In rotation: 6/15/20

Nottingham, UK | Intu Broadmarsh store Fopp could be shut for good after shopping centre closed: Rumours are circulating that Nottingham’s Fopp store, located at intu Broadmarsh Centre, has closed for good. The popular, longstanding music and entertainment shop was one of only six UK branches left. With the announcement that more non-essential shops would be reopening on Monday, June 15, HMV – who are the parent company of Fopp – released a list of stores that would be welcoming customers back. While the social media accounts for the Nottingham branch indicated it was reopening on Monday, the list from HMV now does not include it. The last Instagram post from the store read: “We are really looking forward to welcoming you back through our doors! Social distancing measures will be in place.” …However by the end of the day, both the Facebook and Twitter page for Fopp Nottingham had been taken down.

Stoke on Trent, UK | This city centre record shop is reopening after almost three months – but only one customer can enter at a time: Rubber Soul Records closed for business on March 17 ahead of the government’s lockdown announcement. A popular record shop selling everything from vinyl to music memorabilia is reopening in the city centre – almost three months to the day it closed because of coronavirus. Rubber Soul Records, in Hanley, closed for business on March 17 ahead of the Government’s lockdown announcement on March 23. Business owner Robert Barrs said he ‘went into hibernation for a little rest’ following the closure – but is now ready to welcome customers to his Marsh Street record shop again from today. But things will be a little different from now on. Robert said: “Traditionally, Rubber Soul Records is a quiet store anyway, which is why we can offer a bespoke and personal service when people come in to buy and sell records. But going forward, and to adhere to social distancing, we will only allow one person in the store at a time.

Wolverhampton, UK | ‘Shop local’ plea as stores prepare for a ‘new way of trading:’ Non-essential retail stores have been given the green light to begin opening their doors from Monday. Business bosses across the region said it is now more vital to the future of the high street than ever before that people use their local shops. …The owner of Stay Loose Records, is among those looking forward to the return of customers next week. He said: “I can’t wait to open up – I’m going to open three to four days a week and see how it goes – but everyone, including me, are itching to get back to the way things were. “If we all follow Government guidelines we will be OK and that’s the way it’s got to be. I’ve done the measurements in the store and two people can be in the shop at any one time – one either side – and I can stand outside as people have a look.”

UK | HMV to re-open more than 90 stores next week as lockdown measures ease: HMV is set to re-open 93 stores next week as the UK government continues to ease lockdown measures. According to Music Week, the record shop chain will re-open 93 of its stores across England and Belfast under the latest Covid-19 safety guidelines for retailers, which come into effect on Monday (June 15). Music Week reports that HMV will “employ strict safety measures, including signage to ensure social distancing among shoppers, screens at tills, and compulsory use of hand sanitiser during vinyl browsing.” There will also be a limit on the number of shoppers allowed in the store at any one time. Other services put in place to help customers include a “personal shopper” and “ring and reserve” service. Another new measure — the “List and Leave” service — will enable customers to drop off a list of items they wish to buy and collect later. Speaking to Music Week, HMV Owner Doug Putman said: “Our teams have been working on plans to re-open since the day we had to close our doors. “We’ve redesigned our store layouts so that customers can make their way through the stores, buy what they want and pay seamlessly, while maintaining spaces for those who want to browse while maintaining social distancing.”

UK | Love Record Stores unveils 24-hour virtual in-store: The Love Record Stores campaign has unveiled further details of its 24-hour event on June 20, including a virtual in-store. Love Record Stores was first launched as a social media campaign early in the lockdown. After Record Store Day was pushed back to three dates later this year, Love Record Stores stepped in with an online-focused retail promotion on June 20. The #LoveRecordStores campaign’s day-long event will feature over 130 record stores with dozens of exclusive releases. As part of the celebration, Love Record Stores has organised what is billed as the world’s biggest online in-store event with 24-hours of live performances, DJ sets, interviews, readings and more from a wide range of artists and imusic industry figures. It has been curated by independent labels, including Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, Dead Oceans, ATO Records, Heavenly Recordings, Transgressive, Mute, Play It Again Sam, Speedy Wunderground, Partisan Records, Memphis Industries and Chrysalis.

Like the Spotify of their day: Why K-tel records still hold a place in Alan Cross’ heart: Anyone who grew up from the late ’60s through to the early ’80s will be familiar with K-tel Records, the Winnipeg-based label founded by Phil Kives, a travelling salesman from Oungre, Sask., (current population: 15). Starting out with Teflon-coated Friday pans and then moving to knives, and the insanely popular Miracle Brush, Kives came up with the idea of selling compilation albums in the middle ’60s when 7-inch singles were still the main currency of the recorded music industry. His idea, novel for the day, was to issue past hits on a single album, which would then be sold at a price far less than if you bought the songs individually. This was pretty radical, given that every other compilation out there featured feeble covers of the original recording (often overly flowery orchestra versions) and not the real thing. Kives’ first project was 25 Country Hits in 1966, which is exactly what you got. It was followed by 25 Polka Greats and it sold 1.5 million copies in the U.S. alone. Go figure.

Empire Records totally bombed, but 25 years later, it’s still got a loyal following: If you grew up in 1990s, you might be familiar with Empire Records. The film, which followed a raggedy crowd of employees at an independent record store facing corporate takeover, resonated with those of us who listened to “alternative music” and wanted to telegraph our displeasure at The Man. “It was a very cool thing,” Jenna Guillaume, a pop culture writer and the author of two works of young adult fiction, told me when we spoke about Empire Records, which was released 25 years ago. “The characters were outsiders and you were an outsider if you loved it and that became a token of your cool status.” But the film was a disaster. It was abandoned by its studio just weeks before its release. While it gave early platforms to Liv Tyler and Renee Zellweger, critics mostly dumped on it and it barely made it to US screens, let alone Australian ones. With a budget of more than $US10 million, it made just $US150,000 in cinemas. So, what happened — and why do people still care?

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