Features

Saturday Deluxe / 11 June 2016

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Coloured vinyl frenzy in the UK

Maybe they are not quite a ‘license to print money’ but the ever growing availability of ‘limited edition’ coloured vinyl pressings suggests that these are products that are both high margin and low risk for labels and retailer alike…

UK supermarket Tesco started selling vinyl at the beginning of the year, stocking what you might expect (Sgt Pepper, Paul Simon’s Ultimate Collection etc.) but for Father’s Day in the UK (which is 19 June ) they have four exclusive coloured vinyl releases. These are Dexys Midnight RunnersSearching For The Young Soul Rebels (green vinyl), Status Quo‘s 12 Gold Bars (gold vinyl), The Jam‘s Sound Affects (pink vinyl) and The Clash‘s London Calling (green and pink vinyl).

These are supposedly available in 150 ‘larger’ stores, but no one seems to know which stores. There is a massive Tesco in Edmonton in London, next to Ikea. I popped down there earlier this week only to find that they don’t sell vinyl at all. Bearing in mind this store is absolutely ENORMOUS, I was flabbergasted to be told, when I questioned why they weren’t stocking them, that they “are only in the larger stores”!

Everyone is jumping on the vinyl bandwagon. Sainburystried to claim this week that they were “the UK’s biggest high street retailer [of vinyl records] on the high street”. HMV basically said “no you’re not” and Sainsburys had to ‘clarify’ their comment by saying “we have more stores on the high street (171) selling vinyl – making us the biggest for location – however, we still don’t sell as many records as HMV”. Humble pie duly eaten.

Talking of HMV, they are getting in on the coloured vinyl bandwagon again with another ‘vinyl week’ starting on Monday. This consists of getting an exclusive ‘release window’ on vinyl editions of some albums that will be widely available soon (such as Pulp vinyl reissues), and some discounts on general vinyl stock. From 18 June onwards they are also selling some exclusives including the Manic Street PreachersEverything Must Go on blue vinyl and The Clash‘s 1977 eponymous debut on green vinyl.

Tescos are charging £16 each, which isn’t bad, but once you’ve factored in your time –  driving miles to whichever store you can find that stock what you want – petrol money and the pain-in-the-arse factor of buying vinyl from a shop that sells pet food, you have to wonder if it’s worth it. Also, are they going to stock Bat For Lashes? Probably not. Admittedly, it’s a cut above ‘dad’s greatest hits’ when it comes to father’s day, but they are playing it incredibly safe. At least HMV have a history of selling music, and now they’ve got a product they can make some money on, maybe we’ll see more music in-store as we battle our way past blu-ray box sets and games.

Read more about HMV’s vinyl week here. If you know where there is a Tesco with some coloured vinyl stock, when why not leave a comment and help out other SDE readers.


SDE ChartWatch

Paul Simon / new album Stranger to StrangerCongratulations to Paul Simon, whose new album Stranger to Stranger tops the UK album charts this week. I’ve been listening to it all week and it’s a fantastic record. Surprisingly, it’s only his fifth chart-topper. His Ultimate Collection compilation, which also went to number one, rises to number 20 on the physical chart as well. It’s a ‘win-win’ for Mr Simon.

FIRST PICTURES / Let the Record Show: Dexys Do Irish and Country SoulDexys also do very well, with their new album entering the physical chart at number four (no. 10 on the ‘combined’ official albums chart). I’m sure the cheap-as-chips three-disc deluxe that was also available signed from Amazon played it’s part.

Budgie / the MCA Albums 1973-75The Budgie box set, The MCA Albums 1973-75 is a new entry at number 34. It’s a fine set at a great price, but who knew the Welsh hard rockers were so popular? Two of the Pink Floyd vinyl reissues make the top 100 physical sales chart this week: Piper at the Gates of Dawn (no. 59) and A Saucerful of Secrets. When they get around to doing The Dark Side of the Moon and Animals, I think we’ll see higher chart positions.

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39 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 11 June 2016

  1. Darren Briscoe says:

    An excellent article as usual (and a highlight of my Saturdays!). I love the Debs album but must admit to being highly disappointed with he Paul Simon album….same old songs ….or am I just old?

  2. DaveM says:

    Agree about that new Paul Simon album, brilliant.

  3. Simon Taylor says:

    For Tesco’s vinyl your best bet is to phone up their customer service and ask them to check the stock of your local stores. Online you put your postcode in and it’ll tell you the nearest stores. But as mentioned its very random which are stocking. There are 3 huge Tesco’s extras near me and none of them are stocking vinyl! So contacting customer service is the best way. Its frustrating but they are expecting your call and probably fed up with the same enquiries already. For the record i’m after a copy of London Calling but none in the South Herts area. If you arent fussed about a colour vinyl copy of London Calling they are selling new black vinyl for £12.99 in HMV at present.

  4. Rob Iles says:

    Whilst im back in to vinyl after decades off (having to sell all due to space) I welcome these nicities. What I dislike is not being able to get my hands on such, unless I pay 5x on ebay.

    I really want the jam album and the blue manics. What are my odds 0

  5. Carl Noonan says:

    HMV make me laugh. They nearly went under a few years ago and I’d put money on it being because of their prices which were always too high compared with other retailers.
    Forward a few years and I went in the Liverpool 1 branch last week and was dismayed to see the vinyl prices were on average £22 for a single album. They had a box of sale vinyl and even most of those were £16.99. I thought they would have learned their lessons but obviously not. Most of the stuff goes on Amazon for around £14 to £17 if you wait for the Amazon sellers to list.

  6. Dogfacedboy says:

    I wasn’t really aware of the lack of stores doing the vinyl. I wandered in to the Tescos Extra in centre of Slough to pick up some lunch on Friday and saw the vinyl selection. No Jam (well not pink anyway – arf!) but they had one each of Dexys and Clash left plus plenty of Quo.

    I asked at customer services and they said they MIGHT be getting some new stock in before Fathers Day (19th) but they were pretty mystified as to what his strange album thing was really. Which is just as well as hey would otherwise no doubt be snaffling a copy or three to sell Fleabay

    Find the HMV selection a bit dull, nicer to see regular Pulp reissues if I’m honest even thou I already have them.

  7. Daran says:

    I understand black is the cheapest coloured vinyl you can buy… The only thing being it’s not limited edition. The music on it is still the same though :)

  8. Richard Dowling says:

    For the Tesco vinyl besides as mentioned trying to contact customer services maybe everyone that reads this thread can either state which branches they have found or not found the coloured vinyls in question.

  9. Bruce Nicholson says:

    I agree with Carl. I haven’t been in my local HMV- Reading – for about a year and for me there were several things wrong. The music section has dramatically cut down since the last time I went in – a very small range. The CD selection – if that’s your thing, it isn’t mine -was very poor. The floor space is dominated by DVDs now. Second, as Carl says the prices of vinyl were very high. There was a decent selection but way too high price. Though there as an oddity with The Specials first album for £7.99. Thirdly, they did have a vinyl sale but it was exactly how Carl described it. Finally, when I asked a member of staff about the HMV vinyl week they didn’t really know what I was talking about and had to ask a colleague. This probably explains why my visits to HMV are on an annual basis. Basically the music part of the business seems to be getting smaller year on year.

  10. Rik Skyline says:

    Good article on the vinyl revival. It’s not just coloured vinyl though, it’s vinyl in general that’s become oh so trendy once again. Everyone thought this format would die off with the arrival of MP3’s and downloading, but ultimately most serious music lovers do enjoy a physical collection. We are living in the era of the reissue which has been good for me personally. It’s great to get brand new pressings of Suede’s and New Order’s back catalogues on vinyl as some of the original pressings are quite hard to get hold of. I can only hope that Duran Duran will reissue their back catalogue on vinyl as well at some point.

  11. Auntie Sabrina says:

    Surely it would be in Tesco’s interest to let customers know where they can buy these releases, Tesco are wanting people to buy them?

  12. Steve says:

    I had a convo with Tescos on twitter and we eventually discovered that Banbury was my closest store. No sign of the Jam but plenty of the other three – I can pop in on Monday morning if anybody is looking for Clash or Dexys. (If they still have it)

    Dexys was 16- clash was a little more as its a double (18 I think)

  13. Peter Waymont says:

    Tesco in Crawley had the coloured vinyl last week (haven’t been back to see what’s left). It was in the “seasonal goods” aisle for father’s day and not with the entertainment items. Plus you could use the clubcard double up offer on them.

  14. Simon Taylor says:

    When i phoned Tesco in the week the only store i could find in Hertfordshire was Hemel Hempstead Extra, they were getting more coloured vinyl in so worth checking there. There’s also one in Enfield and they do vinyl but thats just stores that stock vinyl, whether they have any is another matter, but to know which stores do stock helps, then from there phone Tesco customer service and they can look in each stores stock and tell you what they have left.

  15. Auntie Sabrina says:

    Pity you can’t order online, you can for almost everything else they sell…

  16. André Mes says:

    Tesco in Andover, Hampshire, has a vinyl selection. There weren’t many left when I last popped in on Wednesday (maybe that’s a good sign) but am sure they would have stocked up again for the prelude to Fathers Day. I must be honest that I did a double take when I saw the display. It was like deja-vu, with a skip of a heartbeat before going ‘ooooh’! and then rushing over to have a better look. Long may it reign! And I hope more contemporary artists can also start releasing their albums on vinyl.

  17. Brian says:

    If the supermarkets sell them then they’re missing a trick. Why no online sales?

  18. Charles Hodgson says:

    A good quality second hand original vinyl beats a modern reussue surely?

    eg, my OG Dexys ‘SFTYSR’ LP comes with the ’rounded edges’ inner sleeve with the “caper” story (crime mob heist parody) and full lyrics (in Kevin’s imimitable style including more words than he actually sings!) and Late Night Feelings labels. How could a reissue possibly compare?

    I’m sure you can still score good quality OG’s of all these records from your local second hand record dealers – and at better prices – if you scour the racks and “endeavour to persevere” (copyright “The Outlaw Josey Wales”)

    And the major labels new how to master and press vinyl (when such knowledge and skills were properly valued) all analogue only – in those halcyon days.

    For new releases / reissues I’ll (mostly) take a well mastered digital CD over a warped / non-fill(ed) vinyl record which is probably manufactured in an Eastern European sweat shop from a digital source anyway.

    • Mike the Fish says:

      Digital delays were used in some 80s vinyl cuts, and I believe some vinyl masters were further down the food chain and derived from those prepared for CD.

  19. Gavin says:

    When I was a nipper back in the day – I used to get a lot of vinyl from Asda when doing the weekly shop with mom , boots was another good source and woolworths was great for deals – so tesco doing vinyl is nothing new really – personally I prefer local independents ( market stalls sellers , specialists) way cheaper and preloaded vinyl often better quality after a clean than the new stuff these days (quality control on new vinyl ain’t what it used to be)

  20. Rare Glam says:

    And doesn’t this all smack of the coloured vinyl craze of the late 1970s? Let’s not forget 45s in the l950s were also initially issued on coloured vinyl as well to canote the differnt music genres each related to (and my Pinky & Perky Fisher Price toy records when I was a nipper in the 60s!!) I guess next they’ll be limited edition novelty ‘shaped’ 45s as well.

    On the low quality of a lot (not all) modern reissue vinyl that Charles makes above, I agree. I’ve had a number of LPs with scuff marks, finger prints etc all over them, even if they make no difference to the play quality, or inappropiate sleeving (Suede’s ‘Bloodpsorts’ anyone?). Mind you don’t forget that in mid 1970s, British vinyl, LPs esepecially suffered from warpage and poor wafer-thin pressings when the OPEC oil crisis was on. So, not just a modern phenomenon.

    It seems indicative of a lack of training or joined up thinking at least that staff at Tescos, let alone a music provider like HMV can be clueless as to what you are talking about when you ask for vinyl in a shop. Someone must have initiated and OK’d the vinyl wheeze at Tescos, do they not inform their stores about this, or is it supposed to part of the marketing that they, let alone us don’t know which store is selling what? Their ineptitude as serenuipity
    might just be a temporary money spinner for them if they control it right. I can see though in a couple of moths time this will all be as if it had never happened as the logistical inquiries from the public become more trouble than they’re worth for Tescos management and they knock it on the head.

    I can see why a Manics, Clash, Dexys, Jam etc fan would want to get the coloured editions, but come on, they’re not going to be the versions you play for pleasure are they? You’re going to mount it on a wall and enjoy the aesthetics of it aren’t you?

    • CJ Feeney says:

      Speaking as someone who did most of my vinyl buying in the late 80’s, modern vinyl is far superior in packaging and weight. 80’s vinyl got very flimsy once the record companies committed to CDs as their main medium.

      I occasionally get vinyl that doesn’t have decent poly inners but this is rare. The main culprit for me is Josh Ritter, whose LPs come covered in bits of paper from the cheap inner sleeves. I noticed in the Marvin Gaye unboxing video that those LPs seemed to have the same issue.

  21. RJSWinchester says:

    I really don’t undertand the purpose of buying an album yet again because the vinyl is colourful. It’s consumerism gone mad! As soon as the vinyl craze is over and more and more people realise that streaming films and box sets is the way forward, HMV will be finished.

    • SimonH says:

      RJS, I think you’re posting on the wrong site:)
      I’m a cd man myself, but if vinyl floats your boat so be it!

      • RJSWinchester says:

        I’m on the right site :) As Rare Glam mentions above, punters will only buy these colour vinyl editions for ornamental purposes or just so that they can store it on their shelves!

        • CJ Feeney says:

          I’m a sucker for well presented vinyl, but this site is also for those whose priority for SDEs is musical content whether it’s old stuff in high res or previously unreleased stuff. I think RJS has a valid opinion.

          • martin farnworth says:

            i don’t understand why someone would display their vinyl simply because it’s coloured? unless maybe its multi coloured or more obviously a picture disc. in that case it’d probably be of inferior sound quality and not worth playing anyway.

  22. RJSWinchester says:

    “but they are playing it incredibly safe”

    They’re supermarkets whose only interest is making money. Why would you expect them to sell anything other than mainstream LPs?!

  23. Rob says:

    I work at the Grimsby Extra store, which is not a large store, but we had all of these vinyls for sale, so anybody wanting them should check all their local Tescos, large or small.

  24. Mr. Ska '57 says:

    I can’t believe my UK pals have to pay such outrageous prices for music. The 16.99 – 22.00 GBP rates are approximately $24 – $31 US. Average single LP prices here are $15 – $25 (some doubles can go for “only” $25 but are more like $40). From what I’ve read, UK Amazon orders also get hammered with VAT and customs fees that can double the price of the item. I almost bought Disraeli Gears at Barnes & Noble ($17 US) but found an unplayed, still-in-shrink US RSO 70s issue for $1 at the Thrifty Shopper!

  25. colin says:

    Its not the first time supermarkets/warehouse have sold vinyl. I worked at Makro in the early 90s and they sold it then. Im now at a Tesco and do not know about any stores near me that are selling vinyl this time round!

  26. Simon says:

    As another poster wrote above, they’re in the Father’s Day aisle rather than with the general DVDs/CDs. While frustrating, I can understand why staff would say they don’t sell vinyl as these albums are just a very small part of the seasonal offer for Father’s Day. I had to give the aisle a thorough search to find them!

    My local Tesco in Gateshead (a large store) appears to have had a couple of copies of each of the albums mentioned. The Jam and Clash coloured vinyl have been sold out since last week when the story broke, although two copies each of Parklife, Purple Reign and Dexys are still languishing on the shelf.

    Apart from the buzz created by the media reporting on fans of The Jam driving for miles to pick up a copy of Sound Affects (there’s a typo in your story, Paul), I wonder whether the whole idea has had a lukewarm reaction from customers.

  27. Andy Vizor says:

    Afternoon Paul, Tesco Crawley have Dexys & Quo. In addition they have Bowie on clear & normal Blur Parklife, Prince & Paul Simon – they tell no more Jam, Clash – all sold out across the company

  28. Andy Vizor says:

    Me again! Happened to be passing Purley Extra this afternoon.
    A few Dexys, a lot of Quo (doesn’t seem to shift), a few Bowies (all been opened to check colour – as they were still there, I’m assuming they were black, I didn’t check, didn’t even go near em, cause I did want to be spoken to by security haha)
    Cheees

    • colin says:

      Same kind of stock at Altrincham Extra – a few Dexys and lots of Quo. A few Paul Simon and Blur too! Pisses me off when people open them to see if they are clear or black vinyl. Very selfish for those who want one sealed but don’t mind what colour they are. i hope security catch you doing it whoever you are out there! The vinyls I have seen at one Tesco had ‘spider’ tags on them to stop this. Sadly tho this seemed put a ‘dent’ in the spine of the sleeve on each side where the tag touches the sleeve! Another store didnt have any tags on at all.

  29. colin says:

    FYI if you have clubcard vouchers you can double them up and use them against your vinyl purchases! WIN WIN!

  30. Martin says:

    Managed to grab Dexys, Quo and the Clash so happy. The guy on the counter me why everyone was after TTY he Jam and someone picked up 2x copies and brazenly told him they were going straight on eBay – Which is why I hate but love these types of things. Against my better judgement will try HMV on Saturday.

    For anyone interested Tesco at Low Grange Farm in Midflesbrough have copies of Quo, Dexys and 2x copies of the Clash. Also some Prince, blur and Bowie

  31. vinyllover says:

    why the rush for these re-issues of commonly available albums ?
    not only are most at outrageous prices but they will also most likely sound inferior to an original pressing.

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