In rotation: 3/9/20

Here Are 11 Must-Have Record Store Day Exclusive Releases: The annual Record Store Day is coming up on April 18, and the full list of releases was announced on Thursday (March 5). There are more than 400 RSD special releases, which include exclusives, limited runs and first-availabilities. We at Billboard made sorting through extensive collection a bit easier, and compiled 11 must-haves for fans to look out for on Record Store Day. Check out our list below, and see the full slate of releases here.

Beltsville, MD | Woman-Owned Record Shop Sonidos! Wants To Build An Inclusive Corner In The Region’s Vinyl Scene: Claudia Mendiola-Durán remembers being one of five vendors who participated in a D.C. vinyl market last December. The energy in the room was palpable as frenzied holiday shoppers combed through piles of new and used record bins with a wide assortment of titles. But throughout the event, Mendiola-Durán noticed something was off. “They wouldn’t even walk up to me,” she says of the shoppers. “They wouldn’t even give me a chance. I don’t see any difference [between the other vendors and me] except that I was a woman.” Mendiola-Durán owns Sonidos! Music & More, a record store she opened in October in Beltsville, Md. She says the episode at the December vinyl market was hurtful—but not shocking: With over a decade of music-retail experience, the 35-year-old D.C.-area native was familiar with sexism in the record industry. Sonidos! appears to be the only 100 percent woman-owned record store in the area, which would make it an emblem of change.

Does the Vinyl Crisis Spell Disaster or Opportunity for the Music Industry? The recent massive explosion of Apollo Masters, a processing plant that manufactured “lacquer” masters—essential blanks discs used for physical mastering to enable mass production of vinyl records—sent a shockwave through the music industry. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the disaster, but the residual damage from its aftermath is raising fears that it might hurt many businesses and artists in the months and years ahead. You see, this accident revealed a huge Achilles’ Heel that the industry has long suffered from, but which only a select group of people knew about and understood. It is a kind of jaw-dropping reality to learn that there was only one facility in all of America that couldmake this much-needed music production raw material. There is only one other facility in the world that can manufacture lacquers (which are actually made of polished aluminum coated in acetate) right now: MDC in Japan. They are apparently already overwhelmed and having trouble keeping up with the pace and demand.

Sydney, AU | Elton John reveals the independent Sydney record store where he ‘spent hours’ buying albums from local artists while in Australia – and it’s right in the middle of the CBD: Sir Elton John is a man who loves to discover local artists, and he made sure to get his fill of homegrown talent during his three month stay in Australia. The 72-year-old, who has been Down Under on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, has revealed his favourite record store in Sydney, where he ‘spent hours’ trawling through the racks looking for vinyl copies of albums from Aussie performers. Red Eye Records – which lies in the heart of Sydney’s central business district on York Street, a stone’s throw from Pitt Street Mall – is where the iconic singer did his music shopping, as reported by Sunday’s The Daily Telegraph. However, the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road hitmaker didn’t always find what he was looking for. Elton revealed on his Rocket Hour show on Apple Music this week, that he sought out a vinyl copy of the album Apple Crumble, from Manly-based funk act, Winston Surfshirt. He also wanted Better in Blak, from acclaimed Indigenous Australian singer-songwriter Thelma Plum. However, he’d been out of luck during his frequent visits to the iconic record store.

What Actual Record Store Clerks Think of Hulu’s ‘High Fidelity’ Reboot: …Yes, it’s just a TV show. And it’s not really a bad one, either (there are worse ways to spend five hours of your life), but it is a major missed opportunity for a program to consider the past, present, and future of its principal setting and vocation. During the quarter-century since Nick Hornby released the novel the show is based on, the entire infrastructure of music has been almost completely rebuilt. Streaming now accounts for 80 percent of industry revenue, and scores of beloved institutions, from mom-and-pop places to powerhouse chains, have shuttered. It’s not outrageous to suggest that, in another 25 years, record stores as we know them may cease to exist…That consideration led me into as many record stores as I could get to around the Los Angeles area, where I found, in classic record-store-clerk style, a high level of fashionable disinterest in watching the new High Fidelity altogether. But even if they hadn’t seen it, most clerks were still glad to talk about it—and about the state of record stores in general—all the same.

Los Angeles, CA | Jay-Z proves vinyl is not dead over at the Roc Nation office: Jay-Z was shown keeping those office vibes correct over at the L.A. location of Roc Nation by bumping some music on vinyl. Before there was streaming, downloading, CDs, and even cassettes, there were vinyl records. The practice of playing albums on a record player died out in the late 90s and early-mid 2000s, but has made somewhat of a comeback as a vintage novelty. Jay has a deeper appreciation for the old school way of playing music, and shows that he’s committed to keeping it alive in a shot captured by Roc Nation executive, Lenny S. In the photo posted to Lenny’s Instagram account, @kodaklens, putting the needle in place. “Make sure ya office vibes are right,” Lenny wrote in the caption. “That Vinyl hits different.” One of the major ways that the art of vinyl records is being kept alive is through the annual Record Store Day, which takes place on April 18th this year. Em announced on Thursday that his 1999 hits, “Hi My Name Is” and the -featured “Bad Guys Always Die” will be released on a 7″ vinyl pressing for Record Store Day. Long live vinyl!

VHS tapes are back in vogue as everything old is new again: The video format have long been out of fashion. But some aficionados hunger for objects you can hold instead of files floating in a cloud. After a long day at the office, Hannah Johnson, a deputy county prosecutor in Indiana, likes to unwind with a movie — so she throws one of the nearly 200 VHS tapes she owns into her VCR player. “It’s a comfort thing, especially if I’ve had a stressful day at work. VHS allows me to go back to being a kid. I don’t have to worry about work or politics,” said Johnson, 24, who also subscribes to several streaming services. “I know everything on Disney Plus is digitally remastered, but compared to VHS, it just doesn’t feel authentic.” Johnson, who started scooping up Disney and “Harry Potter” cassettes for 50 cents a pop at used bookstores in college, is part of a quietly thriving subculture of VHS enthusiasts: collectors, traders and design obsessives across the U.S. who adore the defunct video format. VHS has long been out of mainstream fashion. Hollywood studios stopped releasing movies on tape nearly 15 years ago. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and WiFi-powered digital behemoths now dominate the home video market with sprawling libraries and crystal-clear picture quality.

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