In rotation: 2/12/20

Portland, OR | How Will the Fire At Apollo Masters Affect the Local Music Industry? Last Wednesday, news broke of a fire at Apollo Masters, the California-based business that was one of only two factories in the world that produced the lacquer used in the creation of master discs—one of the first steps in the manufacture of a vinyl album. While all the employees made it out safely, as the company posted on their website, their “manufacturing and storage facility… suffered catastrophic damage.” “We are uncertain of our future at this point,” the statement continued, “and are evaluating options as we try to work through this difficult time.” The repercussions of this blaze look to be massive and couldn’t come at a worse time. According to a report released via Billboard last month, vinyl records made up 26% of all physical albums sold in 2019. And record labels were already adjusting to the recent closure of Rainbo Records, the 80-year-old pressing plant that had been one of the largest producers of vinyl in the US.

Hamilton, CA | Hamilton’s legendary record store Cheapies is closing in March: The downtown fixture on King Street East has been around since 1980. It had to feel good — and bad, at the same time — “bittersweet,” as Brian Jasson likes to put it. Saturday afternoon, a lineup more than 20 people long at the cash register, and three or four times that many browsing through the store. They were riffling through records, bumping into old friends, discovering musical treasures they didn’t know existed. And saying goodbye. Last days at Cheapies. Sounds like a movie title almost. The legendary, long-lived record store on King Street East is closing. March 27 is the scheduled last day. “Friday, the lineup was right out the door,” said Jasson, who started selling records on King East in 1978, during the screaming apogee of punk rock. If you let yourself, you could almost imagine away all the taste and technical changes that have happened in our music-buying habits over the last decades and believe you had walked into the way we were.

16 Vinyl Records That Will Make You Want to Listen on Repeat: From Billie Eilish to Lizzo and Maggie Rogers, this past year brought us some musical gems that we’ll be listening to for a long time. If you’re a true music-lover, though, you know there’s just something about listening to a record on vinyl. Not only is it a cool experience altogether, but it also gives you a new appreciation for the artistry behind making music. If you thought you could only get older music on vinyl, think again! These 16 records belong in everyone’s collection, and they’re all available at Urban Outfitters. Are you as in love with Harry Styles’s new album as we are? Well, you can now buy it on vinyl. Listening to Tyler, the Creator on vinyl is about as cool as it gets, and Lewis Capaldi’s album is a masterpiece. No matter what kind of music you’re into, you can find something you love on vinyl, and these are the ones we’d recommend grabbing ASAP.

Atlanta, GA | High Fidelity takes over Criminal Records: Atlanta’s Little Five Points record store, Criminal Records, will be taken over in anticipation of the release of the new Hulu series, “High Fidelity,” starring Zoe Kravitz. Hulu has partnered with Spotify to create a “Love Anthem Generator” where you will swipe to find your unique “Love Anthem.” Join us Thursday through Saturday (1 p.m. – 7 p.m.) You might even walk away with some FREE swag! In conjunction with the takeover, Hulu has partnered with the local Atlanta chapter of the national music education non-profit, Little Kids Rock and will donate 50% of all gross sales made at Criminal Records during the three-day takeover. “High Fidelity” premieres Friday (2/14) at 10 p.m. EST exclusively on Hulu.

The Pros & Cons of Different Vinyl Cleaning Methods: Ask ten people how to clean vinyl records, and you’ll undoubtedly get ten different answers. As the saying goes, “there’s more than one way to shine a penny”. Some methods of cleaning vinyl records are more widely excepted than others, of course, but if we take the pragmatic route, I think we can safely conclude that each approach has pros and cons. Record cleaning remains one of the most popular topics for Sound Matters readers, and we’ve covered our fair share of different approaches throughout the pages of this website. We’ve broken down each method to help you pick the right method to suit your requirements and budget.

How to buy and sell valuable vinyl records: expert tips from a rare records expert: Learn what to look for when buying and selling valuable vinyl records with these tips from a vinyl expert who recently sold a Sex Pistols 7-inch for a jaw-dropping £15,990! We may live in a world of streaming music, but thanks to a growing number of people buying turntables, especially budget turntables (a market that has exploded in the past few years alone), the vinyl resurgence shows little signs of slowing down. In fact, figures released by the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) in 2018 showed that over 4.1 million vinyl records were sold in 2017. That’s the highest level of sales since the early 1990s, and this year is on track to top that; the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America)’s 2019 mid-year report stated that vinyl records earned $224.1 million in the first half of this year alone. So where are the bulk of these sales coming from? For the most part its reissues of classic albums from legendary artists that are still impacting music today, and unsurprisingly rock is the dominant genre.

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