In rotation: 11/10/20

Record Store Day 2020 Drops Helped Sell Nearly 2 Million Albums at Indie Retail: The drops generated 34% of all indie store CD and vinyl album sales since August. Record Store Day 2020’s three-part drop series came to a close on Oct. 24 — and continued to generate big album sales for indie stores and the music industry. The drops (staged on Aug. 29, Sept. 26 and Oct. 24) combined to help generate 1.95 million in CD and vinyl album sales at indie stores in the U.S. — with 1.41 million of that in vinyl album sales, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Those sums represent a sizable 34% and 38%, respectively, of overall indie store CD and vinyl album sales, and vinyl album sales-only, from July 31 through Oct. 29. Traditionally, Record Store Day festivities occur on a Saturday in the spring across independent record stores. Record Store Day draws many customers into indie stores, hoping to purchase the many unique and limited-edition albums — most on vinyl — released exclusively to indie stores for the holiday. In turn, the halo effect of these sales drives up album sales in general.

Atlanta, GA | Giving Record Store Day a spin at Buckhead’s Fantasyland: “…We’ve been taking part in Record Store Day since 2010. It’s a lot of work, but people love it. It’s a cool, fun event, and a great promotion for indie record stores. They come up with some great limited edition releases each year. … Most people enjoy it and have a great time — even the standing in line! People enjoy meeting and making new friends with fellow vinyl lovers. As for our store, the April RSD is always our biggest sales day of the year, and the Black Friday event is always a good day…Yeah, this year’s April RSD was postponed due to COVID. They decided to stagger the releases on three separate Saturdays, at the end of August, September and October, to keep the crowds down a bit. We weren’t sure how it was going to work out, or even if anyone was going to show up for it. But we were blown away by the turnout for part one in August. Part two was equally successful, as was last Saturday’s [Oct. 24]! It’s worked out well. Everyone masked up and social-distanced. We do it all in-store. No online sales. First come, first served. No holds. One per person, per title. The usual RSD rules.

Jerusalem, IR | Sales flourish as shops open after two-month closure: Two teenage girls used their Sunday to get their ears pierced, hang out and buy NIS 350 worth of records at the Third Ear. “Lots of young people are buying vinyl records,” Ishay Berger told The Jerusalem Post as he was helping the young women. “If a few years ago Arctic Monkeys were hot, now Billie Eilish gives them a run for their money.” With 15 years’ worth of experience working at the record store, which is also a label, a DVD rental store and a performing space when health conditions permit, Berger said Sunday had been “a strong day.” “Kids always come here to look for the classics like Led Zeppelin and Pearl Jam,” he said. “Thanks to that, we can introduce them to other things as well.” Berger was placed on unpaid leave twice, but started his first day at work with an optimistic mood. “You can’t download how a record feels,” he said.

New Brunswick, NJ | A Day in the Life of Hub City’s Only Record Store: For Andrew Spina, his small business is just a continuation of a hobby that started when he was a kid. “I started collecting records pretty young, probably around twelve or thirteen, just saving up money, buying a record here and there off the boardwalk,” says Spina, inside his record store on Easton Avenue. “Then I got a little older,” Spina says, “And I found my parents’ old thing of records. And there wasn’t much in there; there was like a Beatles’ ‘Help’ and some John Denver records.” A customer places a record on the counter: “I’ll add this to the bunch.” “Yeah, take your time. And uh, you know, it went from there.” He’s answering New Brunswick Today’s questions against the heat of an early afternoon rush, having just opened his doors a few minutes ago, at 12pm sharp on this October Saturday. “Vinyl Record Shop” is hand-painted in black and gold lettering on the window front. Old 45’s are strung like Christmas ornaments behind the glass, dangling atop a few records and vintage items for sale. It’s the only record store currently in the Hub City, a place known for its local music scene.

Wilmington, NC | Wilmington has a bevy of record stores. What’s behind the vinyl appeal? Back in the late 1970s and early ’80s, Eddie Todd worked at the long-since closed Record Bar music store chain on Oleander Drive, where the PPG Paints store is now. Little did he know that some 35 years later he’d be working at The Record Bar again, albeit a much smaller version a few miles down Oleander toward Wrightsville Beach. Todd, a longtime Wilmington musician and former record store owner (the old Eddie’s Discs in Wallace), just started working at the new Record Bar, which is owned by Wilmington CPA and record collector Tony Stroud, about three weeks ago. Branding itself as “an old name with a new spin,” the cozy nook is a music head’s dream, with wooden bins packed with both old vinyl and new vinyl releases. And the Record Bar is far from the only shop in Wilmington peddling vinyl, a format that’s shown an upswing in popularity among hardcore music lovers in recent years. Pandemic or no, you’ll find plenty people browsing the stacks at the five Port City record shops below.

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