In rotation: 4/6/20

Ann Arbor, MI | Ann Arbor-based Encore Records seeks $30,000 in donations amid coronavirus outbreak: A longtime Ann Arbor record shop, not long after moving into a new location, was forced to shut down in-store sales by the coronavirus outbreak last month and is now seeking donations to help cover expenses. Ann Arbor-based Encore Records, which moved from its old Liberty Street location to 208 N. Fourth Ave. in August 2019, has launched an online fundraiser with a goal to reach $30,000 to cover rent and other costs associated with the new store space. Co-owner Jim Dwyer said he and his partner Bill McClelland were reluctant at first to ask for donations. “We wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t really something we’re desperately compelled to do,” Dwyer said. “If this shutdown was going to last, we anticipated all of April would be gone, potentially May, probably June. The $30,000 number is a worst case scenario approximation … without our regular revenue stream, it might be necessary to scrape up as much as that.” The fundraiser had raised more than $6,300 as of Thursday.

Williamsville, NY | Williamsville record store owner: ‘Who knew keeping vinyl alive would be so hard?’ Things were looking good for Joe Igielinski and his fledgling independent record store, Hi-Fi Hits, since the store opened its doors in August 2019. A veteran of the Record Theatre chain, Igielinski had wisely purchased much of the remaining inventory when those stores closed for good in 2017, in anticipation of going it alone. After securing some prime storefront real estate on Main Street in Williamsville, he immediately set to putting his several decades of experience to good use. By the winter holidays, he’d built up a considerable inventory, plastered the place with posters, added memorabilia and rock T-shirts to the mix and organized a steady stream of trade-ins, both of used vinyl and CDs. Soon after, Igielinski installed an Iron Maiden pinball machine, built a small stage, and secured a license to serve beer and wine from a small bar area in the rear of the store. Igielinski had all his ducks in a row. But the coronavirus pandemic was not impressed.

Portland, OR | After Years of Resistance, Portland Cult Favorite Mississippi Records Is Begrudgingly Embracing the Internet to Stay Alive. Just don’t expect it to last. It took a global health crisis not seen since 1918 to drag Eric Isaacson into the 21st century. Granted, to this point, he was doing pretty well working outside of it. Mississippi Records, his North Albina Avenue storefront and label of the same name, has earned an international reputation among hardcore audiophiles for its reissues of ultra-obscure soul, folk and blues records, and done so without ever giving in to the trappings of the digital age—no social media, hardly any PR, and a bare-bones website straight out of the Geocities era. …He started a Bandcamp page, offering releases for download on a “pay what you can” model. He’s selling gift cards. He’s replaced spinning vinyl from behind the counter with daily YouTube playlists. (He also had a plan to temporarily convert the store into an “ultra-antiseptic” recording studio, but the governor’s stay-home order halted that idea.) Most significantly, he’s finally started a Discogs store, digging into his personal archives and putting them up for sale: test pressings, original masters, bits of memorabilia from cult legends like John Fahey and Sun Ra. Much of what he’s made available has sold within minutes.

London, UK | Paul Quirk, ‘Prime Mover’ Behind Record Store Day UK, Dies at 71: Tributes have been paid to former Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) chairman Paul Quirk, who has died at age 71 following a short battle with cancer. Quirk was chairman of ERA over three separate periods, beginning in 2007. His longest continuous reign at the helm of the trade group, which represents U.K. retailers of music, video, DVD and computer games, was from 2009 to 2014. Following a year off, he returned to the organization in 2016 when he served as co-chairman for a year. Alongside Spencer Hickman and Steve Redmond, Quirk is credited as one of the main drivers behind the launch of Record Store Day (RSD) in the U.K., which took place for the first time in 2008. Paying tribute, ERA CEO Kim Bayley said the British music retail sector owed a heavy debt to Quirk. “Not only was he a strong and passionate voice for music retailers for more than three decades, he was the longest-serving chairman of ERA itself, a prime mover behind Record Store Day in the U.K. and a mentor to countless people across the industry,” said Bayley. “He will be missed right across the business for his enthusiasm, humour and passion for record retailing.”

Mumbai, IN | Campaigns done by artists, labels amid COVID-19 shut down: With the shutdown and outbreak due to COVID-19, a number of artists and labels are using their platforms in social media by doing campaigns to help protect the sector’s survival. According to the report, the most high-profile campaign so far is #loverecordstores, a global, social media-led initiative that’s asking musicians, actors and celebrity music fans around the world to post short video messages about their favorite record shops and encourage their followers to buy vinyl and CDs from shuttered shops’ online stores. Elton John, Paul Weller, Keane, Rick Astley, Peter Gabriel, Franz Ferdinand, Kurt Vile, and Brittany Howard are among the artists that have already backed the campaign. Indie labels Matador, Heavenly Recordings, Acid Jazz, Domino, 4AD and Mute have also posted messages of support on Instagram and Twitter. “I’ve been really taken aback by how people have embraced it,” says Jason Rackham, managing director at PIAS U.K., who was behind the idea for the campaign while working from his London home. “In the past few days, it’s really grown wings.”

Best turntable under $300 in 2020: Audio Technica, Pro-ject, Fluance and more. Sure you can get a record player for $100, but it’s worth spending a little extra on the turntable that brings your vinyl collection to life. We test six of the top contenders. The time is right to get into budget hi-fi. From amazing, cheap speakers to a high-quality turntable, it’s never been more affordable to get a great-sounding system for vinyl records. One of the first questions to ask is: How much should I spend if I want the best turntable? Name a price from $40 or up, and there’s no doubt you’ll find a record player to fit your budget from vintage turntables to the newest fully automatic and Bluetooth turntable options. For example, the Audio Technica LP60 is a great little turntable for $100. But there are even better choices for the best turntable under $300 out there. I’ve chosen $300 as the sweet spot because it opens up the options for finding a high-quality model. These vinyl record players are no longer simple toys but can be considered hi-fi turntables: They offer elevated vinyl record sound quality and high-quality components. With an analog turntable or manual turntable, you’ll be constantly removing a vinyl record, moving the tonearm and spinning up an actual motor — so it’s worth spending a bit more for record players that will last.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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