In rotation: 3/31/20

UK | Record Store Of The Day campaign launched to shine spotlight on indie stores: A daily campaign to highlight the UK’s independent record shops during the Covid-19 outbreak has been launched. The social media driven #recordstoreoftheday initiative, created by music distributors, will shine the spotlight on a different outlet each day, beginning with Kingston’s Banquet Records (pictured) today (March 30). The shop of the day will appear on @recordstoreotd on Twitter, @recordstoreoftheday on Instagram and the Record Store Of The Day Facebook page… “Indie record shops are part of the DNA of the local communities they serve and now more than ever we should be finding ways to support them,” said ERA’s Record Store Day organiser Megan Page. “That’s why we are urging music fans to continue buying from their local shops online where possible, asking about gift vouchers and following their local record shop’s social media channels…”

Minneapolis, MN | Fifth Element, record store owned by Rhymesayers, to close down: Fans of the label will still be able to shop online, though. The official record store of independent hip hop label Rhymesayers will soon close its doors for good. Fifth Element, located on Hennepin Avenue in Uptown Minneapolis, announced that it will shut down operations on April 1. Noting in a Friday Facebook post that it’s been a fixture of the neighborhood and a worldwide destination for hip hop fans since 1999, the business expressed thanks to customers and artists for their support over the years. This follows the decision to temporarily close the store due to the coronavirus, a situation that also weighed on the move to shut down permanently, the post indicates. The company also says the store’s online presence will transition to shop.rhymesayers.com, “which will continue to be the official source for all things Rhymesayers Entertainment.” The change takes effect April 1, with all remaining stock at fifthelementonline.com discounted until then.

Brighton & Hove, UK | The History of Brighton & Hove Record Shops – The Directory: We need your help! Are you able to add any information to our directory of 100 years of record shops in Brighton & Hove? Please read on and place any relevant details at the end. Thank you. Some of the very best moments in my life have been whilst record shopping! The thrill of the hunt in the second-hand music shops for that mega-obscure vinyl album that was only released in Germany for one week, or the buzz of whizzing down to the ‘chart returns’ record shop when it opens to purchase the brand new release from your favourite artist. The smell of the new cover and the vinyl inside. The little electrostatic crackles as you pull the record out from the inner sleeve for the very first time. The joy of putting the needle down onto the disc and sitting down and listening to it whilst reading every single word of the enclosed booklet and cover. Ahhhhhhhhh!

Norfolk, NE | The beat goes on at Lefty’s Records: It is business as usual at Lefty’s Records, at least for now. Les Greer, who has sold new and used albums at his South Street store since 2011, is still coming in at noon and staying until 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. “I’m going to be here until they tell me I shouldn’t,” Greer said. Customers are still showing up, just not as many as before the coronavirus pandemic. “Two weeks ago, business was probably half of what I normally do,” Greer said. “But, last week, it rebounded to about normal. “This week is starting out slow, so we’ll see. I do think some people are coming in just to buy something to help me out.” There’s no concern about keeping those who come in to flip through the bins 6 feet apart. “I rarely have 10 at any time,” Greer said, “except during the busiest time of the year, around Christmas and Record Store Day.”

Lockdown sends album sales to an all-time low but vinyl stays strong: U.S. album sales hit what’s thought to be the lowest weekly sale of all time as the coronavirus pandemic hit retail figures. But vinyl sales continued to deliver impressive results, with Pearl Jam, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Beatles appearing near the top of a sales chart. With stores closed and fans distracted by enforced lifestyle changes, the Nielsen Music/MRC Data sales figure for the week ending Mar. 19 was 1.52 million – a drop of 29 percent on the previous week, and the lowest figure the firm delivered since tracking began in 1991. Billboard estimated that it was “perhaps the smallest sum for total weekly album sales since albums began to take off as a format in the mid-1960s” – noting that, with a drop of 26 per cent to 979,000 units, sales of physical products had dropped below 1 million for the first time. Digital sales continued to comprise most of all album sales; however, vinyl continued the upturn that began 14 years ago, with the once-discarded format representing 22.2% of all physical sales so far in 2020, with the total of 4.88 million an increase of 24 percent compared with the same time period in 2019.

Wallingford, WA | Dean Silverstone, wrestling promoter and beloved record store owner, dies at 73: Dean Silverstone, who turned his love for professional wrestling into a business at age 13 and went on to become one of the top Northwest wrestling promoters and historians, died March 26. He was 73. Silverstone also had a lifelong love of music and on weekly wrestling trips spanning 2,400 miles around the Northwest with business partner J. Michael Kenyon, he’d make offers for all the records at second-hand stores and come back to Seattle with a trailer full. Silverstone collected millions by October 1977 when he opened the first Golden Oldies Records in Seattle. The store expanded to 11 locations from Bellingham to Olympia and became a favorite for record collectors. U.S. News and World Report once called Silverstone’s store one of the best sources for vintage records.

UK | Interview with the duo behind Plus X: In the mid-1900s, EMI set up the Central Research Laboratory (CRL) at The Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes, west London. The world’s largest producer and exporter of vinyl records wanted to explore the other commercial opportunities that existed around its core competencies. Over the decades, the lab churned out a host of cutting-edge tech innovations such as stereo, airborne radar and the CAT scanner. However, as vinyl record sales waned in the second half of the last century, the site was closed and it fell into disrepair. Then shortly into the second decade of this century, a new era dawned. In 2011, the 17-acre brownfield site was acquired by the Cathedral Group – now U+I. After initially calling it London Gate Business Park, U+I decided to resurrect The Old Vinyl Factory name and kickstarted a major mixed-use regeneration of the area. In 2015, with support from Brunel University London and HEFCE, U+I re-established the CRL as an incubation hub for start-ups in the tech, digital, engineering and ‘maker’ sectors.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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