Where to buy vinyl records in Dubai
Starting or growing a vinyl record collection is not an easy thing to do in the UAE. Despite the country's growing colonies of music-savvy hipsters, the process of flipping through old crates of vintage vinyl is not really part of the country's full-on commitment to bigger and better consumerism. If you are still keen to deep dive into the world of record collecting here in the Gulf, long-time Dubai resident and keen disc-spinner Paul Walsh explains that there is a way, but it lies mainly online:
1. Use Amazon
I’ve collected thousands of records over two decades living in Dubai. Originally I’d mail-order from places I’d find in the classifieds of indie magazines like The Wire. Now it’s much easier. I buy the more mainstream stuff from Amazon.com, which kills me because I’d prefer to use an independent retailer, but for my MoR/general-indie releases this is the most cost-effective option.
2. On the Flipside
Flipside DXB opened at the end of last month in Dubai's Al Serkal Avenue. The independent shop promises to be “a musical hub and space for musicians and artists in the city”, stocking a wide range of genres.
Desertcart.ae also has a selection of new vinyl. The first page of results when we checked included everything from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, to the new Harry Styles album.
4. Dig a little deeper
Boomkat.com is where I go to find stuff I really like, as well as new experimental and unusual sounds. It’s a great little independent that started in Afflecks alternative department store in Manchester and moved to mail-order only. It sells a real eclectic mix of dub, house, experimental electronica, noise, drone… you get the picture. I’d say almost half of my purchases come from here.
While this ultra-trendy Brick Lane record label and store is now a staple visit for music-savvy visitors to London, you can’t appreciate punk, post-punk and indie without understanding the role that Rough Trade had — and still has — on music. It’s worth checking out their recommendations, and their subscription Vinyl Club service is interesting, where you get a record and magazine every month.
5. Use Apps for research
I shop at Discogs.com for hard-to-find-collectables. And any serious collector should have the app.
I find myself increasingly drawn to crowd-funded releases or direct-to-artist initiatives. One recent example is British Sea Power’s last album, which was funded completely by pledges.