In rotation: 2/7/19

UK | HMV closure is a ‘body blow’ for Exeter and Plymouth: …HMV administrators, KPMG, have confirmed that the Exeter branch, which occupies one of the largest stores in Princesshay and the store at Drake Circus in Plymouth, are among 27 that will close in a buyout by Canadian retailer Sunrise Records. Staff at the stores, who were informed first thing on Tuesday, will be among the 455 made redundant as a result of the closures. Remaining open will be 100 stores, securing the future of 1,487 store staff. Tim Jones, chairman of the South West Business Council said: “You can’t disguise it, this is a body blow for Exeter and Plymouth. “It is extremely worrying seeing flagship stores that bring people in to the city centres and are mainstays of retailing go one after the other.” The Torquay branch shut in 2003 and the Exeter and Plymouth stores were the last remaining in Devon. It follows a long list of record store closures in Exeter. At one time, the city had an HMV, Virgin Records, Our Price, Solo Music and Martian Records, which have all since closed.

Liverpool, UK | Dig Vinyl – look inside the Bold Street record shop’s new Liverpool home: …Since opening it’s doors in March 2014 Dig Vinyl has quickly become one of Liverpool’s leading lights for record collectors, with many spending hours trawling their stock for the rarities, contemporaries, and collectable records on offer. Formerly housed in the characteristic basement of vintage clothing boutique Soho’s, and having already expanded a few times within there, the time had now come for the guys at Dig Vinyl to make a big jump into a new premises. And on the looks of things that jump was definitely the right one. Now situated on the first floor of Bold Street’s clothing shop Resurrection, the place was a hive of activity when we dropped in on Saturday for our first nosey around the new venue. The brightly lit open space automatically gives a more welcoming feel, this adding the the friendly and very knowledge staff, and vastly expanded collection of records from every age and genre conceivable resulted in us overstaying our visit a bit longer than envisaged.

UK | Sunrise gets ‘physical’ with HMV purchase: Ancaster’s Doug Putnam has become a leading figure in “physical media business” with his company’s purchase of HMV in Britain. You’ve heard about the British invasion — all those rock bands from the United Kingdom that stormed North America in the 1960s? Well, this week there’s a new musical offensive, only this one is going in the opposite direction. Doug Putman — the 34-year-old Hamilton-born owner of Ancaster-based Sunrise Records — has struck a deal to buy 100 bankrupt HMV stores in Britain, pushing aside sporting goods billionaire Mike Ashley, among others, to do it. It makes Putman the head of the only major record-store chain in the U.K. — one that has $400 million in annual sales — and it turns him into one of the world’s leading proponents of “physical media.” “We know the physical media business is here to stay and we greatly appreciate all the support from the suppliers, landlords, employees and, most importantly, our customers,” he said.

UK | Fopp: The rise and fall of a music store empire: It was the mothership of an independent record shop empire that grew from a one-man Glasgow market stall to 100 stores across the UK. Fopp on Byres Road helped shape the musical tastes of thousands of Scots and influenced some of the country’s most popular musicians. But its doors have been closed for good after the chain’s owner, HMV, was bought by Canadian firm Sunrise Records. The deal has also led to the closure of HMV branches in Ayr and Braehead – but it is the loss of the Byres Road branch which has been most keenly felt. Members of bands like Mogwai, Belle and Sebastian and Arab Strap have all described how the Byres Road shop – situated in the heart of Glasgow’s student area – was a key part of their musical education in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Mogwai guitarist Stuart Braithwaite was one of the first to pay tribute to the store’s importance after the news emerged, describing it as “a great place to buy music for as long as I remember.”

St. Petersburg, FL | Daddy Kool Records relocating as commercial rent triples in St. Petersburg. Rent rose from $3,000/month to $9,000/month. St. Pete’s rising commercial rent prices are forcing another long-time local staple to relocate. Manny Matalon, or “Manny Kool” as he’s more commonly known, has been in business at 666 Central Avenue since 1999. Now, his rent price has tripled and Daddy Kool Records is forced to move across town. The new location for the popular record store will be in St. Petersburg’s Warehouse Arts District at 2430 Terminal Drive starting April 13. When Daddy Kool Records moves at the end of March, it will be bittersweet…The rent for their space along Central Avenue recently went from $3,000 a month to $9,000 a month. “I can’t sell these records for more than the suggested retail price, so there’s physically no way to pay that much for rent as a small business owner” he explained. “For a business owner, to have your rent triple is pretty criminal.”

Indianapolis, IN | John Cusack had a ball making Eight Men Out in Indy. Now he’s back with High Fidelity: …The actor, who later starred in “Say Anything,” “Grosse Pointe Blank” and “Being John Malkovich,” said he enjoys bringing his movies to cities and answering fan questions. The Feb. 7 event at Old National Centre is produced by the Backlot Project, the same company that will bring William Shatner and “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” one day later to the same venue. “It’s a controlled way to look back a little bit,” Cusack said. “I don’t usually look back too much, but they said, ‘Would you want to do these?’ I said, ‘If people want to see the movies in a big hall with a good sound system and a nice print of the movie, yes.'” …”I remember when the local record stores were taken over by the Virgin Megastores and then the Virgin Megastores were put out of business by streaming and all that,” Cusack said. “There will always be parlors where people who really love vinyl will go to argue about music and talk about music. It’s nice to see them coming back.”

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