In rotation: 6/23/20

UK | Vinyl sales soar as record stores re-open for first time since lockdown: Liam Gallagher’s No.1 MTV Unplugged album led the sales last month. Sales of vinyl have soared after record stores re-opened for the first time since lockdown. According to data from the Official Charts Company, sales over the past week reached the highs of pre-COVID-19. Vinyl sales surged by 27.57% week-on-week to a total of 88,486 units, while CDs also experienced a rise of 11.09% to 253,779 units. Liam Gallagher‘s No.1 ‘MTV Unplugged’ album led sales after shifting 17,938 units, followed by the reissue of Manic Street Preachers’ ‘Gold Against The Soul’ with 2,838 physical sales. Overall, physical sales accounted for 19.1% of the overall albums market across the past week, a three-month high. It comes after Rough Trade confirmed that they would be re-opening their record stores from Tuesday, June 16. Sales had been processed solely online since the UK lockdown was implemented back in March.

New York, NY | Rough Trade NYC to reopen amidst COVID-19crash: Rough Trade’s iconic New York location has announced plans to reopen June 24th at noon following its temporary closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Brooklyn-based record store, label, and concert venue is the final of the five Rough Trade locations, all of which have successfully restarted operation. While the brand and this address specifically is an established mecca for physical music consumption, even the big guys aren’t safe these days. Following news that Amoeba’s original Hollywood location would be permanently closing its doors, the idea of losing the country’s most treasured record markets has become increasingly real. The organizers of Record Store Day told Rolling Stone up to 80% of record stores across the country have had to close their doors completely in respect for the quarantine, although many of them are able to continue accepting orders or sell in another capacity. This unprecedented hit comes at a time when streaming is the preferred vehicle for music consumption and while vinyl sales have trended positively, the massive losses recorded in the past four months have proven to be too much for many retailers.

Best record player under $300 in 2020: Audio Technica, Crosley, Pro-ject, and more: Spending a little more on a turntable can help bring your vinyl collection to life. CNET tests eight of the top record players under $300. 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 true hi-fi: They offer elevated vinyl record sound quality and high-quality components.

Empire Records: 90s cult classic starring Liv Tyler and Renée Zellweger is ripe for a comeback: What’s not to love about a band of scrappy teenage misfits and a music store so cool even shoplifters wanted to work there? If the idea of a “dream job” is a myth, the employees at indie record store Empire Records didn’t get that memo. For them – self-identifying misfits and weirdos, prone to petty crime – the shop floor was a place where obeying societal norms didn’t count for much. It’s 1995 in Delaware, US, an era in which music was becoming increasingly commodified with the rise of CD sales, and placing celebrities on a Swarovski crystal pedestal was considered the norm. Inevitably, everything that was once good and sacred about music fandom was under threat. The film turns 25 this year and it’s having a moment. A cinematic underdog that bombed on release, it’s now a respected cultural touchstone. It’s not just a heady dose of nostalgia for an era where dancing on rooftops or singing along with the Cranberries was normal. It’s also grown into a go-to comfort watch for a generation who might need to remember the value of being understood over betraying their sense of self for a bit of easy cash and glory.

Fleetwood Mac to release expanded reissue of 1969 album ‘Then Play On’ in September: A deluxe, expanded edition of Fleetwood Mac’s 1969 album, Then Play On, will be released on CD and as a two-LP set pressed on 180-gram vinyl on September 18. The reissue, which can be pre-ordered now, will include the original U.K. version’s 14 songs, as well as four bonus tracks. The album has been mastered at half speed, offering improved audio quality. The CD edition will include a 16-page mediabook, while the two-LP version will be packaged with a 16-page book pack, both of which will feature a foreword penned by drummer Mick Fleetwood and sleeve notes by veteran music journalist and author Anthony Bozza. Released in September 1969, Then Play On was Fleetwood Mac’s third studio album. It also was the group’s last album to feature founding singer/guitarist and original band leader Peter Green and its first to feature guitarist Danny Kirwan. Then Play On became Fleetwood Mac’s third straight album to reach the top 10 of the U.K. charts, ascending to #6, although it only reached #109 in the US.

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