KOPS Records, in partnership with NXNE, decided to re-write the rules at last weeks NXNE Record Show. Presented in a ballroom at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Toronto, vinyl-buying patrons lined up early in hopes to grab a scarce gem before the selection was picked over. Like other record fairs, dozens of vendors from across Canada were selling top-notch vinyl at discount prices. KOPS even had dozens of boxes of records starting at a dollar.
I’m a record enthusiast. I love arguing on the merits of sound quality and the longevity of vinyl. The ‘Kops History of Recorded Music’ was perfect for anyone who doesn’t know the various music formats the industry has adopted over the years. It demonstrated that knowing the history of vinyl is vital for the preservation of the hobby.
What fascinated many customers, was the numerous media forms that predated the vinyl record. Vinyl, which refers to the compound that it is made of, did not become popular until the early 1950’s. Before the 50’s, the material that music was made on was brittle. Early incarnations of records included bits of clay, making the discs hard to preserve, let alone hide from regular wear and tear. Even before this, Thomas Edison invented a phonograph that played cylinders. Edison cylinders rotate much like the mechanism in a music box. In all of my years of collecting, this was the third cylinder I had seen.
Looks like I wasn't the only one interested in the cylinder!
The station also showcased how vinyl evolved, to reel-to-reel, to 8-track, to cassette… The various forms in which you can listen to music on proves to be endless.
Beyond the obvious format trends, this display also presented a ‘hip pocket’ player, which resembled the Walkman. Who would have thought that portable music has been around for close to 60 years?
KOPS did a great job of including record labels and shops that usually do not travel the record show circuit. Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, a label specializing in ‘audiophile quality’ records, brought a slew of pristine jazz and progressive rock reissues. Though not everyone can afford a $50 record, its important for those new to the hobby to recognize that not all albums are pressed equally. An album pressed using ‘half-speed mastering’ is costly- though its results are noticeable on a proper sound system. Bay Bloor Radio was present, handing out fliers on their monthly turntable clinic, as was as selling entry-level turntables and cleaning products.
As a regular at every record show within 100 KM’s of Toronto, I can say with confidence that this show attracted a different clientele. After speaking with a few vendors, they were shocked to see many new faces in the room. Though they aren’t all leaving with the quantity of albums that a seasoned collector would, introducing a new buyer to an event like this is critical for the future of the hobby.
Perhaps all of the NXNE show goers were burnt from the night before, as this show didn’t seem as well attended as the other major shows in town. Good things take time. Hopefully next years record-buying population takes advantage of the only record show in town whose focus is more than selling records.
KOP's Manager Nick McLarnon
DJ'ed by Evolved Entertainment