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Photo of the Day: Uptown Records, Shanghai

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In celebration of International Record Store Day, which falls on April 21 this year, our photo theme this week is Record Shopping in China. Though vinyl culture never quite caught on China in quite the same way as it did in other parts of the world, it’s on the rise. This week we’ll put the spotlight on some of the best shops in China to pick up new tunes.

Uptown Records has been operating down in a Shanghai basement since 2011, putting an emphasis on independent music — you can pick up some Steely Dan and Eagles albums here sure, but there’s also a strong selection of records from Chinese bands and plenty of funk, soul, hip hop, rock, and old-school psychedelic Cantopop gems to be dug out as well.

Founded by former San Francisco resident and community radio operator DJ Sacco and his Shanghainese wife Sophia Wang, long a key figure on Shanghai’s music scene, the shop is a magnet for vinyl collectors across the country and beyond — on our visit to take the above photo we bumped into renowned Beirut-based collector Ernesto Chahoud and Ninja Tune-signed producer JJ Whitefield digging through.

Uptown is Shanghai’s premier record shop, but not it’s only one. The same owners also run Uptown Records ‘n’ Beer on Yongfu Lu, which as the name suggests combines an edit of vinyl records for the more casual buyer along with a range of bottled craft beers, a formula that (together with pretty cheap prices) makes it a popular hang out for the city’s arts crowd.

Over on Dagu Lu, near People’s Square, meanwhile is a record shop, lounge, mini-studio, and Airbnb all-in-one from Daily Vinyl, who put on regular club nights and work with Uptown to produce a monthly print newsletter focused on underground music. You can read a little more about DV House and watch American producer Count Bass D performing in the space here:

Voices from Inside Shanghai’s DIY Music Scene

Together, Daily Vinyl and Uptown are behind much of Shanghai’s vinyl-related events, organizing regular markets — including a Record Store Day special this weekend.

While these are the two main record shopping options in Shanghai for now, more vinyl stores are starting to pop up across the city. Uptown and Daily Vinyl have even produced a hand-drawn map pointing collectors to other stores around town — you can pick one up at either Uptown location or at DV House.

Four more record shops from Shanghai — The Melting Pot, Vinyl Villa, Deer Music, and Sky Music — and one from Wuhan (Sense Records) will join Uptown and Daily Vinyl on Saturday for what they’re calling the “biggest Record Store Day market in China.”

Uptown Records

Basement, No 115, Pingwu Lu, Changning District, Shanghai

上海, 长宁区平武路115号地下室,靠近幸福路

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Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for publications such as South China Morning Post and the Financial Times.

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