In rotation: 10/26/20

Pittsburgh, PA | Opinion: Support your local record stores. There is no greater feeling than walking into a local independent record store. The smell of dusty records, the friendly staff and the stacks upon stacks of records instantly improve your mood. But this feeling could disappear soon if not enough people support these great institutions and instead choose to prioritize convenience over experience. Record Store Day is Oct. 24, a day established in 2008 by independent record store owners to promote their stores. This year it’s more important than ever to support these stores. While vinyl sales have been increasing in the last 10 years, independent record stores have been closing down and doing so even more rapidly because of the pandemic. As vinyl has been becoming more popular again, stores like Urban Outfitters and online retailers like Amazon have been jumping on the trend, slowly killing the independent record stores and hurting the local economy in the process.

Record stores could cease to exist, thanks to Covid-19. Opinion: You love your local record store, right? Well then use it or risk losing it. At a press conference in New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel in June 1948, Columbia Records introduced its long-playing vinyl discs – and the format that refuses to die was born. A 12-inch vinyl disc that turned at a mere 33.3 revolutions per minute challenged the 10-inch, 78rpm shellac standard – and by 1956, every major recording company in the United States had seen the light. 78rpm was no more, and the LP became the world’s favorite music storage format. Obviously it hasn’t been all plain sailing since. Vinyl has been read the last rites on numerous occasions, most recently during the digital revolutions pioneered first by the compact disc and, more recently, by the music streaming uprising spearheaded by Spotify. But somehow vinyl has survived and, at least until recently, thrived – relatively speaking, anyhow. And along with the survival of the format, sales of record players have held reasonably steady too ≠ to the point that turntables comfortably outsold CD players during the second half of the last decade. Any number of manufacturers have been doing quite nicely with their range of record players.

Jackson, TN | Local record store benefits for the homeless: In downtown Jackson, you can find people having plenty of fun while giving back to the community with an event called ‘Krew Fest’. The event helps people in need. “So many homeless people out and they need extra clothing, food and need general help all around so we’re out here to support and help to do what we can to help a good cause,” said Mark Roberts, Crazy Dawg Catering. Saturday was National Record Selling Day and the Third Eye Curiosities Record Store along with many partners are raising money to give back to the homeless in Jackson. Hunter Cross, co-owner of Third Eye Curiosities, says this event has plenty of meaning to it with a lot of donations. “Basically 20 percent of our proceeds is going to RIFA and Area Relief Ministries. We’re also having people donate coats, non-perishable foods as well as hygiene products,” said Cross. One of the event partners, ‘Rescue One’ came out to add to the donations making sure the event leaves an impact on others.

Kearney, NE | Record Revival: Love of vinyl keeps Buffalo Records spinning: Vinyl record sales have made a comeback nationally, and Buffalo Records co-owner Bryce Jensen is proud that his Kearney business is a part of that resurgence. U.S. vinyl album sales exceeded CD sales in the first half of 2020 for the first time since the 1980s, according to a music revenue report from the Recording Industry Association of America. Vinyl album revenues were $232 million, the RIAA report cited, while CD sales were $129.9 million. Vinyl sales increased nearly 4% in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 while CD sales slid 47.6% in the first half of this year. Jensen, who has owned Buffalo Records with his brother-in-law Rex Herrick for the past five years, said, “It’s kind of neat that our little community in the middle of Nebraska can have that impact, too.” At Buffalo Records, Jensen and Herrick sell used, which they call “pre-loved,” and new vinyl records. Only the new record sales would be accounted for in RIAA’s report. Regardless, Jensen said business at Kearney’s small independently owned record shop has steadily increased since they opened it five years ago. Jensen said buyers from across the country seek out the store.

Lisbon, PT | Tubitek: one of the best record stores in Porto has a new home in Lisbon: Sometimes tradition and novelty are synonymous. This is what is happening with Tubitek, a new record store that has opened Rua do Crucifixo, in Chiado, Lisbon, and is committed to having such a vinyl record or CD that you won’t find anywhere else. . In the middle, feel free to explore the space and talk about music. It’s always been the vibe to get when entering a space like this. In 1980, at a time still without the Internet, anyone who wanted to learn more about music could only do so in magazines and in conversation. The record store was the ideal place to discover the news and share musical discoveries. It was no accident that it was a place of pilgrimage for musicians and music lovers. Tubitek was born in 1980 in Porto and has become a benchmark on the city’s music scene. 20 years later, in 2000, between piracy and crisis in the sector, space closed, leaving a void in the city. When it became known in 2014 of the imminent return, many music fans stopped to listen. It was a long awaited return.

Glasgow, UK | Glasgow Lives in Lockdown – Olly, Crosshill, owner and founder of Some Great Reward: “Opening the shop was an idea that I suppose was germinating for quite a few years when I was doing my previous work, for a number of years in IT. I did a lot of traveling in that job, and during that time I rekindled my interest in buying vinyl. I was starting to order records from a few online sites, and as that was going on I started looking for something else that I could really focus on. So, I ended up getting a website built and having a go buying and selling vinyl myself. “For a few years, it was just a little side-line for me, and I’d do record fairs and things, but I think over that time, the more I was away for work, I knew that I wanted to pursue it more. I went into a few places that were doing the record shop, cafe kind of thing, and I thought that looked like a really nice alternative way to earn a living, particularly when my daughter was young…Our focus is new vinyl so pretty much everything we buy in is new – we have a big focus on new releases covering quite a range of genres and we also buy new reissues as well so there’s quite a lot of older classic and iconic albums.”

Teddington, UK | Vinyl and Coffee: An exciting new store is coming to Teddington: A new record shop is set to open on Church Road in Teddington. We spoke to the man setting up the shop – Robert Palmer – about the new store. He said: “This is really a leap into the unknown for me but it is always something that I have wanted to do. With time on my hands during the recent lockdown and the continued growth of the sales of vinyl records, I decided that it was now or never. “There has been a plethora of small independent record stores opening across the country in the past few years and in our general area we have seen new shops opening in East Sheen, Richmond and Twickenham. “There are also established stores in Kingston. I live in East Sheen and after much research I decided that Teddington was the perfect location for my vinyl emporium. “The plan is to sell new titles, as opposed to second hand and to sell a premium coffee to my visitors. I would like the shop to become a community hub for all music lovers.

Starkville, MS | Scott ‘Scooter’ Thomas: …In his youth, Thomas’ aunt worked at a record store in Hattiesburg — a shop he’d spend countless hours wandering aisles and navigating boxes among greats like Bowie and Springsteen, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. He said the first record he ever received was Elton John’s “Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy,” while the first album he ever purchased himself was The Kinks’ “Greatest Hits!” He bought the latter at a garage sale for a nickel. “I’ve still got that record,” he notes of his first in a long line of record purchases through the decades. Since 2017, Thomas has operated Scooter’s Records after a 28-year run working as the city’s chief water operator. Like so many other locally-owned vinyl shops around the country, there’s an expectation upon entrance at Scooter’s. A record store experience is hands on. It requires flipping through stacks of used records in hopes of uncovering a gem or two. It’s personal.

Fife, UK | When the world revolved at 33rpm… National Album Day drifted across my radar last week. My musical youth could be found in the grooves of 33rpms. It sparked so many memories of my own journey from Top of The Pops to The Tube, and brilliant DJs such as John Peel and Radio Forth’s Chris John. Like many kids I started out buying records in Woollies. My first purchases were those terrible Music For Pleasure albums where session musicians drained the life out of the latest hits – I suspect the label only survived because of the sexist pin-ups on the covers, usually a pneumatic woman in a welder’s vest and a cheeky smile. It was a short hop from there to K-Tel where Mud, Showaddywaddy, and The Rubettes were king. Woollies gave way to John Menzies and Boots, which had decent record departments back in the day. I knew things were changing when I went into Boots and got a horrified look from a young sales girl when I asked for a needle … So, the jump into proper, grown up music and real record stores coincided with the arrival of Virgin on Princes Street, and discovering Edinburgh’s great record shops; The Last Record Shop, The Other Record Shop, Bruce’s, The Record Shack, and Vinyl Villains.

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