ded souls face to face.The Beijing native, who quit his job in the hospitality industry and opene
d the shop 17 years ago, says seeing people in the shop, no matter they are looking for something in particula
r or simply browsing, is a delight. Over 16 years Free Sound has sold about 300,000 records, he says.
“It started out as a dream for me and I feel so fortunate to have lived out that dream.”
Wang, in his mid-40s, was introduced to music by his parents, who played vinyl records at home. One of his
favorite singer-songwriters is the Chinese rock musician Cui Jian, and like many music lovers of his generat
ion, Wang enjoyed going to record shops. Sound quality and nostalgia are what draws him to vinyls, he says.
For many people it has long appeared that traditional physical records such as vinyl and cassettes were
on the edge of extinction in the face of online streaming brought by the internet revolution.
Between 2002 and 2005 in particular, the fall in sales of CDs and other ty
pes of musical recordings in China was precipitous, mostly as the result of piracy and online
streaming, and the customer base for record shops evaporated as people stopped buying physical records.