Salvadiscos - a place for sharing a love of music
The vinyl revival has taken over Barcelona, but there’s much more behind it than just records
“Vinyl is like sipping a nice rum from a little glass, choosing the record, taking it out, looking at the cover, putting it on the record player, and dropping the needle. It's a bit like a tea ceremony”, says David Ayllón, from the cultural association Salvadiscos, located in the Poble Sec. “It's not just about listening to music, but about the sense of calm it brings.”
The name of the association is a reference to the orange lifebuoys, called ‘salvavides’ in Catalan, and it began as a tiny shop on a quiet street in Poble Sec, when friends Salva and Jordi along with Ayllón, had the opportunity to buy - or “rescue”, as David says - a bunch of second-hand vinyl records, which they would then sell out of old fruit crates.
During the pandemic, however, Salvadiscos became an association that turned into a lifeline for Barcelona’s DJs, who couldn’t play their records, as nightlife was shut down.
At Salvadiscos, DJs and collectors would come together to share their music and records that they had bought abroad in Japan prior to the pandemic.
“It was like a little seed that was planted,” David explains, adding that after a few months, they had the opportunity to move to a larger space on the Santa Madrona Square in Poble Sec. There, they founded the cultural association.
After the lockdown ended, David says that people needed to get out of their homes and disconnect from what was going on. “People needed to have fun, to dance, and to listen to music.”
Since then, the seed has blossomed into an association with more than 8,000 members, that hosts DJ nights, concerts, workshops, book presentations and sells vinyls.
The growth of the vinyl community in Salvadiscos parallels the growing popularity of vinyl records in Barcelona and Catalonia in general.
The number of vinyl records sold in Catalonia has been growing steadily for years, and in 2023, close to 170,000 vinyl records were sold in Catalonia. At the same time, vinyl sales almost reached €5 million, surpassing CDs for the first time since the 1980s, according to the latest data from the Catalan Institute for Cultural Companies (ICEC).
As noted by the 2023 Global Music Report vinyl’s upward trajectory in sales has been "sustained for more than a decade - continued with growth of just over 17% in 2022," while CD sales saw a slight decline.
A shared sound journey
Back in Barcelona, David, who got his first record at 14 years old, is not surprised by the newfound popularity of vinyl records.
"They sold us the idea that CDs have much better sound quality, but it’s a lie," he says, arguing that when music is digitalized many frequencies disappear, making the sound lose “richness”.
In David’s opinion, listeners do not only lose out on better quality but also on a wider variety of music.
“The music we listen to on Spotify reaches us through algorithms,” he says. “And we also only get the music that the majority of people listen to, and what the big music companies choose to promote.” He is not against Spotify as a whole, though, and says it’s great to use when you’re on the go.
Still, the beauty of vinyl and places like Salvadiscos, according to David, is the experience of sharing music.
“A DJ comes in and plays a set chosen for the occasion and he takes you on a sound journey and introduces you to new music,” he says, adding that a DJ’s knowledge transmits the joy of the music to the listener.
“The DJ has purchased every record in his possession, and he knows who produced it, where it was bought and why, and all of this makes you appreciate and savor the music,” says David with a smile.
Barcelona, vinyl hub?
In Barcelona, record stores and listening bars are popping up everywhere, and according to David, Salvadiscos is partially responsible.
“Many DJs have played at Salvadiscos, some of them started here, and now they are doing gigs in Barcelona and all around Europe.”
Whether the revival will continue or not, the essence of records for David is sharing the love of music with others and the community it creates.
To learn more about Barcelona’s vinyl revival, listen to the latest episode of our podcast.