The CD is dead... long live vinyl?
As digital downloads and plunging CD sales lead to the demise of yet another big music chain in Singapore, boutique stores specialising in vinyl records have been opening and thriving.
Music chain Gramophone closed its last store at The Cathay for good in September, after 22 years of business and as many as nine stores four years ago.
HMV shuttered its four-year-old, 12,000 sq ft flagship store in Somerset on Tuesday, leaving only its smaller store in Marina Square.
Yet, three new boutique music stores have opened in the last year: House Of Turntables in Plaza Singapura, Vinylicious Records in Parklane Shopping Mall and Hear Records in Burlington Square.
And business has been good, report the owners - thanks to a revival of interest in the old-school vinyl format.
At Vinylicious, which opened in December last year, sales have been increasing by between 20 and 30 per cent a month since the start of its operations, says its owner Eugene Ow, 41. These days, he adds, the store sells an average of 1,500 records - both new and used ones - a month.
Unlike digitised music, he says, a vinyl record is far more tangible. "There are many senses at work. When you take a vinyl out of its cover, you smell its distinctive scent, then you touch the grooves and finally you put it on the turntable and hear and feel the music coming out of the speakers."
House Of Turntables sells about 200 records a month. Hear Records declines to reveal figures.
Mr Nick Tan, 42, founder of Hear Records, says that while the scene is small, it is vibrant. His store opened in March.
He says: "People don't just come to the store to buy records. They meet other music fans as well and we all end up talking about music."