By Wilfred Pilo
KUCHING, May 13: Music lovers who grew up in the 70s, early 80s, or earlier will remember phonograph records.
Also known as a gramophone record or a vinyl record, this analogue sound storage medium for music has slowly disappeared over the years. In the late 80s and 90s, most music lovers moved on to cassette tapes (analogue magnetic tape) and compact discs. These days, it’s all about digital technology.
However, vinyl records remain popular in Europe and the United States. One website, Statista, has indicated a surge in vinyl record sales since 2009, and Technavio revealed that the vinyl record market in Europe is poised to grow by $96.68 million in 2021-2025.
After doing some research, I was ecstatic to find out about a music store here in the city that sells records.
As I drove to the music store in the city, the music of yesteryears buzzed in my head, and I could not wait to touch and feel the vinyl record in my hands.
The reality set in as this writer met Hubert Ron Ragam and Max Biondi, two of the three co-partners and owners of Bandat Record Store. The third co-partner is Jeremy Batin.
“We have more than 500 song titles and music pieces from solo singers to music groups from various music genres,” he told the writer at their record store at Carpenter Street.
“The record store just opened, and we hope to sell more records from various artists in the future. However, it is still early and not many people know about us yet,” he added.
Working full time with a government-linked agency, Max said that he is also a musician, and in his free time, he plays a local gig scene in the city.
“While studying in Peninsular Malaysia, I saw music stores selling vinyl records, and it gave me the idea to take a risk and open a record store with my childhood friend,” he said.
Max explained that many music enthusiasts want to get a vinyl record these days because people appreciate the music more if they can ‘feel’ it.
“People like to own their music in a tangible form. So instead of downloading, it is nice to feel and play the songs on the turntable.
“Of course, it is a matter of preference in how you want to play your songs, but the trend is slowly changing, and vinyl records are getting popular.
“Music lovers want to be able to play their vinyl records on a turntable tucked somewhere in their house,” he said.
Max said many music lovers are inquiring about their record store and asked for the location.
“I am happy that people can come over to listen to the music here at my record store. I am pleased that they can appreciate songs played on records.
“If they want, they can share their songs and collection with others,” he said, adding that he doesn’t mind people coming over to their store and sharing their interest in music and making friends.
“My record store can be a ‘bridge’ to know music and its many genres,” he added.
Max’s co-partner Hubert Ron Ragam chipped in and said he preferred vinyl records compared to other forms of music storage.
“Like Max, I thought of this idea of a record store here in Kuching as we don’t have one here, and got in touch with our suppliers in Kuala Lumpur,” he further added.
Hubert said he preferred analogue sound as he found it is more soothing.
“Being a musician myself, I admit that music in the form of vinyl records is much better.
“With vinyl records, we have more choices, and I think it is a great idea. Not everything is at a touch of a button. I love playing records on a turntable,” he said.
Hubert is confident that there is a market for vinyl records in Kuching as more people want to own a turntable to listen to their music.
“When people have things in tangible form and this case, their favourite songs, I believe the value of that particular music to that person increases. That is the beauty of vinyl records,” he shared.
Those interested may call Hubert at 016-882 4418 or Max at 011-265 9025. — DayakDaily