In rotation: 1/11/19

Toronto, CA | Closure of Canadian vinyl supplier RPM could raise prices, affect titles, say retailers: One of Canada’s largest distributors of vinyl records has shut down with little notice — leaving some retailers scrambling to find alternate suppliers and raising questions about higher prices. RPM Distribution, based in Concord, Ont., notified clients by email on Monday that it would be “closing all operations effective immediately.” The move instantly put a halt to vinyl shipments for many smaller music shops, including Revolution Records in Hamilton. Owner Scott Bell says he’s relied on RPM to supply about 70 per cent of his new inventory, most which came from major label Universal, home of Bruce Springsteen, Imagine Dragons and an extensive hip hop catalogue. He’s now looking for a different company to work as his middleman. Other retailers leaned on RPM for an even larger chunk of their album supply, Bell says, and some are worried about the fallout, which could include higher prices or a shortage of new titles.

Oxford, UK | Future of Fopp in Oxford uncertain as HMV goes into administration: More than 2,000 employees in 130 shops across the UK – including at nine Fopp stores run by HMV’s owners – face losing their jobs after HMV Retail confirmed it would appoint KPMG as administrator. Fopp returned to Gloucester Green in the summer of 2016 after an eight-year hiatus and its vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, T-shirts and video games have attracted a loyal following. In 2013 HMV was bought out of administration by Hilco Capital and the chain made a comeback. Paul McGowan, executive chairman of HMV and chief executive of Hilco, said the market for DVDs has deteriorated rapidly in the past year, as consumers switched to streaming services such as Netflix. ..“Whilst we understand that it has continued to outperform the overall market decline in physical music and visual sales, as well as growing a profitable ecommerce business, the company has suffered from the ongoing wave of digital disruption sweeping across the entertainment industry.

London, UK | New cinema and live music venue moves closer to reality in Hayes: The Gramphone will form a key part of The Old Vinyl Factory development at the former EMI site. A new complex including a three-screen cinema and a live music venue has moved a step closer to reality in Hayes. The Gramophone has received a £1.2 million funding boost from the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund. It will be part of The Old Vinyl Factory development, on the eight-acre site of the former EMI record plant, where records by The Beatles and Pink Floyd were pressed in the past. While The Old Vinyl Factory will include new homes, restaurants and shops, the history of the area means many will be most excited by the idea of a new live music venue on the site. And The Gramophone will also include what’s being called an “affordable” cinema, adding to entertainment options in the area.

Spokane, WA | Records for Dummies: Vinyl is back baby! For people of my generation — millenial/Gen Z — records are something of a bygone era where you couldn’t just skip to the songs you liked and actually had to listen to the whole album. Sigh! As the proud owner of a record player and someone who listens to a lot of “oldies,” I am all for the resurgence of this vintage medium. Some ask, “What’s the difference from listening to the same songs on Spotify?” There’s a lot of differences, actually. There are different speeds that different records run on that affect how the music sounds. With old records there’s the slight crackle of the needle running along the vinyl that adds a realness to the sound. In the year that I have had a record player, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks for finding the best records at the best prices.

Vinyl Seeks Eco-Friendly Groove as Album Sales Soar: Vinyl may be the sweetest-sounding format to many audiophiles, but it can be particularly nasty from an environmental standpoint. Short for polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, vinyl is made in part from fossil fuels like natural gas. The record albums themselves can also contain other toxic additives, such as carbon black and heavy metals. So a growing number of companies are experimenting with materials and production methods aiming to minimize the environmental footprint of vinyl records. “More and more people are experimenting with different vinyl compounds,” said Rob Brown, CEO of Viryl Technologies, a Toronto-based maker of record-pressing equipment. “I think people today are paying more attention to the materials in the products they buy. Environmental consciousness is a big driver, even for people buying records.” Though vinyl is still a niche compared to its pre-digital heyday, 2018 record sales are expected to reach 16 million, about 14 percent higher than last year, according to new data from Nielsen Music.

Los Angeles, CA | Los Angeles’ Nightlife Goes Audiophile With Trendy New Hi-Fi Bars: Among Tokyo’s bustling streets, there is an underground collection of audiophile venues, sound-obsessed restaurants and clubs. Following in the footsteps of that model, this year two trendy new hi-fi bars have opened in Los Angeles from some notable members of the city’s music scene. In the hip Highland Park neighborhood, Stones Throw Records founder and well-known crate-digger Chris Manak (known professionally as Peanut Butter Wolf) founded the Gold Line in the storefront directly under his label’s offices…While the drinks are high-end, Manak says a good portion of his patrons come simply for the tunes. “Adrian Younge owns a record store/recording studio next door and I can say he comes strictly for the music because, one, he told me so and, two, he doesn’t drink booze,” he says.

Garth Brooks Releasing More Albums On Vinyl: Garth didn’t offer a lot of detail, but he made it clear the new year will see the release of his music on vinyl records. Garth Brooks plans on releasing more music on vinyl. He made the announcement this week on his “Inside Studio G” Facebook series. “Get ready for vinyl. But get ready for it in a lot of different ways, like you’ve never seen before. Remember, we were lucky enough to record in analog and we’re lucky enough to be in the digital world, as well. So, this will be something like nobody else has…which you guys should have!” he said. As of right now, Garth’s first three albums are the only ones available on vinyl.

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