RAWALPINDI: Naeem-ud-Din Ahmed was always fond of music, though he only realized a few years ago that it could also be a great investment after he amassed a huge collection of 15,000 vinyl records and started selling them all over the world.
With his interest in classics, 56-year-old Ahmed has always been an avid listener of music produced by leading Subcontinental stars like Ghulam Ali, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Tahira Syed — and every time he prefers to enjoy their songs on vinyl records.
“What people are finally beginning to understand is that the best musical sound comes from the most traditional forms of listening,” Ahmed told Arab News over the phone earlier this week.
His collection spans 100 years of music and features artists like Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton and Pakistani sensations, like Nazia and Zoheb Hassan who dominated the 1980s, as well as classical Indian singers with music dating back to the 1920s and 1930s.
Ahmed’s quest to acquire records also gave him an idea to start his own business. As his popularity grew, people began reaching out to him to sell their own collections.
While some of the people have sold him their records for a few hundred rupees, many of these items in Ahmed’s collection have been purchased for a minimum of Rs20,000.
“My most expensive record is from a small music group in Pakistan from the 1970s called The Panthers which is difficult to find,” he said.
The record was bought by a collector of vintage and rare records in Germany. Ahmed sells in 18 countries, including Denmark and the United Kingdom, from a dedicated Facebook page.
Like Ahmed, his customers are usually avid fans of specifically hearing music in “the classic way.” In addition to vinyl records, Ahmed collects and sells gramophones, also known as phonographs, which are designed to play records that predate modern record players, “though some people in Pakistan buy them for decoration, which is a shame since there is something magical about music playing out of them.”
Ahmed first ventured on starting his collection by buying locally in Lahore. His search for vinyl eventually led him to purchase from all around Pakistan. He went to places as far apart as Karachi and Sialkot before picking up nearly 4,000 records in the last few months from Jhelum.