

- Please introduce yourself.

Haruyama (“H”): I work at Diskunion Shinjuku Soul/Dance music shop, and I oversee the whole field of HIP HOP/R&B. I also DJ under the name of HALOON.

- Please tell us the story of your first experience of buying vinyl.

H: It was around 1999 when I started buying vinyl first. A large number of 12-inch singles were released every day, and every store was filled with new albums all over the wall.

At that time, which was during the DJ boom, the vinyl market was so excited centered around 12-inch singles which was popular with DJ.

- So, you bring vinyl you bought to the club and use them while you perform, right?

H: Yes. It was hard work. I put 2 cardboard boxes full of vinyl on a cart (called “Gorogoro”) and hung the record bag on my shoulder, the most I ever carried was 3 boxes. (lol)

The great DJ has a sort of apprentice, called “vinyl porter”. I saw the scene that one of the great DJs arrived in stylish by car in front of the club and the “vinyl porter” met him and carried in all of vinyl. I felt that this is “the world of the DJ” and that left an impression on me.

- DJs were using analog in the heyday, however, over time DJs gradually began using PCs and other digital components.

H: Yes, that’s right. Since around 2003, some people started saying “it appears to be possible to DJ on a computer”. The DJ style that does not use vinyl has increased quickly due to the convenience.

After the long vinyl winter, vinyl has once again become popular in a different way.

- As DJs who do not need vinyl have increased, what happened to the trends of vinyl sales?

H: Because the number of new releases has decreased considerably and the sale of the second-hand products has gotten difficult, I remembered the corner at the Kitaurawa store where I was working at that time was cut in half.

Vinyl sales of HIP HOP/R&B was totally in the winter period from 2003 until 2010.

- After the winter period, how is the situation at present?

H: Currently, I think the “total number of record presses” is less than the record boom period when 12-inch singles were centered on. The vinyl culture has been reviving year by year and a large number of titles have been released on analog. I think it can be said that we are currently in a different type of prosperous period than in 1999 when I first got into vinyl.

After the times when vinyl did not release completely, regarding major distribution, well-known artists like Drake and Travis Scott, and the veteran artists like Eminem and so on have released their new albums on LPs. Even this year’s Grammy-winner Robert Glasper’s “Better Than I Imagined” was also released on vinyl.

- Frank Ocean’s “Endless”, which Mr. Haruyama is holding in this photo is a recent masterpiece, isn’t it?

H: Yes. I bought it from his official website when it was first released. Recently many popular artists have begun to release their albums through private record labels or exclusively from their website. Today there are so many different ways to sell music and fans have started buying directly from the source. Perhaps artists are also limiting the number of records they manufacture, and this causes the albums to sell out, which makes them rarer.

(Exclusive sale at official site 2LP)

Buying price: 20,000 YEN

There are many items, which buying price is getting higher like LPs.

- I see. New products are diversifying. What about the present state of the second-hand market?

H: Regarding recent titles, there are many products that maintain stable popularity with limited price fluctuation. Also, collectors’ demands for the 1990’s and the 2000’s products such as LPs continue to increase and the price become quite higher than before, but they continue to sell well.

Especially used products in mint condition often sell out immediately. The buying price is getting higher, so if you have albums you need to get rid of, please don’t hesitate to contact Diskunion.

- Finally, we would like to have a comment for everyone reading this magazine.

H: The future market is always unpredictable, but at the current time we are in a new vinyl boom. So, we will continue to introduce music fans about the joy of purchasing vinyl from our store and through the blog. We look forward to assisting you on your next visit to Diskunion.

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