In rotation: 9/2/20

eBay Partners with Record Store Day to Spotlight Independent Record Stores Across the Country: In a time unlike any other, the organizations are partnering to support small businesses by bringing their offerings to music-lovers worldwide. eBay, one of the world’s largest and most dynamic marketplaces, is coming together with Record Store Day (RSD), the organization behind the country’s largest annual celebration of independent record stores, to uplift thousands of record shops across the country at a time when it matters most. Normally a single-day music event, RSD has instead created a series of drops between now and the end of October, each of which featuring a curation of musical legends and shining new stars sourced directly from expert record stores with deep knowledge of the industry. Starting today, shoppers can explore the first drop and know their patronage is supporting a small business.

Physical music sales have surged online during pandemic, says Discogs: The online music marketplace says physical sales on the platform have increased nearly 30 per cent in the last six months. Online music marketplace Discogs says global sales on the platform in the first half of 2020 have increased dramatically during lockdown, with vinyl, CD and cassette sales seeing a surge. According to their mid-year report released last Friday (August 28), physical sales on the Discogs Marketplace rose 29.69 per cent – 4,228,270 orders – between January and June this year, compared to the same period last year. A dramatic spike in sales can be seen from April, shortly after the coronavirus pandemic forced many record stores to shut their physical shopfronts. The report attributes the rise in sales partially to a larger number of users as lockdown saw more shoppers turning online, along with “a desire to support small business”. The report also cites independent music retailers making their catalogues available online as a significant contributing factor, prompted by lockdown measures around the world forcing stores to close their physical stores, at least temporarily.

Review: Vinyl Nation: Vinyl records, for many of us they bring back lots of memories. Not just of the music, but of what we were doing while it was playing. But, as with so many things, time and technology have relegated them to the history books. Or has it? Vinyl Nation takes a look at those who still cling to the format, be they collectors, musicians or anything in between. Directors Kevin Smokler and Christopher Boone use Record Store Day as the jumping off point for their film. Starting with interviews of collectors at Mills Record Co. to pick up this year’s exclusives we start to get a feel for just how wide a range of people still buy vinyl records. Perhaps that range is best exemplified by the little girl talking about the Disney album she’s getting. And right behind her is an album by British punk band The Damned. Indeed, Vinyl Nation acknowledges the image of record collectors as either old folk who refuse to change with the times or indie band obsessed hipsters. It also does its best to dispel it. Sure there are plenty of them but there are also hip hop DJs, soul music fans and the previously mentioned young Disney fan among many others.

Kansas City, MO | Mills Record Company featured in a new documentary on vinyl resurgence: After the creation of CDs and then later digital streaming devices many thought that the vinyl industry was going to die. The revival of the record industry may be puzzling to some who view vinyl as outdated but the documentary, Vinyl Nation, hopes to explain the value of this old technology. The film begins by featuring the beloved Mills Record Company of Kansas City. Opening the movie is a shot of music lovers waiting in line at 5:30 am outside in Westport on Record Store Day. As many vinyl fans know the annual April event, Record Store Day, has been postponed. This year the celebration has been divided into three days and begins this Saturday, August 29. People wait in lines for hours in hopes to get exclusive drops of their favorite records on this day but the novel coronavirus has caused it to proceed differently this year. For example, Mills Record Company encourages the audiophiles attending to print off their wishlist and bring it with them so the store’s personal shoppers can safely gather the albums.

Colorado Springs, CO | Rebuilding What’s Left: New record store brings musician-entrepreneur full circle. Aug. 1 was the grand opening of What’s Left Records. Located at 829 N. Circle Drive and featuring a new mural from the Knobhill Urban Arts District, the small space on the top floor was —responsibly and socially distanced — full of customers flipping through racks of vinyl records, perusing the selection of books and magazines, browsing through band T-shirts and playing the store’s Mortal Kombat arcade game, all while a D.J. was onsite to provide the appropriate ambiance. What’s Left Records is the latest project from the brothers Bryan and Sean Ostrow, who are fixtures in the Colorado Springs music scene. “In 2010 I started a zine with a couple friends called What’s Left,” Bryan said during a phone interview. “A few years after that, I ended up just making What’s Left a record label, and now we’re able to do it as a store.” The store is a natural extension of Ostrow’s work in the local music scene, not just as a guitarist for local metal bands Night of the Living Shred and Upon a Fields Whisper, but as a promoter, booking agent and label owner.

Los Angeles, CA | Record Store Will Deliver Crate of Vinyl to Your Home, Let You Flip Through It and Then Not Buy Anything: Local record store Permanent Records is offering a new home delivery service, in which a crate of personally selected vinyl is sent to your home for you to peruse, comment on, and ultimately not buy, store management confirmed. “Coronavirus really hit us hard, and we kept hearing about how much people miss loitering in our store. We’re doing our best to help recreate that experience,” Permanent Records owner Alyssa Long said. “So, now we’re asking customers to fill out a brief survey about their musical preferences, and a personalized selection of records will be sent to your front door so you can aimlessly wander around your home pretending you’re going to buy them, and then just put them away in the wrong order.” “We’re not charging anything for this experience,” Long added. “We didn’t make any money before the pandemic. Why should that change?” Music fans are applauding this new service.

Chicago, IL | Help save Chicago’s entertainment venues with a double vinyl of 25 of Chicago’s best bands: Situationchicago supports independent music venues of Chicago so artists always have stages on which to perform. This double vinyl record brings together 25 of Chicago’s best bands/artists to support 25 of Chicago’s favorite live music venues who are closed indefinitely as a result of the pandemic. Available exclusively on bandcamp at situationchicago.com. Pressed locally and supported by Chicago-based sponsors – Smashed Plastic, Revolution Brewing, Malört/CH Distillery, Dark Matter Coffee, and Nature’s Grace & Wellness – results in a completely Chicago project; and with upfront costs covered, 100% of record sales will be split between the venues to help them survive. The future of the Chicago music community depends on our support, so that all residents of Chicago benefit from the rich and historical music culture that has always, and should continue to exist…

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