In rotation: 1/4/19

Montreal, CA | Montrealers are not done with record buying in the age of streaming: In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Montreal was far from lacking for places to buy the latest music or classic oldies. Downtown, there was A & A, the iconic Sam the Record Man; the Eaton’s, Morgan’s and later The Bay record sections; the Mars used record store on Ste. Catherine West which became a fire trap with all of its scratchy, dusty records piled up in a disorganized way, and overpriced to boot; the two locations of Cheap Thrills, which first opened in 1971; Rock en Stock, where I met the 1983 version of the band Kiss; Phantasmagoria, where all the cool classic rock fans hung out; the huge Marché de Livre on Berri, and its next door neighbour, the messy Fou de Disque; and many others. Starting in the 1990s, the music industry was still healthy enough that we had two versions of HMV on Ste, Catherine Street West, the main store with all new product and an “annex” that had CDs and cassettes at lower prices — most of it was junk, but there was the occasional hot find.

Wrexham, UK | Wrexham needs more niche shops says record store boss. There is a need for smaller, niche shops according to a long-standing Wrexham shop owner, following the nationwide news of HMV’s return to administration. The Wrexham branch of HMV located on Island Green, opened in 2004 but closed in 2013, when the firm went into administration for the first time. But since the closure, independent record shops have continued to thrive, including Alun Hughes Film, Music and Nostalgia on Bank Street in the town centre. Mr Hughes said: “Christmas trade for the indie sector disappeared years ago. I probably did about 10 per-cent of what my King Street Business did in 2001/02. Bad sign? Not really. “The industry has changed beyond recognition and whereas people used to come out of their music hibernation at Christmas to buy a swathe of TV advertised crap, that doesn’t happen on the same scale anymore.

Montreal, CA | Montreal crowdfunding campaign hopes to save long-running Plateau record store: Sound Central, a long-running record store in the Plateau, may be coming to a close after nearly two decades in Montreal. Owner Shawn Ellingham says he cannot financially continue to operate the store. Mounting unpaid debt from trying to stay relevant in the digital age is the reason, Ellingham said. “For the longest time I was trying to keep up with the demand and new releases,” Ellingham said. After telling clients of the financial hardships over social media, long-time shopper and music lover Adam Reider decided to launch a GoFundMe campaign, Save Sound Central. “We share the same values and love of music and he needs help,” Reider said. The crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $4,000 after being active online for 17 days. The goal is to raise $10,000, which Ellingham says will take a lot of the weight off his shoulders.

Baton Rouge, LA | Pop Shop owner Charlotte Smith discusses her vision for the mid city record store: Charlotte Smith was ecstatic when she heard Atomic Pop Shop owner Kerry Beary wanted to sell her business. Beary, the longtime owner of the popular Mid City record store, was relocating and hoped she could find a buyer so the store wouldn’t be forced to shut down. Owning a record store had been a lifelong dream for Smith, a 47-year-old and avid vinyl collector. Beary’s departure allowed Smith to finally make that dream a reality. In March, she became the proud owner of the Government Street store. The store has a new name—Pop Shop Records—but former patrons of Atomic Pop Shop won’t notice any drastic changes in the space. Smith believes the atmosphere has become even more inviting than it already was since she took over, though, with an upgraded listening station and an added emphasis on creating a hang-out spot for local music lovers.

Bloomington, IN | Landlocked Music Opens Its Doors At New South Walnut Location: Landlocked Music officially opened in a new location just off the downtown Bloomington Square on South Walnut Street Wednesday. Yarns Unlimited used to occupy the space. It marks a big change for the record store, which was in its former location on North Walnut Street for a decade. That location closed Christmas Eve. Store Co-Owner Jason Nickey says it felt like the right time for the business to expand. “We have a lot of stuff, a lot of merchandise to get out, and there just wasn’t room for it in there,” he says. “So it just seemed like the time to do it with the space being open.” Nickey says the owner of their former space on North Walnut is planning major renovations within the next few years. He says the store wanted to relocate before that process starts.

Leeds, UK | This popular Leeds coffee shop and record store has closed: A niche coffee shop and vinyl record store has closed down and their customers are devastated. Singleshot Vinyl Records and Coffeehouse announced their sudden closure on social media. The venue, based in Central Road, sold a huge collection of old and new records, and customers could enjoy a coffee and a chat with the staff after purchasing their new albums. Their post on Facebook reads: “It is with heavy hearts we have to tell you that Singleshot is now closed. “Many thanks to everyone that has supported us over the past 2 years sorry that we did not get time for a proper goodbye.” Customers took to social media to wish the team good luck for the future. Kev Moore said: “Sorry to hear this. Happy I got over from Spain to try your place one time and enjoy great coffee and pick up a nice rare vinyl I’ve wanted for some time.”

UK | Is this the end of owning music? Sales of CDs plummeted by 23% last year, as consumers flocked to streaming services for their music. Just 32 million CDs were sold in 2018 – almost 100 million fewer than in 2008; and a drop of 9.6 million year-on-year. The growth of vinyl also began to plateau, with 4.2 million records sold, a rise of just 1.6%, said the BPI. Shrinking shelf space in supermarkets contributed to the slowdown, but HMV’s troubles suggest we are increasingly uninterested in owning our music. The CDs that did sell in large quantities tended to appeal to older, non-traditional music buyers – with six of the year’s top 10 albums either film soundtracks or Now compilations. The picture is the same in America, where CD sales have fallen 80% in the last decade, from roughly 450 million to 89 million.

UK | HMV Future In Balance Raises Questions For Music Industry, Retailers And Collectors: This New Year, record collectors are facing the prospect of the disappearance of one of the most famous names in retail entertainment, Britain’s HMV. The company, which was founded in London in 1921 by the composer Edward Elgar selling sheet music and radios, has entered administration for the second time in six years. HMV is seeking a buyer for its 125 British stores amid a decline in some sales, a rise in costs and a surge in streaming. Unless a white knight appears, the music will stop for HMV just before its centenary. While the company had a limited impact in the States, it was one of the most powerful names globally and one of the largest entertainment chains selling CDs, DVDs and other physical media.

Rapid City, SD | Record Resurrection: local lathe cutter still grooves to vinyl: A local record cutter’s hobby reminds us of why people should rewind to the days of vinyl. Shortly after the first CD was invented, the vinyl record was left for dead by music labels. However, a craving for nostalgia – a desire to return to the good ol’ days – has brought the analog sound back from the dead. Mike Kassis, owner of White Noise Records, is a part of the record resurrection movement. “Record sales are up over 500 percent – actually, over 570 percent over the last five to six years,” Kassis said. “They’re coming back around.” Kassis cuts records for people across the globe at his home-based hobby shop alongside his wife, Brenda. “I just got done with a client in Australia. We’ve had clients in Chile, England, all over the United States … funny enough, I get more business from the Internet than I do here in Rapid City.”

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