In rotation: 3/23/20

A NOTE TO OUR READERS: We’ve suspended our regular content this week to afford our team time to readjust to a new normal. We’ll continue to publish regular morning news updates this week as to be a resource for the vinyl and record store community during the Coronavirus pandemic.

As we wrote last week, continue to share the status of your record shops’ mode of operating at this time and we’ll share from our platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—and you can also share within our Record Store Locator app under the “social” tab. We’ll return to our regular content on Monday, March 30, 2020.

New York, NY | Record Stores Offering Curbside Pickup, Delivery, Shipping Amid Coronavirus Pandemic: The ongoing novel coronavirus has caused a global economic downturn, leaving many businesses with no other option but to close their doors and wait for the pandemic to die down. Like many other subsections of the music industry, local, state, and national shutdowns have decimated record sales. Record stores around the country recently began taking matters into their own hands, offering pickup and delivery options amid these trying times. “The weekend prior was by far our biggest of the year,” Strictly Discs store owner Angie Roloff told Billboard. “But this last weekend was where we felt things start to change.” …“We’re trying to goose it however we can and just let people know we’re there,” said Waterloo Records owner John Kunz. ” Waterloo has not yet offered delivery services, due to more pressing needs, but Kunz is hopeful that the company will do so soon.

UK | ‘I’m trying to keep the panic down’ – the coronavirus impact on music: From singers to a record shop owner and a festival organiser: people in the music business on their struggles in a time of crisis. …We’ve been here 17 years. CDs have died, so it’s mostly vinyl. The cafe and records feed off each other. It’s such a small town that I need both for it to make enough money. Record Store Day being postponed until June was a massive relief. There was a suggestion that it could have gone partially online, which would have been a disaster: competing with Rough Trade, Resident, record shops with really good online facilities. RSD is basically a month’s worth of sales in one day, so if you’re doing it it has to work. We could probably last a month without me having to put some money in, and I don’t want to put money into a failing business. The shop can only survive with big financial help from the government. The difference between Boris and Macron’s responses was worlds apart. In France, they said no business will go under and we’ll put €45bn into supporting them. That’s the scale of what has to happen. And it can’t be loans

AU | Record Store Day announces replacement event, The Great Australian Warehouse Sale: “We went to the record companies and asked them to venture into the dim and dusty corners of the warehouse and then get sharp and hot with the prices. They came to the party.” The team behind Record Store Day have announced a new event to tide vinyl lovers over, after the original was postponed. The Great Australian Warehouse Sale is a two-day event happening in April, which sees Independent record stores receive stock marked at the lowest price possible. It aims to give indie stores a financial boost and make music more accessible for fans. Record Store Day Australia took to Facebook, saying “we went to the record companies and asked them to venture into the dim and dusty corners of the warehouse and then get sharp and hot with the prices. They came to the party.” Participating record labels include Sony, Universal, Warner and Inertia, along with companies Rocket Distribution and MGM Distribution. Lists of exclusive marked down items – vinyls, cassettes and CDs – will start appearing on Record Store Day’s official website as of March 23.

New Orleans, LA | Louisiana Music Factory Closes Its Doors: The Louisiana Music Factory, after 28 years in business, is closing its doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of the increasing cases of the coronavirus in Louisiana, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell today called for non-essential businesses to close by Monday. Consequently, Barry Smith, the owner of the Louisiana Music Factory, announced that the bricks-and-mortar store, which has been a fixture at 421 Frenchmen Street since 2014, will shut down immediately. Smith said that he had laid off employees to comply with the city’s requirement and for his staff’s and customer’s safety. Smith noted that he only had two customers all day Friday and that Frenchmen Street was empty…The store will continue to service mail order sales, for the time being. “And we will re-open in the future,” said Smith.

Boston, MA | How To Support Local Artists And Musicians Right Now: Show canceled? Spend the ticket refund on merch. Spring is a major touring season for many full-time musicians and bands, and as tour dates and festivals get canceled, so do opportunities to sell merch. For up-and-coming artists, that can mean losing a significant source of income. But even though upcoming events are canceled, chances are that your favorite bands are now sitting on a stash of freshly printed t-shirts. Still, the kind of merch that you buy can make a difference. “Be mindful of how you’re supporting artists, because their sales online don’t always go directly to them,” says Kaley Honeycutt of local band Honey Cutt. She mentions that some artists’ contracts arrange for record labels themselves to earn more profit from the sales of vinyl and CDs, while the artists keep more of their earnings off t-shirts and other “soft merch.”

Browsing vinyl LPs in record store

UK | How you can help your local independent record shop amid the coronavirus crisis: NME investigates the “existential threat”, as one shop owner puts it, that Covid-19 poses to the record industry. As the coronavirus crisis heightens across the world, we’re already seeing its impact not only on our health and everyday lives, but a potential long-term effect on our livelihoods too – and the music world is no different. We’re seeing festivals, gigs and tours cancelled daily, venues uncertain on their futures and musicians themselves finding new ways to reach audiences. Amid all this, traditional record shops, too, are in a struggle to stay afloat, with the general public urged to stay home and avoid non-essential travel. Some stores have chosen to remain open, others have opted to redirect their trade online, but what’s reflected across the board is uncertainty. “Everything is overshadowed by the uncertainty of what is around the corner,” Philip Barton, owner of Sister Ray in Soho, London says. “For every business plan I write, a week later I’m writing a different one. I think that’s the same for every independent store…”

Lush creates record made of soap that plays Happy Birthday twice to remind you how long you need to wash your hands: If coronavirus has brought about one positive thing, it’s that people are finally washing their hands properly. Yes, even though some men continue to skip the hand-washing after they pee. Memes have spread suggesting the songs to sing while thoroughly scrubbing your paws to make sure you’re getting every nook and cranny. But the easiest trick for ensuring you’re washing your hands properly is to just sing the Happy Birthday song twice. To help you remember, Lush has created a record made of soap, that plays Happy Birthday Twice when popped on a player. You can also use it as soap, but obviously once you do that it won’t work as a record anymore… so perhaps you just play it aloud once, learn the trick, then pop it in a soap dish. The actual soap is pretty nice though, as it’s scented with that iconic candy bubblegum Lush fragrance, Snow Fairy. The new product, which has a moisturising rapeseed oil base so you don’t dry out your skin with all that washing, was originally inspired by Lush party shops, designed for children to listen to the tune then break up the soap to wash their hands while singing to the birthday boy or girl.

Third Man Records To Hold Daily Live Stream from Label’s Blue Room Stage: Third Man Records has launched a new live stream from the label’s Blue Room Stage in Nashville, Tennessee, which will be airing daily starting today. Dubbed Third Man Public Access, the program aired its first performance today by Luke Schneider, a Nashville pedal steel player, who will be releasing his upcoming debut album through the label this May. The YouTube channel on the livestream pages are accompanied with links to the artist’s PayPal and VenMo pages, so they can support the performers directly. “Third Man Records has always believed that great things come out of restrictions,” the label said in a statement. “Artists being restricted from their audiences, though? We’re not sure what greatness can come from that. Let us commiserate with you, lift your spirits, and feed your soul with the magic that only ‘live’ music/ poetry/ puppet shows/ some sort of human connection can provide.

White Denim will make the most of social distancing to make their new LP, World as a Waiting Room: “New WD LP to be written, recorded, delivered in 30 days.” As governments across the world encourage people to stay inside and practice ‘social distancing’, there’s been a lot of talk about using this time stuck inside to knuckle down with some creative projects. One band taking that to its logical extreme are White Denim. The band have announced that for the next month they will create a new record called World As A Waiting Room. They announced the project in a Facebook post, in which they wrote: “Making the most of this time off the road with a new recording project. In 30 days we’ll write, record, mix and master a new White Denim LP. Starting now, you can support the project by pre-ordering digital and physical versions from whitedenimmusic.com. Throughout the process, we’ll be sharing photos, videos, and rough mixes to everyone who’s pre-ordered.” The album will be released digitally, and the band also noted that in a similar speedy fashion to its writing, they’ll “drop it with our friends at Gold Rush Vinyl for a special one-week turnaround of lacquering, plating and pressing.”

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