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Classic Trax Limited is an ‘underground dance music’ vinyl record and memorabilia dealer based in London, UK.
This year of 2018, we celebrate 20 years in business, which is remarkable.
Classic Trax was one of the first underground music retailers in the online space, starting our business way back in 1998. Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun!
>> Fast forward to 2018: We are STILL serving up the best Drum & Bass, Jungle, Hardcore and Obscure Oldskool money can buy, as well as an eclectic mix of other musical genres.
Our vast catalogue has spanned over 30 years of electronic dance music, and in the last 20 years we’ve sold more than 100,000 units to customers across the UK, and all over the world.
We’ve seen the rise and fall of so many record distributors, physical record stores, and online stores in the last 2 decades.
Classic Trax remains true to the cause, and is still going strong. We never gave up on the vinyl format, it’s still the best sound around. Apparently it’s coming back into fashion? As far as we are concerned, it never went out of fashion!
The History of Classic Trax
Going way back in time, the fundamental framework and music database for Classic Trax was conceived in early 1998. Version 1 of our web interface was essentially a Microsoft Access database, coupled with some hand coded HTML pages, derived from a “Teach Yourself HTML” book. This was how our business was born on this thing called the internet, which few people even knew about.
We had a dial up modem on a PC, using an ISP called Freeserve, that gave a few Meg of space with the account to host our web pages, which displayed our stocks. It was all pretty rudimentary back then, but people discovered our service, emailed us about things they wanted to buy, and we started selling records to customers all over the world.
The first record we ever sold was by Kaotic Chemistry called the LSD ƎP on Moving Shadow (SHADOW20). There was no better feeling than that very first sale. We got £20 for it.
By 2001 we had built a significant business, and it was time to upgrade the website interface to something so futuristic, it’s still ahead of it’s time today. Built as a collaboration between our graphic designer, based in Perth, Western Australia, and a well known UK based web agency that built us a bespoke content management system. The concept was to use an animated character, known to us as “Occo”, using the tentacles to navigate to the genres of music we sold. Version 2 is shown below:
If you want to see the full site with movement and sound, then click here. You will need a browser with flash installed, to see it in action.
Our upgraded site featured streaming audio of all records listed, which was an immense workload to create, but it made the site ever more popular. It was also pretty costly too. We had to pay £8 for every GB of data delivered, so in the old days, we often had a £100 a month bill simply for allowing customers to hear audio clips of our records. If you think the internet is free, think again. Someone is always paying for the bandwidth and server that hosts the content!
Classic Trax was an early adopter of the latest technology:
– We were using Ebay to auction rarities in year 2000.
– One of the first UK businesses to offer Paypal.
– One of the first UK businesses to integrate a payment gateway to accept cards online securely.
– We commissioned our trading platform to be built bespoke at huge cost. (There was no such thing as wordpress or shopify!)
– We used Overture keyword marketing and Google Adwords from the moment they were invented, until that market became saturated.
It all seems so normal now, almost unremarkable, but at the time, very few businesses had a grasp on this new technology.
In 2004 we implemented an upgraded web interface, again in collaboration with our graphic designer and web agency. By this point internet search engines were impeding our rankings because of the heavy use of Flash in our previous version, so our genre navigation moved into a drop down menu, combined with a fresh look. “Occo” was retired from navigation duties, but redrawn and reanimated to sit at the side of each page. Version 3 is shown below:
If you want to see this interface with the flash animation, click here. You will need a browser with flash installed, to see it in action.
By 2004 we were getting so busy, we had to get our web agency to develop a bespoke checkout that reserved records for a 5 minute window to prevent two customers from buying the same rare record or promo the moment we advertised it online. Complex stuff then, and even nowadays!
We were buying from every record distributor in the UK that sold Drum and Bass, including SRD, Alpha Magic, Nu-Urban Music, ST Holdings, Load Media, Devil Fish, Vital and lots of other smaller ones like Destiny, Exodus, Good Looking, IMO Distribution and PDC Audio. It was a very hectic time. Sadly, most of them didn’t make it.
Over time things started to change. Digital started to gain traction mid way through the noughties and peoples buying habits changed. The big global recession killed off most record distributors, and ever since nothing has ever been the same again. Despite hard times we “battened down the hatches” and still continued no matter what.
To ensure our survival in mail order retailing, with the help of a talented new web developer, we set up a completely different business in 2012 called F1 Model Store, selling formula one scale model cars, signed memorabilia and other F1 related rarities.
Version 3 was our longest serving interface for Classic Trax, running up until the summer of 2016. At this point we were hacked by some lovely people in China, and with a heavy heart, we had to take the site down, because the costs of finding the vulnerability were not worth the time, effort and financial loss.
But out of bad, came good, because now we have Version 4, and you are looking at it right now. “Occo” still remains part of our branding, and is now incorporated throughout this latest site. Feels like things have gone full circle in a way, because now we often find ourselves tinkering with the site HTML just like we did when we started out all those years ago.
We no longer sell our individual titles via our own site anymore. We leave that in the capable hands of our Discogs Store.
You know, a big thing about buying online has always been about “Trust”. These days it seems like any Tom, Dick or Harry can advertise their dusty records for sale on 3rd party platforms, and they suddenly think they’re a dealer.
The fact is, those kind of “here today, gone tomorrow” sellers do not have any trading history to show. Classic Trax however has 2 decades of successful trading under it’s belt, so if you ever find yourself debating who you can trust, you know can count on us!
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