They may not be a rage, but LPs – or simply long-playing records on vinyl – have a sizeable fan following in music aficionados, collectors and serious audiophiles.
“There were two reasons for getting back vinyls — making music available on Saregama across all available platforms and reviving this analog format of music, which still appeals to serious audiophiles and connoisseurs,” Adarsh Gupta, business head of music company Saregama India Ltd., told IANS.
Apart from Saregama, T-series, EMI and Sony Music have also started releasing LPs to bring alive the era of the gramophone.
“Saregama’s LPs are manufactured in Germany, on 12 inch discs of 180 grams of lacquer. And the audio from the old masters is digitally cleaned and bettered before cutting the LP mother shells. It is a perfect recipe for a wonderful musical session to re-live the glorious past. We are also selling LP players manufactured by Lenco, Netherlands,” Gupta said.
Saregama is primarily releasing old Hindi film soundtracks in this format and also some titles from other genres like Tamil, Bangla and classical music.
Apart from cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, vinyls are also available in small cities around the country.
It is usually priced at Rs.800-Rs.5,000 a pack.
Music labels revealed that despite the high price, they are getting a good response from consumers.
“The response to LPs has been fantastic. Our target audience is audiophiles, music aficionados and collectors. The sale differs from month on month, but we are witnessing an increase,” said Arjun Sankalia, director for international music and special products, Sony Music India.
“While international music on vinyl has its small but captive market, the Indian film music like the soundtracks of ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Jodhaa Akbar’ is doing really well too. We are now evaluating the market for LPs of Indian classical music,” he added.
At the moment Sony Music India’s domestic repertoire in LPs include “Lagaan”, “Vande Mataram”, “Jodha Akbar” and “Rang De Basanti”.
The international repertoire is more elaborate with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller – 25th anniversary edition”, “The Or” and David Gilmour’s “Metallic Spheres”, Bob Dylan’s “The Witmark Demos” (4 LP Box Set), Bruce Springsteen’s “The Promise”, “Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown”, Oasis’ “Time Flies”, AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, “Highway to Hell”, “AC/DC- Live”, Ozzy Osbourne’s “Diary of a Madman”, “Blizzard of Ozz 30th anniversary edition”, and classic albums from the likes of Miles Davis, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley.
Gupta of Saregama, which has sold more than 5,000 LPs between March 2011-June 2011, echoed a similar stance: “The aggressiveness of both the dealers and retailers is quite encouraging, as their increasing orders are corresponding to committed sales without any returns.”
Music aficionados and collectors are very happy with this development and are looking forward to grab their copies.
“It is good to know LPs are back. I was happily surprised when I saw one of those lenco LP players at a mall in Mangalore (in Karnataka) a week back.
I am looking to buy the LP player very soon, so that I can enjoy the music on it. But I hope the prices come down to make them more affordable,” Deepankar Shah, a 59-year-old businessman in Mumbai,
Even the new generation wants to explore this old way of listening to music.
“I have known about LPs but never got a chance to have one or listen to one. But now that they are easily available in a music store, I will definitely go and pick a few up. It is so cool,” said Pranit Pal, 19.