The best thing about hunting down vinyl is going to places way off the beaten track. Getting lost, stuck in traffic and bizarre subway connections, asking directions from confused locals all for that elusive pay off. Shanghai is no exception. If you’re all about the journey, then you’ll get maximum bang for buck here.
Number one on your list should be the Movie Star. This guy has heaps of vinyl straight out of Japan. About half of it is rap and hip hop and the other half rock and indie punk. I found a set of 6 ‘best of’ Rolling Stones vinyls from the early 70s for 20 Yuan each. That’s about $3.20 each. Condition was average but they were so cool! Even the occasional super rare Van Halen bootleg. There’s also a bunch of Acker Bilk, middle of the road, ‘pan pipe gold’ crap too but I don’t do ironic kitsch! The bloke that runs this store speaks fantastic English. Movie Star is in a very nice part of town full of exclusive clubs, massage parlours and golf stores if that’s your thing. Oh and a very nice supermarket with about 100 fully imported beers, which is very helpful with most Chinese beers being so low alcohol!
What you do need to know is that this guy has (or had) 3 stores. In December 2012, the Movie Star one was the only one that was open.
He has another flea market style store near a Holiday Inn (Changshou Lu, behind the Holiday Inn Vista (700 Changshou Lu, near Jiaozhou Lu from the original CNN article). It’s behind a garage door in this kind of ramshackle hardware store. He hasn’t opened that in quite some time though I suspect that’s where his best stash of vinyl is. My advice is don’t waste your time going there. He also used to run a store called Broadway DVD but that has closed a while ago. All the good stuff has probably been picked. But there are some still gems that await the brave.
Another store Uptown Records is literally in the basement of a huge nondescript apartment building. As your cab driver drops you off, you get a funny look because it’s a weird place for a foreigner to go to and a bit intimidating to walk into. As they have then entire basement, there are retro clothes, bars and everything setup down there. It looks like it could go right off if they had parties down there. The selection of rock was pretty average, but there was heaps of 90s punk, hip hop and electronica dancy stuff. Sadly I must’ve been there on a Monday or something because only the record store was open.
Kook Music is also meant to be quite good. It opens at 5pm though which sucks. So plan your journey wisely! It’s apparently a few blocks from Uptown Music.
As always I hope this helps you in your own adventures. I simply found that a lot of articles were too outdated and thought I’d share! Your comments are most welcome!