In the one hand, the music industry is changing its borders/shell through technological developments, in terms of both production and sound, it is evolving and transforming. On the other hand, the gramophone records have regained their popularity.
Despite all the technological advances, gramophone records, with their unique glory in every age, are rising against the tapes, CDs and several digital music platforms.
Gramophone records walking into our lives in 1800’s have become popular again. So much so that, in recent years, singers are more into gramophone records and digital platforms instead of CD recordings. The most important reason for not being removed from the market even if it loses popularity is that it gives the best sound quality. As it is always stated; "Once you listen to the phonograph record you’ll be addicted.”
“The new lease of gramophone records (the second peak time of gramophone records) coincided with the biggest crisis of the music industry”
Murat Beşer, a maestro, claims that this growing popularity has another reason beyond nostalgia: The young blood getting newly acquainted with the phonograph records treats such equipments as a nostalgic legacy of their ancestors (dads’ and granddads’) Such a music listening style nostalgically arouse their interest and gets them to a totally different environment (World). Giving the opportunity to live the nostalgic cultural ambiance, gramophone records will help the new generation understand the 70’s and 80’s fever.
However, this is not the real reason of rising interest towards the gramophone records. The new lease of gramophone records (the second peak time of gramophone records) coincided with the biggest crisis of the music industry. This product has become invaluable in the face of compressed digital bitrates, like the stock value of the company that rises in the stock market. The record companies in the middle of nowhere thought it was a good potential to make money, but it seems that a drowning man will clutch at a straw. The records were re-raced for the needs of the music market.
The Best Gramophone Options
Stating that the gramophone is also important for a proper listening pleasure, Beşer warns about the new generation of cheesy gramophones that do not have analogue capability: "These digital input-output devices do not work beyond decorative use. Those interested in gramophones, had better either find a second-hand dealer to buy one, or use a gramophone that needs fixing in the home of your relatives.”
If you want to get pleasure from gramophone, it's good to pay attention to the newly released records, Beşler says. In particular, detailed reviews should be done on the albums that have already appeared on CD and now have been released for the first time. "But the warmth and depth of the sound in such a record can be heard in the proper gramophone in the real analogue system," says Beşer.
Best Gramophone Stores in Istanbul
Now, with all this information, what about exploring gramophones first and then navigating through the best gramophone stores in the city? Let’s explore the shops where you can access the old and new records from the world and Turkey.
Outro Music Store
Bahadır Dilbaz, the music director of Karga, Dunia's operator Üzeyir Yasa and Dunia's other manager and independent music initiator Music Animal's founder Eray Düzgünsoy share their music knowledge for nearly a year in the Outro Music Store.
These three, who has been acquainting the store with the music taste they have had over the years, have begun to release albums. It is possible to find both second-hand and new brand records in Outro. You can find many options ranging from the most extreme examples of electronic music to rare records of traditional music. On top of it, you may also find funk, soul, rock, soundtrack, experimental, jazz, classic, fusion ... Besides, CD and cassette format albums are also available. Also, you can get almost all of the albums released independently of Turkey. At Outro, record prices start from 20 TL and can go up to 800 TL. The average price is between 100-150 TL.
Caferağa Mahallesi, Mühürdar Karakolu Sok. No: 10 Kadıköy
Leaving behind 15 years of corporate life, Okan Aydın who set up Kontra Plak in 2012, moves on with the DJ performances and his music reviews with the nickname “fasitdaire”.
Kontra Plak is a record shop that welcomes all kinds. Their policy is leaning especially towards the non-mainstream work and the ones that are released by the companies the origins of which are not in Turkey. They are not very willing to add every record they get to their stockpile just because pretending as if they abounded in records. They have such a motto: "We have the records found everywhere, but not much; we have also a bit of a records found in no other place. "
There is a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere for people stepping in Kontra Plak. It's a clean and tidy shop where every record is labeled and categorized accordingly. Kontra Plak is not just a record shop, it is actually a fun place for activities such as Record Store Day, Music Listening Room, children's workshops along with the other various workshops. Record prices are between 30-60 TL for second-hand ones, and 60-100 TL for the brand-new ones.
Tomtom Mahallesi, Yeni Çarşı Cad, Next to Galatasaray Lisesi Yanı 60 / A Beyoğlu
Kubilay Sarıkaya, a graduate of Istanbul Bilgi University Music Department, has been collecting records since his childhood. Sarikaya began to sell records in Feriköy market. After he met Yaprak Aras and they opened up Pantheon inside Souq.
Karaköy's first record label, Pantheon Records, has a music description: an idea-shaped vibration. So, they welcome all kinds of music and include surprise records from each category. It could be either a new local album or an Italian punk music band records released in 70s.
Sarıkaya says that the reason why the gramophones records do not lose their popularity is the sense and experience people get from these records while listening to them. At Pantheon Records, record prices start at 20 TL and can go up to 1500TL. But, the average is around 50-60-70 TL.
Souq Dükkan, Kanyon 2. Kat, Levent
Zihni Music, one of the oldest and most popular stores in the record world, has been in Kadıköy-Akmar Passageway for 25 years. Zihni Music Store the owner of which is Zihni Şahin is mostly interested in the albums such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Queen. Zihni Music has a store as well as a shop. You can find any kind of record in the shop, which has also a busy sale on the internet. It is possible to make various discoveries about the 70's in the shop where particularly local records are popular. Record prices range from 50 to 150. Of course, the prices of rare ones are slightly higher.
Caferağa Mah., Mühürdar Cad., Akmar Pasajı No: 62/13 Kadıköy
At Çukurcuma's record shop Deform Music, it is possible to find records of reggae, rock, electronic, jazz, funk and classical music genres. In addition to the second-hand options you can also access to the local names from Turkey. You can get your broken or damaged gramophones repaired in Deform. The prices of the records categorized by genres start from 50 TL.
Turnacıbaşı Cad., No: 45 Çukurcuma
Jammin’s Vinyl Records and Cafe
Jammin's Vinyl Records and Cafe, located in Bomonti, offers coffee as well as domestic and foreign recordings. You can also find music accessories and record alternatives in the shop where you can discover good music and coffee at the same time. The store, which has been open since 2014, though foreign music of 1970s and '80s constitutes the majority, you can also find the local ones. There are also sales on the internet.
Sıracevizler Cad., No: 92B Şişli
Analog Kültür in Galata is beyond a record store. As soon as you step in the store, it is possible to get lost in different fields of music, ranging from vintage musical instruments to sound studios. Analog Kültür, the founder of which is DJ Kaan Düzarat, has a local album archive apart from his own album archive. Record prices start at 50 TL in the shop which is also assertive about the electronic albums recently released.
Şahkulu Mah. Serdar-ı Ekrem Cad. Seraskerci Çıkmazı 4 / A Beyoğlu
Opus 3a opened in May 2010, mainly in jazz, classical music, world music, soundtracks and Turkey from foreign pop / rock's varieties. Especially it is possible to find out the whole of the new released Turkish records. In addition to the variety of records, CD, concert DVD, books and films are also offered at the store.
In Opus 3a, record prices start at 45TL, up to 250TL in single records. The price is between 200 and 2,000 TL for multiple records and sets.
Pürtelaş Hasan Efendi Mahallesi, Cihangir Cad. 3a, Beyoğlu