THE owner of Bolton’s only remaining CD and vinyl store has taken a swipe at TV talent shows like X Factor and The Voice for “stifling musical creativity”.
Steve Meekings, who runs X-Records in Bridge Street, revealed the bulk of his business is selling music by longstanding favourites like Oasis, Stone Roses and The Smiths.
He said: “Kids as young as 17 are buying albums by these bands as they discover them for the first time, which is great.”
The 52-year-old music lover added: “There are youngsters buying stuff by Jimi Hendrix and Fleetwood Mac.
“But new releases account for only a fraction of my sales. We’ve got TV shows like X Factor and The Voice to thank for preventing the breakthrough of new bands and stifling their musical creativity.
“Artists are marketed much more like commodities than they were in the great days of rock, pop and punk music.”
Mr Meekings launched X-Records from a shop in Bradshawgate, near the Clarence Hotel and The Pantry all-night cafe — headquarters of the Spartans scooter club — in the then heart of the Bolton student community in 1985.
He moved the store to Bridge Street in 1990 but admits he has had to adapt his business to cope with changes in the music industry during the last 30 years. He added: “I’m quite proud of the fact that I run the last CD and vinyl shop in the town.
“It’s because we’ve adapted and gone with whatever the local demand has been.
“I’ve always had a keen interest in the local music scene and the enormous range of music that is out there. And we are customer-led. If we get someone asking for something, if we haven’t got it, we’ll make sure we get it in.”
Former Hayward School pupil Mr Meekings’s love of music dates back to the first big gig he went to as a 16-year-old in 1978 at Manchester Apollo when The Rezillos and The Ramones played on the same bill. Mr Meekings said: “I got qualifications for building and was thinking about becoming a surveyor, but I was made redundant three times in my late teens.
“I went to a flea market in Silverwell Street and there were a couple of stalls selling records, and I loved it.
“That’s what inspired me to open my own record shop.”