Vinyl records are finding a wider audience during lockdown: here's where to buy them in Prague

The pandemic may have curtailed concert going but many Czech-based music fans are returning to old-school vinyl and radio to fill the gap.

Tom Lane

Written by Tom Lane
Published on 23.03.2021 12:20 (updated on 23.03.2021)

The sale of vinyl records has skyrocketed in recent years, a revival in a way of listening to music that many people thought was on the way out. Despite the rise of digital downloads and streaming services, records remain a popular choice for enthusiasts who say music just sounds better on vinyl.

The pandemic has had a hand in the growing interest in records and turntables. The UK, for example, is on course to have the best vinyl record sales in three decades as many music lovers, unable to attend concerts over the past year, turn to different ways of enjoying their favorite artists.

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While the jump in vinyl records comeback is global, it has a special place in the Czech Republic. The world's largest producer of vinyl records based in Loděnice, just outside Prague. GZ pressed its first vinyl record in 1951 and since then has made records for a number of luminaries including Lady Gaga. In a recent interview with Reuters, the company reported having a "record year" with an 11 percent jump in sales to CZK 4 billion in 2020.

Jana Kománková a DJ at Radio 1 and editor of the website Proti Sedi might know why. She says that while she sold her decks (complete with 90s stickers) to Prague's Pop Museum over 20 years ago, the lockdown has reignited her passion for collecting.

"A few months ago, I got a pair of speakers, an amplifier, and a record player, and now spend everything I make at the radio station on vinyl," she said. "I have been building my collection from the bottom up so I mostly got things that I love and are not really hard to find."

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For those who are interested in starting a collection or adding to their current one she says there's no time like the present to shop for vinyl in Prague.

"Many musicians are releasing good things now, often homemade cover albums and such, that is truly something made from the heart that is fragile and beautiful." She also points to one interesting new platter-specific project that arose out of lockdown.

"I recently discovered this kit for making vinyl at home, Phonocut, by an Austrian company with headquarters in Vienna and am have been thinking of purchasing it and offering to make them for people."

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While she stopped DJing from vinyl decades ago Kománková explains why she and other audiophiles retain their love of the lo-fi experience.

"I got new speakers and when I first played my old copy of Screamadelica I brought from England in '94, I heard things I was not aware of! I must have listened to that thing 500 times before."

Kománková has made a list of record shops (scroll to the bottom of this article) that are currently operating in Prague, many with e-shops and/or pick-up windows. She says before setting out to buy equipment it's best to "get advice from people who know about things like ohms, watts, and wires."

As Czech venues remain closed and access to live music and DJs limited for the unforeseeable future, it seems that people haven't just turned to vinyl as an alternative form of entertainment during the coronavirus pandemic. Kománková believes more people are listening to the radio.

"There is more feedback because people are stuck at home, often in a bad mood, and the radio is something nice for them. We have got more listeners than ever when I look at stats from play.cz, and I have a bit more time too, so I prepare my shows more in advance and spend more time searching for gems.

She continues, "The audience has been kind to me during the lockdown and I feel privileged to be able to continue to share great music.

Where to buy vinyl records online in the Czech Republic

See the entire list and a more in-depth description of vinyl record stores in Prague and the Czech Republic (in English) on the Proti Sedi website.

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