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Bologna, is a desire for vinyl: so the record shops come back to life

Bologna, is a desire for vinyl: so the record shops come back to life
Bologna, is a desire for vinyl: so the record shops come back to life

The wind of the pandemic was also felt in record stores. Those businesses that have been trying to survive the decline in sales, e-commerce sites and streaming for years. A difficult period that the owners of some Bolognese stores tell us, while the scratched music of the Clash returns to echo. Pleasant surprises and the will to overcome this period as well.


“Obviously it was a very hard period, – says Emanuele Gambardella – but by now we have turned 17 and our customers, whom I never tire of thanking, have always followed us and allow us to survive”. Discobolandia is a shop that offers used and new and among the most successful titles in recent months is the reissue of Mack Porter “Peace on you”, a very rare record from 1972 with a fantastic cover and Paul Rodgers’ tribute to Muddy Waters with the collaboration of many artists. In fact, it is vinyl that reigns supreme in the store to the detriment of the compact disc, now towards the avenue of sunset. Mail order sales from Discobolandia have existed for some time, as Gambardella confirms: “We have had a website of our shop for about 12 years (, which allows us to work well, and in this period we also helped ourselves with a page of sales on Discogs ». After the closing of the last period, the time has come for the reopening: «We will certainly take a photo of the first customer with the record he will buy and who knows if there will be a surprise waiting for him. However, I would like to thank all those who supported us in this very complicated period and would like to congratulate all the independent vinyl shops in Bologna (Disco D’oro, Semm, Dj Paradise, etc.) and all the “drug dealers” of records in the world! ».

Gold Record

The Golden Disc has existed since the dawn of time and managed to survive even when everyone closed, not only in the city but in the country. Achille Franceschi has always been the arm and mind behind the counter. «Seventy days of closure in the first wave and forty-five in the second are no small things. The positive thing was that in the period in which we remained open despite the restrictions and the lack of tourism, which for us has become an important slice of turnover over time, we worked with numbers albeit slightly higher than 2019 “. In the shop you can find news, reissues, used and extricate yourself from this babel of titles, to find out which album went the most, it is not an easy task: “A title from this last period that has depopulated, running out in a week, between online and bookings in store, or through our social networks, is “Promises” by Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders ”». Franceschi also confirms that the best-selling medium is vinyl, a piece of plastic so old that it is the most modern of all. With a business based almost exclusively on the physical store, the Disco D’Oro wants to catch up also on the web: «We are not very strong in mail order sales, an aspect that is growing anyway. In fact, we are gearing up to improve the online service which currently accounts for 20% of the total turnover “

Semm Music Store

From the windows of Semm Music Store there is a wide spectrum of musical choice, along with gadgets and merchandise. Monia Piazzi and Gianmarco Silvi are the owners of this musical paradise. “It has been a very complex twelve months, which caught us unprepared to face a similar situation with the right tools; there have been losses, but we expected a much more serious scenario. Instead, we went back to work and, despite the lack of tourism, which saw us as one of the reference places for shopping, our turnover did not suffer any losses. In these twelve years we have worked with incredible commitment and great passion to offer our customers a high level of preparation, competence and research “. Also from Semm there are the titles that have depopulated more than others, among the Italians Venerus, Madame and Samuele Bersani, while among the foreigners Lianne La Havas, Black Pumas, AC / DC, Bruce Springsteen, Nick Cave, Matt Berninger, Aaron Frazer and Arlo Parks. At Semm the gap between vinyl and cd is not yet so clear: “We treat both media in terms of thousands of titles and, even if vinyl is undoubtedly growing strongly, we still continue to sell many CDs”. Pure Semm is expanding on the mail order side: “E-commerce is in progress and will go online in May. In the meantime we worked on Discogs, with orders by mail and telephone “.

First customers
First customers

Transformer is the youngest store in this roundup. With a name borrowed from an album by Lou Reed, the owner Fabio Canducci recounts these hard months: «It was not and it is not an easy period, between lockdowns and fits and starts. However, we have strengthened our online sales channels (e-commerce, Discogs and Ebay) and in the opening months the most loyal and new customers (especially young ones) returned to frequent the store. Furthermore, during the two lockdowns we organized ourselves with home deliveries throughout Bologna ». From Transformer, new titles are placed side by side with second-hand or music books but also among its walls are the most successful records: «The titles that have depopulated the most this year are:“ Dogrel ”by Fontaines DC; The Strokes’ “The New Abnormal”; “Medicine at nightmare” by Foo Fighters and “The future Bites” by Steven Wilson ». Here, however, vinyl wins hands down: «We have sold many more vinyls than in previous years. Both new and used CDs are mostly bought by an older audience. Vinyl continues to attract more and more collectors who choose it as the best format for listening to music. I was surprised by the increasing number of young people who are approaching the world of vinyl, discovering the music of yesterday and today ».

The shops have reopened. Even those of records. Music can still be touched by hand. It seems like a small thing but it is not. Believe it.

May 7, 2021 (change May 7, 2021 | 07:54 am)



Bologna desire vinyl record shops life

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