Meet The Rec Deck, the platform turning the tables on music sharing at UBC

Breaking into the music community can be intimidating; vinyl records are expensive and often feels elitist, and trying new music equipment is overwhelming when you don’t know where to start.

That’s why Musa Habib, a fourth-year integrated engineering student, created The Rec Deck. A Blank Vinyl Project (BVP) initiative, the online platform gives UBC students an accessible way to share music and music equipment.

The idea for The Rec Deck, he explained, came after COVID-19 shut down record stores and brought socialising to a halt. He had just purchased a new stereo and wanted to connect with other people by listening and sharing music with them.

But when Habib posted about it on Facebook, no one responded. “I thought there should be some sort of platform for people trying to meet based on their love for records,” he said. Since vinyls are so expensive, he added, there should be a way to see which ones your friends have so you can “meet up and maybe listen to some tunes.”

Habib pitched the website at a BVP retreat last year, where he met Elsa Doxtdator-Jansson, a Sauder student wrapping up her commerce degree. They decided to collaborate on the project and expanded it from sharing just records to instruments and audio equipment as well.

The website launched on November 6, and is “totally free” to use. Students can sign up and create profiles with information on the gear they have and personal details like music taste, social media handles and if they’re looking for band members.

“It's totally up to you what you want to post about yourself, how you want people to reach out to you. And if someone does reach out to you, it's totally up to you how you respond to them,” Habib explained.

In addition, the website has a forum with two sections: the ‘main deck’ for general discussion and the forum inventory. On the main deck, for example, a student wanting to chat about a new record could make a post, and other members could reply to it. Then, they could make plans to meet up and listen to it.

The forum inventory is a way to see what other members have. It is divided into four categories — instruments and accessories, vinyl, audio and recording and other — where people can upload what they own. That way, if a student is looking for a certain guitar, they could use the website to find someone with that guitar in their inventory, and ask to try it out.

“The Rec Deck still has that record vibe to it,” Habib said. “That’s kind of the baseline.”

It is what gives the platform its sense of community. After all, there is something special in listening to music with others, making you feel connected to those around you.

“It’s online, but we also want to have an actual community,” said Doxtdator-Jansson. “Just getting people together and using the website as a tool [for that].”