33/45 Records strikes a chord with music lovers
Updated: Jan 23
Record-breaking vinyl sales help make independent music store a massive hit...
Despite launching mid-pandemic, business has been booming for an Irish vinyl retailer. 33/45 Records started out exclusively online but its unprecedented success led to a bricks and mortar store opening in Mullingar on 10th October 2020. The shop has had a sensational first year with sales exceeding the expectations of owner Keith Marshall.
"Our opening day was phenomenal. We reached our target for the entire week in that first day alone and the support from customers and other local businesses was overwhelming. This continued throughout the year, despite all the challenges and closures due to Covid restrictions," says Keith. "The buzz of a live performance is something that my customers have really missed over the last 18 months, especially as most of them would have been regular gig-goers. To compensate, they've been expanding their vinyl collection and enjoying the next best thing."
Vinyl sales outsold CDs for the first time since the 1980s in 2020. By June 2021, vinyl sales were already up by 94% on last year! Irish vinyl sales soared from half a million in 2014 to approximately five million in 2019. The demand for vinyl on this island is now so strong, there’s even an Irish record manufacturer; Dublin Vinyl opened in Glasnevin in 2017. This revival is remarkable, considering the format was abandoned by record labels in the late 1980s when CDs became popular.
"Vinyl isn't exactly making a comeback because it never really went away," says Keith. "The difference is that for the first time since the 1980s, it's no longer only the collectors and DJs who appreciate it. Vinyl is attracting a new, younger demographic, as well as winning back older fans. It’s massive with the under 30s, and there’s no nostalgia value for them as they didn’t grow up listening to it. Vinyl sounds totally different to digital music; it’s far richer, with lots of character. Records don’t sound mass-produced; they’re more personal. That’s what people want now and why vinyl is finally getting the admiration and wide audience it deserves.”
A Sligo native who lived in Dublin before settling in Mullingar, Keith has been in the industry for over twenty years, since his first role with HMV on Henry Street in 1998. Keith worked in Virgin Records, Tower Records and Music City, and returned to HMV, before managing various branches of Golden Discs for several years.
33/45 Records began as a series of pop-up shops at events Keith organised in Galway and Dublin in 2019. After being furloughed due to Covid-19 restrictions in March, Keith set up 3345records.com and started selling records online.
“With the increasing popularity of vinyl, my own love of the format, and the success of the website, it seemed like the right time to go for it and open my own store,” says Keith. “I’ve been a vinyl lover since my early teens and have always collected records, even when it was considerably harder to come by, as retail outlets began to close. As a DJ, I was completely hooked on the format.”
DJing since 2000, Keith has played all over Ireland and is a regular at festivals like Electric Picnic and Sea Sessions. A passion for music runs in the family; Keith’s brother Ken opened his own store, Sleeve Notes Records, in London’s Richmond Hill in February 2019. It’s important to Keith that 33/45 Records be as inclusive as possible and his mission is to cater for all tastes and knowledge levels. Serving great coffee as well as tunes, the shop has become a hub for local musicians as well as vinyl enthusiasts. Located at 38 Mount Street, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, 33/45 Records can also be found online at 3345Records.com for orders and enquiries.
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