In rotation: 9/22/20

UK | Vinyl sales increase year on year in the UK despite pandemic: Sales are expected to increase further ahead of two Record Store Day ‘drops’ in September and October. UK vinyl sales have continued to climb in the UK despite the dramatic impact of COVID-19 on the music industry. New figures from the Entertainment Retailers Association – who manage Record Store Day in the UK – reveal that last month’s RSD ‘drop’ on August 29 saw vinyl sales rise 3% year on year with 2.7 million units sold so far in 2020. Vinyl sales have been steadily increasing in recent years, but this increase is a particularly impressive feat for the format after the pandemic caused Record Shops to close for several months. The pandemic also meant adjusting this year’s Record Store Day – usually a one-day event in April – to a series of three ‘drop’ dates, the next of which is on Saturday, September 26. Over 200 record stores will take part in ‘Drop 2’, selling limited edition vinyl releases from artists such as Paul McCartney, Fleetwood Mac and Declan McKenna.

Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN | Twin Cities record stores gear up for vinyl event of the year: The second of three drops celebrating this year’s annual Record Store Day is coming up this Saturday, Sept. 26. Record players find themselves at home on dorm side tables and in apartment living rooms. They’re best enjoyed on solemn evenings or during study hours. Whether it’s grandma’s record of Lionel Richie or a vinyl of Harry Styles you found on sale at Urban Outfitters, listening to your favorite music on vinyl sets a mood that Spotify can’t replicate. Record Store Day (RSD), which began in 2008, is the one day a year that indie record stores get a moment in the spotlight. This year’s original RSD was postponed back in April and then again in June due to COVID-19 concerns. Now, RSD has been broken up into three separate days: Aug. 29, Sept. 26 and Oct. 24. This Saturday, Sept. 26, will be the second day of RSD special vinyl drops. To prepare for the upcoming drops, Twin Cities record stores are gearing up with hot vinyl finds and rare music couture.

Arlington, TX | A Record Store in Arlington Digs Through Dallas DJs’ Vinyl Collections: A new and used record store, Growl, is blossoming in downtown Arlington along Abrams Street. This retail space has cycled through different phases over the last few years, trying to figure out what it wants to really be when it grows up. With low ceilings, a cement floor, bars on the windows, and a hint of patchouli in the air, it certainly gives off an old soul-rocker vibe. A few years ago when Division Brewing moved into the building behind it, it was a vintage tchotchke shop. The store eventually packed up and left, so the owner of Division Brewing, Wade Wadlington, snagged the space. Since the store and brewery shared a common courtyard, it made sense to envelop the space. For a while, they sold comic books and collectibles. However, when the brewery started hosting live music in the courtyard, rain, cold winters and hot summer days demanded a climate-controlled area for the bands. So it started to serve as more of a music venue.

Grand Junction, CO | Record Store Days is a celebration of music and vinyl: Record stores are like few other businesses, but the industry was just as affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus closed down stores and forced the annual celebration of collecting music — Record Store Day — to evolve from one day to three over as many months. Aug. 29 was the first installment of Record Store Day 2020 for Triple Play Records at 530 Main St. Even with the looming threat of the virus, people stood in line outside the store, socially distanced and wearing masks, waiting for their chance to be let in and get their hands on some exclusive releases. “We do our best to make sure everyone gets what they want. It’s a fun time. You support local business, and there’s a rush when you get the only copy of a record,” said Matthew Cesario, general manager of Triple Play Records. “This year, they delayed (Record Store Day) to three days over three separate months. We didn’t have to cover the costs of the releases in one week, rather we can split it up. I think that’s going to help us out a lot.”

Boulder, CO | Record Store Day Puts August RSD Drops #1 In The Books As A Positive In A Very Strange Year: Never has the phrase “smashing success” been uttered more cautiously… We are still in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. Decisions made months ago for this time period were made fairly blind but we split ‘The List’ of 415 Record Store Day 2020 titles into three RSD Drops dates (176 on the first August Drop, August 29, with a little over 100 each coming on September 26 and October 24) and worked continuously with anxious record store owners looking for ways to be the center of their community while minimizing the chances of someone getting sick. That was a priority for everyone in this industry. In fact, vinyl manufacturing at American plants are down to one shift because they also want to take care of people. It was all not an easy task. Thankfully, it appears, after this first of three Drops dates, that everyone is doing okay.

Easthampton, MA | Platterpus owner celebrates record store’s 38th anniversary: Dave Witthaus, the owner of Platterpus Records, recently celebrated the business’ 38th year. Witthaus has been in Easthampton for the past 28 years after moving his business from Westfield. “When I was 16, I got a job at a record store and I just knew that is where I wanted to be and that is what I wanted to do. So when I was 25, I said it’s time to do it,” Witthaus said. Throughout the years and with entertainment constantly evolving, Witthaus said he is not averse to change and thinking about what he has to do for his business to stay alive. “When I first started out, we were selling records, cassettes, and I even had a few eight tracks. Eventually, records went away for a while and CDs came in and we embraced that technology, now CDs are kind of going away and we have come back to embracing vinyl,” Witthaus said. During his 38 years of being open, he got to the point where he stopped stocking new things because he realized that record companies no longer cared for small stores. Since then he has only stocked and sold used items.

Brookfield, CT | COVID-19: Beloved Fairfield County Record Store To Reopen After Six-Month Hiatus: Although Gerosa Records was given the green light to open in June, owner Brian Gerosa chose to hold out just a while longer, sticking to online and curbside record sales, before opening his doors in September. The Brookfield store on 246 Federal Rd., which has sold vinyl in the community for 34 years, held a soft opening on Sunday, Aug. 29 on Record Store Day and was met with a line of customers waiting outside. As of Thursday, Sept. 3, the store is open for limited hours between Thursdays and Sundays, only allowing eight masked customers inside the store at once per state COVID guidelines. “Although it doesn’t feel like Black Friday yet, it does have the air of a reunion of sorts,” said Gerosa. “It used to be we would only see lines like these on Record Store Day. Now we’re seeing them all the time!” The site will still offer curbside pickup, said Gerosa, for those not yet ready to venture inside

HK | 8 Record Stores To Visit In Hong Kong: From R&B, jazz, punk to K-pop and Chinese classics, we’ve rounded up the best places in the city to get your next piece of vinyl. Vinyl is undergoing a revival. Just like analogue photography, vintage pocket watches and vintage cars making a comeback, music is no exception. There’s something deeply nostalgic about slipping on a record to listen to music––the vintage feel, and perhaps the longing for a piece of the old days, makes music lovers and hipsters alike clamour to get their hands on vinyl records. With contemporary artists like award-winning singer-songwriter, Billie Eilish and Korean superstars, BTS combining forces with vinyl-era legends like The Beatles and Queen to release their music in analogue format, vinyl is here to stay. Despite a number of bigger music stores closing in the city, you’ll be pleased to know that independent stores are still keeping the music scene alive. Whether you’re planning to hop on the bandwagon of this resurgence, are on the hunt for your next vinyl, or just digging for some artsy inspiration––we’ve listed the best records stores in Hong Kong for you to visit.

Baton Rouge, LA | Top 5 places to buy records in Baton Rouge: If you haven’t heard yet, vinyl records are increasing in popularity years after their initial prime. Instead of going out with the old and in with the new, music lovers are embracing this out-dated way of listening. Here are five of the best places in the Baton Rouge area to expand your collection or pick out your first press. The Exchange: Located on Government Street, The Exchange truly is a musical diamond in the rough. Blink and you might miss it, but you definitely won’t want to if you’re looking for your next vinyl purchase. This place is crammed with thousands of records at affordable prices. Overflowing crates are organized by genre and artists. You can even ask to have a record played while you shop. Another perk of this store is the “wish list” at checkout where customers can write down their name and number along with whatever they couldn’t find in-store, and they will be contacted once the record is available. The Exchange is more than vinyl records; it also offers CDs and video games. Take a look through the fifty-cent bins outside the store and the $2 rack at the front of the store; you never know what you might find.

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