Dubai: Step aside, Spotify; why some Gen-Zers are opting for vinyl records over music streaming

An increasing number of people, in the UAE, Gen Z and millennials are rediscovering the appeal of vinyl records. They are moving away from the convenience of streaming music. Embracing a tangible and immersive experience. Saif Sami, a 27 year Emirati collector owns 60 vinyl records and emphasizes that vinyl offers a unique connection to music that cannot be replicated digitally. This trend is becoming more prominent as Vinyl Souk DXB—a record in the UAE—has observed a growing interest among individuals who seek a different listening experience from what standard streaming services provide.

Jayesh Veralkar, the founder of Vinyl Souk DXB attributes this resurgence in interest to peoples desire for something amidst the prevalence of music streaming services. Vinyl collectors appreciate the process of exploring stacks of records to discover gems—a break from AI driven algorithms that often recommend similar content based on metadata. While Veralkar acknowledges that digital formats won’t be replaced by vinyl entirely he firmly believes that vinyl is here to stay.

In cases young collectors adopt their parents love for vinyl records. Just like Sami, who inherited this tradition from his fathers collection spanning genres—from George Michael, to Bollywood soundtracks.
The emotional attachment, to vinyl and the tangible relationship with music make it a beloved pastime for collectors like Sami and his sibling, who view it as more than a fad.

Wajih El Bizri, a 26 year expatriate living in Dubai began amassing records three years ago. For him vinyl represents more than the music; it symbolizes a journey. El Bizri appreciates the significance behind the albums he collects, focusing on those that have had an impact on his life. Lady Gagas “Born This Way” album, for instance holds a place in his heart due to its inspiring message. Showcasing the vinyl records on his wall enhances the experience as he admires their covers and the ambiance they bring to his space. The resurgence of vinyl in the UAE reflects a trend among generations who seek an authentic and meaningful connection, to music.