In rotation: 3/30/20

Global initiative launched to help independent record shops survive coronavirus crisis: There is little doubt that the UK’s cultural landscape will look different on the other side of the coronavirus crisis. For some institutions, venues, and events already facing an existential crisis – this could be the last straw. That is why music companies have launched a global initiative called #loverecordstores. It aims to support independent record shops closed during the crisis, with some fearing the footfall will be lost forever. The creative industries have been asked to enlist support from their biggest stars. Paul Weller, who helped launch the campaign, said: “I’d be lost without my favourite record shops; Rough Trade, Soul Jazz, Honest Johns and all the other independents. “Let’s all keep them all going in this very strange time. Music will lift our spirits and soothe our souls. Love to everyone.”

16 ways to support the musicians, record stores, venues and music shops you love: With coronavirus causing chaos in the world of music, we’ve come up with the best ways you can help support your favourite musicians, record stores, venues and shops during the current lockdown. Participate in the Love Record Stores campaign: The Love Record Stores initiative is calling on fans to help promote their favourite stores on Twitter and Instagram. Use the hashtag #LoveRecordStores and tell the world what your local store means to you and help give them a boost. Use photos or videos to get your message across. The drive is also backed by artists and the music industry so keep your eye on the hashtag to see what they’re saying… Buy from Bandcamp: While we encourage people to use record stores if they can, don’t forget about Bandcamp. The website is a goldmine of fabulous music. And the best bit? They only take 15% of the profit from digital sales and 10% from merchandise, meaning artists get a larger chunk of your hard-earned cash.

Kingston, UK | Banquet Records’ Jon Tolley on how you can help your local indie store during the coronavirus pandemic: …Another key area that has been effected is the retail world. One of the high street retailers to offer insight is Kingston’s Banquet Records. Before Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that all non-essential shops will have to close for at least the next three weeks, the store pre-emptively closed its doors to the public on March 16 in order to focus on its online operation. “Banquet is stable and has a good online presence, so I appreciate it’s an easier decision for us than it is for some others,” said Banquet co-owner Jon Tolley. “It’s at some cost to us, but the health and community issues take priority at this time. We are now entirely focused on the online side of what we do, and that will run better than ever.” Tolley added: “I think, at this point, I speak for all record shops when we’re saying we’re more worried about the healthcare system first. Then we’ll provide the soundtrack to your isolation afterwards!”

Los Angeles, CA | ‘A grinding halt’: Record stores struggle to stay afloat amid coronavirus crisis: The city permit that Amoeba Music had been anticipating came on March 18: After a years-long search to finally lock in a new home for its 31,000-square-foot Sunset Boulevard location, the city’s Department of Building and Safety approved construction applications for a new space a few blocks away at the corner of Hollywood and Argyle. Little could Amoeba have known when its owners submitted the paperwork that a pandemic of Slayer-esque proportions would prompt the company, which as the country’s largest independent record store employs about 400 workers across its three California locations, to close the same day it got the go-ahead to start work. “What would have been a moment of celebration,” Amoeba Music co-owner Jim Henderson says, “was just a further entrenched moment of, ‘Now what?’” Across Los Angeles and the country, similarly baffled music retailers await word of how the $2-trillion relief package approved by Congress will aid their plight. In the short term, prospects seem dim. Record retail’s most profitable day, April’s annual Record Store Day, has been postponed.

UK | Music Producers In Britain Are Losing 70% of Their Income, MPG Report Claims: According to a report from the United Kingdom’s Music Producers Guild (MPG), domestic music producers are losing approximately 70 percent of their income—and facing dire financial straits—because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The study found that UK producers and recording engineers lost an average of about $4,000 (£3,300) in earnings during March, before predicting that this figure will rise to approximately $5,200 (£4,300) next month. More pressingly, over 50 percent of surveyed individuals said that they will default on their rent or mortgage bills in three or fewer months unless the government promptly provides aid. MPG’s analysis also shed light upon the financial impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on UK recording studios, all of which have closed their doors to comply with lockdown orders.

‘Record Safari’ Documentary, Originally Timed To Coachella, Hits Digital: Vincent Vittorio’s documentary Record Safari, which was originally planned to be released in partnership with the Coachella music festival before it cancelled due to the COVID-19 climate, is hitting digital tomorrow on Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast with plans to partner with a larger digital platform down the road. Record Safari follows eccentric record collector, Alex Rodriguez, who travels across America to obscure places to curate an unmatched record collection for Coachella Music Festival’s on-site record store. Vittorio also produced along with Jeremy Doublestein, Regain Hines, and Claudio Zungri…“I’ve had a passion for music since I can remember watching music videos in the 1980’s. Listening to music through vinyl records does something for me that digital can’t – being a part of the process. I got into vinyl records back when I was a teenager going to punk rock shows where bands were selling their music on records. Being a part of this project gives me the opportunity to share music with people around the world and brighten their day through the shared interest of sounds,” said Record Collector and film lead, Rodriguez.

Brighton, UK | Column: How can anyone be bored in this day and age? …At least with the lockdown all the record and book shops are shut which will spare me being inexorably drawn into them. I can easily spend two to three hours in a record shop, especially as many of them now sell coffee too and ditto applies to book shops. But shopping is now limited to essential provisions so at least my bank balance will not be taking its customary battering. It is clear we live in worrying times and the coronavirus has clearly had a major impact on our collective wellbeing. People are scared and angry and that is never a good combination. Times are increasingly tough and there is a very real prospect of thousands of employees losing their jobs and businesses going to the wall.

London, UK | Abbey Road zebra crossing repainted in coronavirus lockdown: Council workers take advantage of the empty streets to spruce up the crossing featured on the cover of the 1969 Beatles album. The iconic Abbey Road zebra crossing made famous by the 1969 Beatles album of the same name has been repainted while the streets of London are empty because of the coronavirus pandemic. A highways maintenance crew quietly repainted the normally busy zebra crossing on 24 March, the day after the prime minister ordered Britain to go on lockdown in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus. A spokesperson for Westminster City Council said: “This is a very busy zebra crossing and we repainted the line markings to ensure visibility and increased safety for drivers and pedestrians. Our contractors follow government advice on limiting the spread of covid-19, including social distancing and hand washing.” The brightened markings can be seen in action on the Abbey Road webcam.

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