In rotation: 12/16/20

Madison, WI | Strictly Discs in Wisconsin, in a Pandemic: ‘We’re Seeing an Uptick’ in Curbside Pickups: Though COVID-19 cases seem to have plateaued in Wisconsin (for now), store owner Angie Roloff says many customers are exercising more caution as the pandemic tightens its grip across the U.S. In October 1988, Angie Roloff and her husband Ron opened Strictly Discs in Madison, Wisconsin, after Ron left a career in the biomedical research field to pursue his love of music full time. Nearly 31 years later, the couple made the difficult decision to shutter in-store operations due to COVID-19, roughly a week before Gov. Tony Evers forced a mandatory shutdown of all non-essential businesses. Now that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has overturned Evers’ stay-at-home order — ruling it “unlawful” and “unenforceable” — the Roloffs and their employees have reopened the store. As part of Billboard’s efforts to best cover the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on the music industry, we will be speaking with Roloff regularly to chronicle her experience throughout the crisis.

North Charleston, SC | Charleston vinyl shops see good sales throughout 2020: Charleston-area record stores are reporting good sales in 2020, a possible bright spot despite the financial challenges the pandemic has posed for the music industry as a whole. Drew Anderson of North Charleston vinyl shop Gray Cat Music notes that sales have remained steady since May, and online sales on discogs.com are up 30% compared to 2019. “My business has luckily been growing every year,” he said, adding that Gray Cat did better overall in 2020 than last year. Anderson attributes the good fiscal year to the fact that his business is small. Gray Cat mostly sells used vinyl, and he doesn’t have to cover a large lease at his current location at The Station in Park Circle, where local makers and retailers like Anderson set up small booths. In addition, the way Record Store Day was divided into three separate days in three months aided his business’ sales, he said. “Otherwise I think my sales would have dropped in those months.” Bruce Berg, owner of the Record Stop on John Street, told the City Paper his store’s sales numbers are up “incredibly” from 2019.

Orlando, FL | Two record stores in Orlando have autographed Megan Thee Stallion CDs for sale: Two worthy Orlando record stories have quite the exclusive available for purchase: autographed copies of Megan Thee Stallion’s new CD, Good News — in very limited quantities and apparently not available anywhere else in Florida. Park Ave CDs and Re-Runz Records are the only spots in town to get your hands on these rarities. Park Ave CDs has some available through their webstore; the rest can only be purchased in the store on a first-come, first-served basis. Park Ave CDs opens at noon on weekdays. Re-Runz — according to a Facebook post from a couple of days ago — has 15 copies of the signed Good News CD, also available on a first-come, first-served basis. Re-Runs opens at 11 a.m. on weekdays (and will also have unsigned copies of the CD for purchase). Some of the proceeds from each CD sale will go to the Black Women’s Health Imperative. Happy hunting! These treasures are sure to go fast.

No, I Am Not Getting Rid of My Thousands of CDs: Our chief classical music critic writes in praise of going to a shelf, pulling out a recording and sitting down to listen. In the late 1970s, when I was living in Boston, the record store of choice for classical music fans was the Harvard Coop. It had an extensive catalog and informed salespeople eager to offer invariably strong opinions on which albums to buy. I’d often bump into friends and fellow musicians, all of us flipping through bins of LPs. After making a purchase I’d have to squeeze yet more shelf space out of my cramped apartment, but I was pleased at my growing home library. Then, in 1982, CDs arrived. Slowly everyone started converting from 12-inch vinyl LPs to four-and-a-half-inch plastic CDs in jewel-box cases that required a completely different storage setup. And what were you supposed to do with your old LPs? Now the cycle has repeated itself, with CD sales dwindling to a fraction of their heights a couple of decades ago. Download and streaming services have taken hold, and physical discs have become obsolete. After all, with everything available online, why clutter up your living space?

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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