In rotation: 3/26/20

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.

Music community launches ‘Love Record Stores’ initiative: The music community is launching a high-profile, global initiative on Thursday (March 26) to help independent record stores during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. With many of these stores now experiencing a catastrophic drop-off in footfall or having already closed their doors there are fears that some may not survive if something is not done urgently to stimulate sales. With that in mind many music companies have already pledged their support for this new campaign which has been named #loverecordstores. Companies are coordinating ideas, resources and mobilizing the artists they represent to record messages of support for record stores that can be used across all forms of social media. Musicians, artists, actors and celebrity music fans around the world are being asked to film short video clips of themselves talking about, for example: what independent record stores mean to them, where their favourite store is, what records and artists those stores have helped them discover and most importantly to encourage their fans to continue to shop online with their favourite stores wherever possible.

COVID-19: Global music community launches campaign to support record stores: The initiative will run under the hashtag #LoveRecordStores and seeks to support independent record stores around the world that are experiencing a drop in sales due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign is aimed at mitigating losses by garnering support and promoting online purchases from the stores. As part of the campaign, record labels are mobilising artists whom they represent to record messages of support for record stores on social media. Other celebrities, such as actors, are being asked to film short video clips of themselves talking about the significance of record stores in their lives, and to encourage their fans to continue to shop online. “Independent record stores have played a key role in supporting and developing artists and their music for decades, so now it is time for music companies and the artists they represent to step up and give something back,” Play It Again Sam managing director Jason Rackham, who is leading the campaign, said.

Can the Vinyl & CD Business Survive Coronavirus? Facing the COVID-19 pandemic, music shops are shuttering — and struggling to survive — and Amazon is focusing on household goods. What’s in store for physical retail? In the week ending March 19, Niall Horan sold 26,000 physical copies of his album Heartbreak Weather — which made it both the most popular physical album of the week and a sobering sign for the future of physical music. Stores are shutting down to stop the spread of the coronavirus, and in mid-March Amazon announced it would not re-stock records and CDs until at least early April. As CD sales continue to decline and the high-margin vinyl business faces manufacturing and distribution problems, can the physical business survive? Retailers were already having a rough year. Problems at Direct Shot Distributing have made it hard for stores to get releases promptly, and in February a fire destroyed the Apollo Masters plant, one of two facilities that make the lacquer plate needed to press vinyl. “It’s hard not to be a conspiracy theorist and wonder if the powers that be in the music industry are trying to get rid of physical music,” jokes one indie label owner.

Louisville, KY | Local record shops find ways to safely get you vinyl: It isn’t possible right now to walk into your neighborhood record store, comb through bin after bin and strike up conversations and arguments about all things music, but there are still ways to buy vinyl from those Louisville businesses. For example, Guestroom Records shut its doors to the public a week before the ordered closure of “nonessential” retail stores on Sunday, but the Frankfort Avenue shop has been selling albums through curbside pickup, delivery and shipping — options that are all currently still allowed. “I made the analogy that we are a very, very slow pizza place, with some of the most obscure toppings that you can ask for,” Guestroom Records co-owner Travis Searle said. “Bon Iver and Tame Impala, those are pepperoni. Art Blakey double LP audiophile jazz reissues, that’s artichoke skin that has been cured in Spanish olive oil, brined in the sun. You can call in your toppings and maybe we have them and maybe we don’t. Maybe we can get them and maybe we can’t.”

Spokane, WA | On eve of nonessential closures, Spokane small business owners look warily to the future: …At 4000 Holes Record Store, owner Bob Gallagher said he’s remaining optimistic about the required closure of his business, but is unsure of what to expect. “The recession was hard and I don’t want to go there again,” he said, adding the store is shifting to selling some records online. Gallagher said he doesn’t expect the popularity of records to wane during the temporary closure, but he wonders if customers will have disposable cash to purchase them after the public health crisis ends. “We have to see what happens,” Gallagher said. “I hope people will have the funds to buy records.” For some members of the Spokane Independent Metro Business Alliance, Gov. Inslee’s order requiring temporary closure of nonessential businesses wasn’t a surprise.

Huntsville, AL | Pandemic a challenging canvas for Alabama arts center: To make a living being creative, resilience is as paramount as talent. In Huntsville, artists, makers and small businesspeople at Lowe Mill, said to be The South’s largest privately owned arts center, are drawing on that resilience. Like the self-employed worldwide, Lowe Mill’s occupants are reeling from coronavirus’ corrosive economics. And artists, makers and shopkeepers here are getting creative to keep passions and livelihoods going. Lowe Mill is part of special moments for many residents of Huntsville, an engineering-oriented city. An array of visual arts exhibits to ponder. Shops to purchase unique gifts for loved ones. Affordable and divergent live music. Creators of everything from paintings to popsicles, from whiskey to candy, from jewelry to theatre, doing their thing. A uniquely Huntsville place to bring out of town visitors. Or just savor an average Saturday. Unlike several other signature Huntsville attractions, it doesn’t cost anything to go to Lowe Mill on a normal day (some events have modest admission or parking fees), but the arts center’s value to the city, particularly its creatives, is difficult to overestimate.

Flightless Records announces huge online vinyl sale: Catalogue classics will be heavily discounted. Popular vinyl record store and label Flightless Records has announced a massive online sale commencing tomorrow (March 26), at 9am AEDT. While the physical Berwick store will be closed, a wide range of “heavily discounted” catalogue classics – along with all shop stock – will be available for purchase on the store’s website. All orders will be delivered by the Flightless team to Melbourne-based customers’ doorsteps. Flightless Records was originally founded in Melbourne in 2012 by King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard drummer Eric Moore. The label was originally created to self-release their music, but has since gone on to sign other Australian bands including The Murlocs, Tropical Fuck Storm and Stonefield. Apart from King Gizzard vinyl, Flightless Records’ inventory includes a plethora of well-loved Aussie bands and artists, including albums from The Babe Rainbow, Pipe-eye, Traffik Island and more. A limited edition of Amyl and the Sniffer‘s ARIA award-winning debut album will also be up for sale.

Suffolk, UK | Support Suffolk’s independent businesses by shopping online – these places deliver! Here are just some shops offering home deliveries for local customers in these challenging times: Hex Record Shop: With its eclectic selection of vinyl and its friendly service, Hex record shop has proved a real hit with shoppers in Woodbridge and Ipswich. If you’re after some great tunes to see you through self-isolation, look no further than Hex’s online shop – you can browse the entire inventory, and delivery is free for all those living in Woodbridge and Ipswich. Anyone living outside of these centres is encouraged to get in touch, as the team is sure they can work something out delivery-wise for you. Find your next favourite record at: www.hexrecordshop.co.uk, and keep an eye on the Facebook page for some curated Spotify playlists!

How music retail plans to weather the coronavirus pandemic: In the new edition of Music Week we take an in-depth look at the unfolding impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the music industry. Alongside examining the huge toll it has taken on the live sector, plus independent and major labels, we also take the pulse of the retail world as the pandemic radically affects high street footfall – even before last night’s announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson that all non-essential shops will have to close for at least the next three weeks. “This is the single biggest challenge the independent sector has ever faced and, as the high street was already on its knees, this is, frankly, brutal,” said Natasha Youngs, co-owner of Resident Music – the Brighton-based store which won Indie Retailer Of The Year at the 2019 Music Week Awards. “If we don’t handle this smartly, it could well be the end of high street retail,” continued Youngs. “We need suppliers to show compassion and flexibility when it comes to payments, credit limits, returns allowances and anything else they’re in a position to offer to help keep us alive and trading, without compromising their own long-term future.”

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