The Oldest Record Shop that Lives

The Oldest Record Shop that Lives-By Courtney Kellogg

For me and millions of others, music speaks volumes. It is an outlet for people to use their creative juices stored up inside them. It is a way of telling one’s story and expressing their feelings. It is a way for people to come together and create. It is something that can be shared all across the world. Even if there are language barriers, music tends to find a way to bring people together no matter what. No wonder that music is known as the “universal language”. That is what makes music so incredibly special; the fact that it can be played and distributed everywhere.

Lucky for me, music has been all over on this trip. We have passed musicians and singers busking in the tube station before we headed to our next destination. We also found musicians on the side of the street in the city center hoping to share their music. In Cardiff, we saw bands in bars playing covers and their own songs for people to hear. Ireland has been filled with musicians in pubs playing traditional Irish music while visitors dance and clap to the beat. The way these musicians are displaying their music is an excellent way to distribute and get their music out to a lot of people at one time. We are only half way through the trip, and I am so excited to see what the rest of the places we are going to have to offer.

When I also think about distributing music, I think of ways to make your music heard digitally. The Spotify app is a great example with how artists can get their music out to others. In the app, people can pick and choose what songs they want to listen to. All of an artist’s music can be found on the app making it easier for their audiences to listen. Another way is through the website, Youtube. In Youtube, an artist can upload covers of songs or even their original songwriting for people to watch and listen. Youtube gives a visual representation for listeners due to the fact that Youtube works with videos. An artist can show their musical talent by playing guitar, piano, bass, etc. by filming themselves and uploading it to their channel. On an artist’s channel, listeners can be alerted when a new video is posted to their wall.

Hard copies of music are also an excellent way to distribute music. CDs and vinyls are what come to mind when I think of hard copies. There are a number of stores in the world that distribute these items!

One key example of this type of store is a record shop. One that stood out to me was a record store located in in Cardiff, Wales. Spillers Record Store is the oldest record store in the world. This year it celebrates it’s 124th birthday! It made me so happy to walk into a store that had been distributing music to others for so long. You know that the store had been doing well for how long it has been open!

Spillers Records (Courtney Kellogg) 
Front of Spillers Record Store (Courtney Kellogg)
A selection of CDs (Courtney Kellogg)

Spillers Record Store is located in the Morgan Arcade  in Cardiff. An arcade is a small area inside a building that includes small stores and boutiques. There were so many in Cardiff where you are able to shop and explore. They were almost like hidden treasures when you walked in!

Entrance to Arcade (Courtney Kellogg)
Ceiling of Arcade (Courtney Kellogg)

On the outside of the shop, concert and album posters were displayed. A list of new releases of CDs and vinyls that the store had received were posted in the store window.   It was a friendly atmosphere with CDs, vinyls, and more that were on display. They had every genre from rock to jazz, hip hop to alternative. The vinyls and CDs were carefully alphabetized by music artist. With music playing in the background, it was a place where I felt like I could stay forever and wander throughout the store. New bands and local musicians displayed their new music on shelves. Concert and venue cards were also advertised for customers to grab. It was a lively store that felt very welcoming.

List of new releases in window of store (Courtney Kellogg)

The store also had an upstairs. This area of the store was an area for bands to come and play. It was a small area, but big enough where people would be able to come in and listen. The area felt intimate and personal. On the walls of the upstairs hung information about the history of the store and where it all began showing how music has impacted the people that come and visit the store.

Upstairs in Spillers Record Store (Courtney Kellogg)
History of Spillers Records (Courtney Kellogg) 

All in all, there is a sense of passion for live music in the places we have been to so far. It seems that there is something about going out with friends, grabbing something to drink, and sitting down and listening to music. Audience engagement like clapping and singing along, is a tactic that most live performers seem to use in bars. I found that it makes the experience more exciting when the musician wants us to join them. I think it also helps them receive more tips! Some people might think that flashy lights and high tech instruments is the best way to display yourself when performing live. I believe that it takes away the intimacy that the musician can give off. There is no need for all of these extra flares to a show. Simply giving it your all when it comes to performing, seems more important to me.

Due to the fact that I love music, I thought I’d end this blog with a couple of my favorite albums. My music taste is so all over the map and I love that I’m able to really listen to everything! (Just not heavy rock and your typical EDM). There’s so many albums that I love, so I’ll only pick a couple.

  1. “Landmark” by Hippocampus
  2. “Ella and Louis” by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
  3. “Freudian” By Daniel Caesar




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