In rotation: 8/21/20

How Much Is an Album Worth in 2020: $3.49? $77? $1,000? Maybe $0: It depends who’s selling. As some artists release records that feel like footnotes to bigger businesses, others double down on their value. …Charging $77 for an album might be a reach even in the best of times, but it’s especially ambitious in the current music business climate, where the album itself has become increasingly devalued. The growth of subscription streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music has, in under a decade, almost completely detached albums and songs from a specific dollar value. So what, if anything, is an album truly worth in 2020? Depends on the business model. “I do think music has value, but the value is not on the monetary side,” said Steve Carless, Nipsey Hussle’s business partner and co-manager. “Technology has deteriorated that.” Thanks to the abstraction of the artist from the music on streaming services, and the rise of social media and the intimacy it creates between stars and fans, physical music is no longer the primary way artists capture their followers’ attention and dollars.

Chicago, IL | Record Store Day expands to 3 dates for COVID year: This year was supposed to be the final encore for Kiss the Sky, an independent record store in Batavia. Owner Steve Warrenfeltz, 68, thought with one-year-old twin granddaughters, it would be a good time to close up shop and spend more time with them. “I had a game plan, and it included Record Store Day taking place in April and then I was going to shut things down in July by having a going out of business sale from May 1 to July 31,” he said. “Then the shutdown and all of that changed that. I just thought ‘I’m not going to go out that way.’ It would be financially probably not a smart thing to do either. I’d have all this inventory left over and stuff. So I decided I’m going to stick with it for a couple more years.” Like so many events, Record Store Day 2020 is one unlike any other in the wake of COVID-19. The annual April celebration of the nearly 1,400 independent record stores in the United States was first postponed to June.

“Vinyl Nation” is a documentary dig into the resurgence of vinyl records: Filmed pre-COVID, “Vinyl Nation” is a documentary dig into the resurgence of vinyl records, the diversification of vinyl fans and what this all means for America today. The vinyl record renaissance over the past decade has brought new fans to a classic format and transformed our idea of a record collector: younger, both male and female, multicultural. This same revival has made buying music more expensive, benefited established bands over independent artists and muddled the question of whether vinyl actually sounds better than other formats. The documentary Vinyl Nation digs into the crates of the record resurgence in search of truths set in deep wax: Has the return of vinyl made music fandom more inclusive or divided? What does vinyl say about our past here in the present? How has the second life of vinyl changed how we hear music and how we listen to each other?

Lebanon, OR | The allure of physical things: On keeping records, CDs and cassette tapes in a streaming world: I’m not sure I’ve ever felt older in my life. I was a geezer, a dinosaur, a remnant from ancient times. The stereo speaker, a sort of birthday gift to myself that I ordered online, arrived via delivery service and was roughly the size of a shoebox. When I unwrapped it from its packaging, I initially marveled at its minimalist design. It was sleek, made out of actual wood and fabric, with metal knobs. But there was one major problem. I studied every side of the device as if it was some sort of puzzle box and rechecked the manual to make sure I hadn’t missed any details, but alas, no. My life had reached this strange intersection of a “Saturday Night Live” skit and “OK Computer.” How was I even going to play my Radiohead album about the negative impacts of technology. The speaker wasn’t what I ordered because it only worked via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. There were no ports to connect any of my stereo components — my compact discs, cassette tapes and records were deemed worthless by this piece of modern equipment.

AU | What you need to know about Record Store Day Australia on August 29th: “The pandemic will not stop us!” declare Record Store Day Australia organisers. Since its inception in 2008, Record Store Day has long been a staple in any music fan’s year. Hosted in 26 countries around the world, the day commemorates independent record stores with the release of limited edition records, live music, and more. 2020, however, has been a difficult year for the event’s organisers with RSD’s regular April date being pushed back to June, only to be pushed back once more to August. In response to the current pandemic, organisers have devised a calendar-distanced drop system to spread the exclusive RSD releases across several months. The first drop is coming up on August 29th. The second drop is scheduled for September 26th, followed by the final drop on October 24th. The RSD Drop will work differently across Australia, as different COVID-19 measures are in place.

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