In rotation: 12/17/20

Minneapolis, MN | When one record store closes, other windows open: Like many during COVID, Minneapolis shop owner Colin Wilkinson has experienced ups and downs. But after closing Dead Media, a hole-in-the-wall record shop stacked with all things analog, this past spring, Wilkinson is starting fresh with two new ventures. Through finishing the journey for one business and starting another, Wilkinson says he can’t help but be optimistic about the future. Dead Media was tucked alongside 35th Street on the south side of Minneapolis. Those who had the chance to visit likely remember the shop’s sloping wooden floor or the old door that flung open with a Minnesota winter breeze and led to a treasure trove of books, records and cassettes. Others lucky enough to attend a Record Day at Dead Media might even be familiar with the shop’s bunker-like basement overflowing with records. Now the records have been transferred to Wilkinson’s new, mostly digital, shop, Disco Death Records. Wilkinson said with the uncertainty of businesses reopening and Dead Media’s lease up for renewal, it seemed safer to close up shop.

Palm Springs, CA | ‘Closing on a high note’: Record Alley will end 42-year run in desert: Record Alley owner Jim Stephens is closing his store at Westfield Palm Desert after 42 years in the business. Music royalty — including Alice Cooper, Barry Manilow and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top —dropped in during desert visits. Josh Homme of Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age also grew up shopping at Record Alley. “We have a lot of loyal customers and I feel for them. They’re going to be sad, but I think somebody is going to pick up the slack,” Stephens said. “We’re closing on a high note and that is good, so we’re kind of like ‘Seinfeld,’ which ended when they were at their peak.” Stephens said his decision to close came amid lease problems with Westfield Palm Desert after a four-month shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic, and also his wife’s health problems. “My wife is on biologic infusions and has immune issues, so we have to be careful about that. We’re not able to work in the store anymore and that creates a problem,” Stephens said. Record Alley will start a 50% off sale on Dec. 28 and close in late January.

Roswell, GA | Mojo Vinyl: Reader-Nominated Businesses Of The Year: Roswell’s Best. Mojo Vinyl sells new and used vinyl, turntables, posters and books along with other record related material. Owner Rand Cabus has for years worked diligently to build a local record store that welcomes anyone and everyone to share in the love of music no matter what genre. Now in its fourth iteration and location (36 Woodstock Street) Mojo Vinyl is more than just a local business, it has become a gathering place for individuals throughout the greater Atlanta area to come together on a regular basis to share in their love of music in general and music on vinyl specifically. While the challenges of a pandemic have made it more difficult, Rand has responded with guidance from the CDC and kept both new and existing customers safe. Rand is always looking for new ideas and events to participate in to promote not only his business but also to celebrate the greater Roswell community and I think that sort of dedication should be recognized and celebrated. His commitment to that ideal consistently draws increasing numbers of people from other communities to Roswell where they then shop and ultimately take a positive impression of Roswell back to their own communities driving even more traffic to Roswell.

Louisville, KY | Better Days Records relocates second shop in Louisville to bigger location: An iconic record shop in Louisville is moving to a new location. Better Days Records has been on Bardstown Road in the Highlands for more than 30 years. But the shop is getting settled in its new digs not too far away on Barret Avenue. The owner, Ben Jones, said he needed more space to expand, and this new store more than doubles the size of the old one. Jones said this allows him to bring all of his merchandise that’s been in storage out in one place. The large, open floor plan allows customers to feel safe inside the store and social distance, Jones said. With current pandemic guidelines, the store can allow up to 25 people inside at once. Jones said business was slowing down before the coronavirus hit, but more people are taking an interest in vinyl with the extra free time stuck at home. “Even though the world has stopped a bit, we’re prepared for when it starts back up again with this new store,” said Jones. Better Days Records has a second location at Lyle’s Mall, and there are no plans to move or close that shop.

Vinyl sales in U.S. hit all-time high with almost 1.3 million records sold in one week: Record Store Day and Black Friday helped sales to reach a historic peak. …According to a report from Billboard, which was based on data from Nielsen Music/MRC Data, 1.253 million vinyl albums were sold in one week in the US – surpassing the 1.243 million sold a year earlier in the week ending 26th December 2019 and marking the largest sales week in recorded history since electronic tracking began in 1991. Record Store Day limited-editions and Black Friday promotions at independent record stores helped to bolster the sales week, with independent physical store sales accounting for 542,000 vinyl LPs sold. The report also states that the sale of vinyl LPs at mass merchants including Walmart and Target, as well as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, contributed to the new high for the week ending 3rd December. Vinyl sales in the UK are also on track to hit a three-decade high this year, with projections for sales of the format to rake in £100 million by the end of 2020.

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