Category Archives: A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 1/24/20

Gloucestershire, UK | Vinyl record store closes: A popular music shop which has grown a loyal fan base in the Five Valleys and beyond has closed its doors for the last time. Sanctuary Music made the announcement on Facebook and its following 50 per cent off sale to move on its stock saw the business almost cleaned out. Ash Hunt and Adrian Coubrough, who ran the haven for vinyl record-lovers from the shop on the Nailsworth Mills Estate, posted a message to customers on their social media channel. “A huge THANK YOU to all of our loyal customers! News of our closing down spread far and wide and our 50 per cent sale has gone so well that we have sold out of ALL new vinyl! What is left of our pre-owned records will be going to Stroud Auctions for their next sale of Vinyl on 1st April,” said the Facebook post. The message followed the initial shock news earlier this month: “We are very sad to announce that after a period of uncertainty due to personal circumstances, Sanctuary Music will be closing down…

Melbourne, AU | Melbourne’s Polyester Records to close after 37 years: Polyester Records, one of Melbourne’s most beloved and longest-running record stores, has announced it will cease operations this coming March. In a statement posted to its social media accounts yesterday (January 22), the store’s management noted there were “many mixed emotions” about their time coming to a close after nearly four decades of service. “Polyester has endured in its Fitzroy home for an extraordinary period since 1983,” it reads. The store goes on to note “fond memories of the celebration of a seemingly endless amount of incredible music,” brought to them care of “[a]rtists, labels and personalities which we have surrounded ourselves with and enjoyed involvement with from not only around the world, but – particularly important for us and our community – from within Melbourne music.” …While the official closing date will be Friday, March 13, Polyester has also announced that “a series of very special event announcements to celebrate our history” are to come…

Chicago, IL | New Hegewisch Record Store Would Let Neighbors Listen To Music, Drink Coffee — If Owner Can Get It Funded: Owner Kevin Beauchamp wanted the store to be a place where music lovers can gather and share their interests. Tucked away at the southeast corner of Chicago, the working-class Hegewisch neighborhood isn’t known for record stores or coffee shops — but if Kevin Beauchamp has his way, that’s just what’s coming to the area. Beauchamp hopes his tentatively named Katalyst Coffee Lounge/Music Gallery at 13257 S. Baltimore Ave. will give residents a place they can listen to albums together while enjoying coffee. Beauchamp hopes to have it open by Hegewisch Fest on Aug. 1. The concept for the cafe and store has evolved over time, reflecting Beauchamp’s interests and his desire to reflect the needs of the community. Beauchamp originally planned for a record store only, but agreed to add a coffee shop component at the urging of the Hegewisch Business Association. Although not a Chicago native, Beauchamp grew up in the city and has lived “all over” the North and South sides. He runs the Woodlawn-based Katalyst Entertainment independent jazz and world music record label, which grew out of his experience as a house music DJ.

Washington, DC | DC Is Getting a Hotel With a Record Store, a Rotating Lineup of DJs, and Food by the Timber Pizza Co. Team: Starting in March, the Wink Hotel in the West End will become Yours Truly. There’s a new hotel concept coming to DC that’s jockeying for a spot alongside places like the Line and Eaton, which aren’t just high-end spots to stay but also spaces for locals to grab a meal or take a yoga class. Launching in March, Yours Truly is the new concept replacing the existing Wink Hotel in the West End. And it has many of the traits that have almost become de-facto in boutique hotels these days: an open-concept “living room” instead of a lobby, popular local chefs manning the dining space, yoga classes in the courtyard and, yes, Insta-friendly plants. (It’s also pet-friendly.) …The open main floor will flow into Mercy Me, the all-day, South American-inspired restaurant and bar from the Timber Pizza and Call Your Mother team. Also in the “living room:” the first DC location of Uncle Tony’s Donut Shoppe, an Orlando used-and-new vinyl store. Visitors can shop for records, as well as record players, headphones, and other gear. A rotating list of DJs will come into the store to spin, says Segal, and their music will be piped throughout the hotel.

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In rotation: 1/23/20

Corvallis, OR | Best of 2020: Corvallis music stores: First place: Happy Trails. Happy Trails is Corvallis, Ore.’s most beloved vintage music shop. Upon walking in, the walls are covered with posters and records, CD’s fill the narrow hallways and music is always playing. The store has been open since 1973 and the current owners bought it and 1988. The store offers 12-inch vinyl, cassettes, stickers, t-shirts, trades, collectables and more. Located on the corner of Third Street and Monroe Avenue. Dave Trenkel has worked at Happy Trails for decades and has seen the store change and become what it is today. He works a few evenings a week and enjoys picking out what record he’s going to throw on the record player each day. He was stumped when trying to come up with his top three favorite band of all time. “You have to understand, I’ve been an avid music collector for over 40 years, that’s kind of an impossible question,” Trenkel said. “Well I’m currently listening to Miles Davis, he’d probably be there, King Crimson, gosh I don’t know, it’s so hard. The Weather Report, maybe.”

Mankato, MN | Music Man: Carl Nordmeier gives customers more than music, he gives them an experience. On the corner of Rock Street and Riverfront Drive in Old Town Mankato sits the only shop in town dedicated to selling vinyl records. TuneTown’s owner, Carl Nordmeier, is a veteran of the music sales business, working in the music department at Target for years before the birth of the record store in his home town of Faribault, Minnesota, in 1993. It was his passion for music that inspired the now-26-year-old business. As many Americans do, Nordmeier saw an opportunity in the area and seized it. “What got me into the business, growing up in that area, there really wasn’t anything available for record stores,” says Nordmeier. “We had to go up to the Twin Cities if I wanted to go to a decent record store. Faribault only had a Walmart, and there was a music-instrument shop that sold CDs and tapes on the side, so there wasn’t a whole lot of competition.” Nordmeier capitalized on the wave of music censorship pushed by the Parents Music Resource Center during the mid-1980s and early ‘90s. He says Walmart’s decision to only carry “clean” albums opened a door for his store to sell music deemed “explicit” by advocates of a more “family-friendly” industry.

Lawrenceville, GA | Third annual Lawrenceville Record Show brings back memories for many: Brad Erbesfield has been buying records for four or five years now. The Athens resident said he collects so many, that the only furniture he buys from Ikea is for his records. On Saturday, despite some light rain, he took the opportunity while visiting family in the area to stop by the third annual Lawrenceville Record Show at Slow Pour Brewing Company. The record show was hosted by Slow Pour’s next-door neighbor, Depot Records, which is owned by Tony and Stacey Seminara. Depot Records opened in Lawrenceville about four years ago. “We do it partially to offer service for vinyl fans,” Tony said about the record show. “It’s basically a convenient place to shop, especially for more pricier records, harder to find records, and enjoy some fine craft beer.” Tony estimated there were about 10,000 albums for sale at the show on Saturday. They came from about seven local dealers in the Atlanta area, as well as one from South Carolina. “I hope that everybody here this evening gets to sit in their living room with a new piece of vinyl that they purchased today just enjoying the evening,” Tony said. “For me personally, and I believe a lot of people here would agree, there’s just a warmness to the music when you play it on vinyl.”

Bronx, NY | This Bronx Restaurant Pays Tribute to Hip-Hop & the Black and Latino Kids Who Created the Genre: When you first open the door at 135 Alexander Ave., you seemingly find yourself in a vinyl record shop. Filled with posters of Bob Marley, LL Cool J and Wu Tang Clan as well as a Casio keyboard with a missing key, it’s not unlike other record stores. But when you get to the tall red velvet curtain directly across the entrance, the muffled music playing behind it invites you to cross the threshold. Four MTV Cribs-esque chandeliers shed light on the scene: A crowd forms as the DJ dances to a Migos song. Beside them, a group of friends laughs hysterically as they pour a glass of mouth-watering sangria, reminiscing about the good old days while sharing plates of crispy chicken, perfectly melted mac ‘n’ cheese,locrio and tres golpes. This is Beatstro⁠ – the Bronx’s first hip-hop restaurant.

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In rotation: 1/22/20

Nailsworth, UK | Popular record shop Sanctuary Music in Nailsworth has closed: A popular record shop in Nailsworth has closed ‘due to personal circumstances’. The closure of Sanctuary Music, in Nailsworth Mills Estate, was announced on Facebook. Owners Ash Hunt and Adrian Coubrough posted: “We are very sad to announce that after a period of uncertainty due to personal circumstances, Sanctuary Music will be closing down. “We are so grateful for all the fantastic support we’ve had from everyone in Nailsworth and the local area over the past two years.” The shop specialised in vintage, rare and contemporary vinyl and music memorabilia, and was a magnet for vinyl lovers. Following the announcement of the closure, the shop’s Facebook page was flooded with messages of sadness at the news and support for the owners.

Shawnee, KS | Review: Brothers Music KC: With the vinyl industry seemingly being resurrected from the dead after not doing much since the late ‘70s, it is important to know where to go when looking for records. After getting my very own record player, I had no idea where to look to find some records at a decent price. It just so happened that just down the street from where I work was Brothers Music KC. This store is located in the heart of downtown Mission, Kansas right on Johnson Drive which is an easy drive for students living in the Mill Valley area. When looking for a record store, you really must take into consideration how is the store laid out because it needs to be easy to find what you want and do the employees have the ability to help you find what you are looking for if you need some help.

Las Vegas, NV | On The Record shines in 1st-anniversary fete on Las Vegas Strip: One of the VIP guests showed up with a shiner, but Jonnie and Mark Houston made it through the night unscathed. The party-purveying twin brothers celebrated the first anniversary of On The Record speakeasy and club at Park MGM late Saturday. The event also served as the site of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone’s post-UFC 246 party. Cerrone arrived with his wife, Lindsay. He also showed up with a purple welt under his left eye, a parting gift from Conor McGregor from T-Mobile Arena earlier in the night. The zestful Houston brothers, and their multileveled nightspot, have been a column favorite since the club opened in December 2018. Love the 1963 Bristol Lodekka double-decker bus converted into a DJ booth, the vinyl parlor with real albums, and the speakeasy room lined with vintage cassette tapes.

Wrexham, UK | Wrexham film and music shop will be ‘sorely missed’ say shoppers and residents: Readers say a ‘great store’ will be ‘sorely missed’ after a long-standing Wrexham trader announced plans to close his shop. The Leader reported last week how Alun Hughes, owner of the popular Alun Hughes Film, Music and Nostalgia shop on Bank Street, will be closing his business at the end of February. Social media users shared their views on the Leader’s Facebook page. Robert Fell said: “Good luck Alun, with what ever you do. “Always put your heart and soul into things. Top man.” Ian Purviss posted: “A great store that will be sorely missed. I remember buying Guns N’ Roses cassette single from you all them years ago when it was Phase One – the most diverse record store I have ever known. Good luck Alun.” John Griffiths said: “All the best Alun, and wish ya all the luck in the world.”

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In rotation: 1/21/20

Tokyo, JP | Vinyl shopping in Tokyo: Building a record collection in this day and age can often be a daunting and expensive experience. Aside from picking up new issues or reprints from your neighbourhood record store or via online vendors, one is often at the mercy of used record traders. Of course, one can always opt for buying used records off Discogs. My personal experience on the Discogs record trading platform has been a mixed bag. Some trades with above-board vendors have been most pleasant but I’ve also received records which were tagged as NM (Near Mint) with clear scratches from unscrupulous vendors. Thus, the appeal of record shopping in Japan. There is a proliferation of high quality, well-cared-for used records available there. On my first visit to Japan, I spent a fair bit of time exploring record stores in various parts of Tokyo. It was great fun but also tiring as the stores were geographically spread out and not easy to get to. So, if your permissible time for record store visits is limited, focus your attention on two areas within Greater Tokyo; namely Shinjuku and Shibuya.

Saint Paul, MN | The best vinyl record outlets in Saint Paul: Looking to score vinyl records? Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top vinyl record sources in Saint Paul, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of where to venture next time you’re in the market for vinyl records. Hoodline offers data-driven analysis of local happenings and trends across cities. Links included in this article may earn Hoodline a commission on clicks and transactions. 1. Caydence Records and Coffee: First on the list is Caydence Records and Coffee. Located at 900 Payne Ave. in Payne Phalen, the spot to score coffee and tea and vinyl records is the highest-rated vinyl record spot in Saint Paul, boasting 4.5 stars out of 36 reviews on Yelp.

Salina, KS | Main Street Kansas: From digital to original, Salina record company presses into the future: What was once a mass-market music medium is now making its comeback, topping its competition. The Recording Industry Association of America projects records will top CD sales for the first time, which one Salina business owner credits to the musical wonders that are vinyl records, not CDs. “In 1984 the CD came out and I started collecting records at the same time,” said Chad Kassem, owner of Quality Record Pressings. “The whole world was getting out of vinyl and everybody going towards CD, but I kept collecting vinyl and I went in the opposite direction than the rest of the world.” Kassem’s company has been going strong for more than three decades. He says despite the digital era, his company hasn’t seen any signs of business slowing down. “The younger people are rediscovering album covers and they are liking to collect, It’s kind of trendy and a cool thing,” said Kassem. “It’s like new to them, it’s like wow, this is cool, the records are cool.”

Glasgow, UK | Record store embraces censorship, bans Morrissey: Yet another woke record store has decided to ban British pop icon Morrissey from its shelves. This time, the Glasgow Evening Times reports that Glasgow’s “Monorail Music said it would continue to sell records by the Smiths but ‘like many of our colleagues’ would not be selling the singer’s 13th studio album, ‘I am not a dog on a chain.’” This follows last year’s indie music store ban on Morrissey’s last album, “California Son.” Cardiff’s Spillers, which calls itself “the oldest record shop in the world,” declined to carry the record in retaliation for Morrissey’s political views. These views include support for Brexit, saying that the word “racist” is meaningless because it’s used so liberally, and that crime in London cannot be properly dealt with if the perpetrators are viewed as victims…Fans know that Morrissey being able to speak his mind means that they are free to speak theirs, to hold opposing views, and to still listen to the new tracks Morrissey releases with consistent quality year after year.

These are the best album covers of 2019: Every January, ArtVinyl reveals the winners of its best album art poll – which this year has been won by covers for Klone, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Efterklang. 40 years ago, the album was vinyl. Since then we’ve been through the takeovers of tapes, CDs and now streaming – with vinyl making resurgence and now the happy coexistence of digital and vinyl for different audiences. But through the format wars the 12-inch vinyl album cover has remained the artistic canvas of choice – challenged perhaps by T-shirts and gig posters, but those don’t asked to contemplated while you listen intently to a series of songs in order. Vinyl albums also make perfect artworks, which is why Art Vinyl sells frames to display your favourites – and celebrating the best new covers every year is good marketing for their products too.

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In rotation: 1/17/20

San Antonio, TX | Flip Side Record Parlor Owner Clarisa Peña Has Died, Creating Questions About Longtime Music Store’s Future: Clarisa Peña, the owner of Flip Side Record Parlor, died Monday, leaving questions about the fate of the 46-year-old South Side independent music and memorabilia store. The mother of two had been battling colon cancer, according to Facebook posts, and the disease had metastasized to her liver, lungs and brain. Peña’s daughter, Jessica Erevia, has not decided whether to keep the store in operation, News4 reports. Her mother didn’t leave a will. “Honestly, it’s something that I’m still praying about and, still, I wish I could talk to her about it,” Erevia told the news station. The Current was unable to reach Erevia for immediate comment Wednesday. “Thank you for being the best mom I could ever ask for,” Erevia wrote on her Facebook page. “There are so many things I wish I could talk to you about, things we still needed to do together, but I know your spirit will never leave me.”

Chicago, IL | Interstellar Space brings far-out old records to Lincoln Square: Michael Gaertner has been buying music for so long that he had to start selling it to make room for more—and yes, he’ll talk to you for an hour about those Pharoah Sanders LPs. A week before Christmas, Michael Gaertner opened his new shop, Interstellar Space Used and Rare Records, for the first time. But he didn’t make a production of it: he just strolled over to his sparsely decorated Lincoln Square storefront, on Montrose just west of Damen. “I didn’t tell anyone,” he says. “I just opened the door, and people in the neighborhood started walking in. It was like a Field of Dreams kind of thing.” A few days after Christmas, he got as close to making a formal announcement as he has so far: he posted a photo of the storefront on his Instagram account, which now bears the shop’s name. He’d previously used the handle “Vinyl Voyage” to share exquisitely clean photos of rare LPs and cassettes he found on record digs across the country, along with occasional photos of the shops he’s visited—Antone’s in Austin, Record City in Las Vegas, Planet Score Records in Saint Louis, Euclid Records in New Orleans. “Buying records is my passion,” Gaertner says. “I had to start selling records, ’cause I don’t want to stop buying records. Buying records is the fun part.”

Birmingham, AL | Say goodbye to Charlemagne; Birmingham’s oldest record store closed Wednesday: For more than 40 years, music has been flowing from Charlemagne records in Five Points. It’s been a staple since 1977, but now it’s time to say goodbye. The store is officially closing for good on Wednesday January 15th. Well wishers, supporters, and bargain hunters all flowing through the doors on Tuesday. “I am sad to see it go. It’s a local institution, I just want to support it and get some deals, everything is a dollar or 50 cents. I hate to loose this piece of the community,” says Burgin Mathews. He’s been shopping at Charlemagne for 15 years. “Charlemagne is as old as I am, It opened the year I was born, i started coming here when I moved Birmingham 15 years ago, and the first thing I did was find Charlemagne.” Says Mathews. The owner, Marian McKay, announced the store’s closing back in December. She is a musician herself, and her love of music comes through in the store’s décor and ambiance. She’s inviting everyone who loves the store to come say goodbye, and celebrate its story as the doors close for the last time. She will be performing at the store from 5:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on January 15th, with the celebration continuing afterwards at Brennan’s Irish pub across the street.

Austin, TX | Daniel Johnston’s ‘Hi, How Are You’ mural endures as construction reshapes Austin: It started with a simple request. “They gave Daniel Johnston, a local musician, $90, a ladder, a paint brush, and said do what you want to do,” said Hi, How Are You Project co-founder Tom Gimbel. At the corner of 21st and Guadalupe, the singer-songwriter painted on the exterior wall of an indie record store Sound Exchange one of his cassette covers — a frog-like creature and the words: Hi How Are You? “It was a record that came out in 1983,” explained Gimbel. The image got international notoriety when Nirvana’s front man Kurt Cobain wore it to the 1992 VMA’s. “Cobain was known to like Daniel’s music,” said Gimbel. But the frog remains closes to Austinites. It’s where fans connected when Johnston died last year at the age of 58 of natural causes, according to his family. “It’s become this unofficial friendly ambassador for Austin…”

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In rotation: 1/16/20

Lawrenceville, GA | Calling all vinyl lovers to the brewery: Annual Lawrenceville record show set for this Saturday, Jan. 18 from 12pm – 5pm. Depot Records is getting ready to rock out this weekend with their third annual record show. The shop located in the Depot District of Lawrenceville launched the event three years ago to promote area vendors and those passionate about vinyl records. The show will take place right next door to the shop at Slow Pour Brewing Company on North Clayton Street. The event is free for attendees and will last until 5pm. Booths featuring vinyl records, cassettes, and other music memorabilia will be set up throughout the day. Featured beers will also be available for purchase at Slow Pour Brewery. Vendors interested in setting up a booth can rent an 8-foot table for $50 and pay $40 for each additional table. Depot Records is located at 470 North Clayton St., Suite 200, Lawrenceville. The store is open on weekends only — from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Chicago, IL | Longtime Reckless Records buyer Jim Magas quits to spend more time with his music: If you’re a Chicago record hound, you’ve probably bought an LP from Jim Magas: in the early 2000s he co-owned Weekend Records & Soap, and for the past 15 years he’s been slinging wax at the Wicker Park Reckless Records. But late last month, Magas announced that he’s leaving the record-store life—his last day at Reckless is Saturday, January 18. “I’ve absolutely loved all my years behind the counter, but I feel like I’ve got a lot of potential and want to challenge myself in new ways,” Magas says. He’s also a fixture on the midwestern experimental scene, and he owns the label Midwich Productions—pursuits he’d like to devote more of himself to. “Creatively, I feel like I’m firing on all cylinders, and I want to see where that energy takes me. I just want total freedom to pursue what life has to offer.” His first album as James Marlon Magas drops via Midwich in the spring.

Plastics News: Kickstart: The vinyl revolution, now available in hotels: Back in 2007, I interviewed a record store owner about the unexpected resurgence of vinyl records. Steve Bergman, who owned Schoolkids Records in Ann Arbor, Mich., for 31 years, said: “Vinyl is still the most romantic manifestation of music that you’ve got out there.” Sales have only climbed since then — growing 131.8 percent 2011-12 even prompting machinery makers to begin producing equipment specifically to make vinyl albums. Here in Detroit, Jack White’s Third Man Record began producing vinyl albums on new Newbilt Machinery presses in 2017. So would vinyl tempt you to pick one hotel over another? Clarion Highlander Hotel in Iowa City, Iowa, is including a record player in every room as part of a renovation. When you check in, you can also check out vinyl albums from the hotel’s front desk, according to a new story from The Gazette. Vinyl not your thing? That’s OK. The record player also has bluetooth so you could stream your music instead.

Tool’s Fear Inoculum was the best-selling rock record of 2019: When Tool released Fear Inoculum last year after 13 years of false-starts, rumors, and conjecture, the rock world knew it would be a massive hit. That said, the album was coming out in the same year as huge records from Slipknot and Rammstein, making it part of a crop of big-name releases. But now, a new report shows that Fear Inoculum not only sold more than those albums, it was the best-selling rock album of last year. A report by BuzzAngle Music about consumer trends within the music industry showed that Fear Inoculum was easily the top-selling rock album of 2019, coming in as the #8 best-selling album of the year with 344,285 albums sold, which only came up short of artists like Billie Eilish and BTS. The next-closest rock album on the list was Queen, who came in at #15 and #18 for the Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack and their Greatest Hits album respectively. That said, Queen’s Greatest Hits came in at #3 on the Vinyl Album Sales list.

Los Angeles, CA | Innovative Leisure Records celebrates 10-year anniversary: From Jamie Strong / co-founder Innovative Leisure Records: “There was a time in the not so distant past when Nate Nelson & I decided to leave our well paid jobs and health insurance working for a legendary label (Stones Throw Records), in order to explore greener pastures – aka starting our own label. At first, we were working out of an apartment in the un-gentrified era of Echo Park, packing up orders of artists that nobody ever heard of in an unbearably hot month-to-month storage unit. No seed money… no salary and no health insurance. At least we had a pocket full of drink tickets from The Echo and a vision to pursue what we believed in. That good music can come in all forms… psych-rock to soul, house to hip-hop, jazz to electronica. Our ethos was as long as we continued to put out the music and artists that we believed in, the business side of things would work itself out. Shortly thereafter, Hanni El Khatib left his job as Creative Director for skate/streetwear brand HUF to focus full-time on music and partner up with us. Welcome to the pillars of Innovative Leisure Records…”

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In rotation: 1/15/20

Dallas, TX | Remembering Dallas record store icon Bill Wisener: The Eccentric And Memorable Owner Of Dallas’ Legendary Bill’s Records Was Found Dead In His Shop Over The Weekend. He Was 75 Years Old. Bill Wisener was found dead inside of the iconic Dallas record store that bore his name on Saturday morning. According to the Dallas Morning News, his body was discovered by a customer who showed up to his Lamar Street shop at around 11 a.m. looking to buy some records. But the doors to the store were locked, and, through the windows, the customer could see the iconic shop owner slumped in his usual spot behind the checkout counter. Paramedics arrived shortly thereafter and confirmed the worst — that Wisener, who had taken to sleeping in his store in recent years and whose health had deteriorated of late after a long life spent consuming cigarettes and Diet Coke at remarkable rates, had passed overnight. He was 75 years old. News of his passing spread immediately, and throughout the weekend, on social media.

Portland, OR | Where We Live: Portland leads vinyl record resurgence: Younger generations are helping drive vinyl record sales past CD sales. Vinyl records are making a big comeback and Portland is leading the resurgence. Vinyl records were on track to outsell CDs in 2019 for the first time since 1986. But in Portland, the popularity of vinyl never really faded. Jackpot Records in Portland’s funky Hawthorne District is one of the businesses helping vinyl remain a viable source of music. Shop owner Isaac Slusarenko said Jackpot Records has seen firsthand the steadily growing demand for vinyl records. “When we opened, we had about 50% vinyl, 50% CDs,” he said. “And now, we’re about 80% vinyl, 20% CDs.” The number of vinyl sales is rising but 80% of consumers still get their music through digital downloads. Still, more and more audiophiles are going old school. Slusarenko said the preference of vinyl over digital files is comparable to a physical book versus a Kindle publication. “I love being able to read lyrics and song titles and hold it — it just becomes something that you have an experience with,” he said. “And there’s a lot of great Portland bands that put out music on vinyl, too.”

Laconia, NH | The vinyl countdown: Records on the rebound: The phonograph record dates back to the 19th century, and is one of Thomas Edison’s contributions to modern life. Phonographs dominated the recorded music market for decades, until cassettes and compact discs came onto the scene. But like his light bulbs, phonograph records are proving to be one of Edison’s enduring inventions. MP3 players, and then streaming music services, spelled the end of the CD’s dominance. The phonograph never went away, though, and vinyl is again on the rise. The Recording Industry Association of America has been reporting an increase in vinyl record sales since 2006, with the most recent revenue report showing $224 million in sales in the first half of 2019. Why would Americans spend so much on new vinyl records when streaming services allow for instant access to just about any music, and for free in some cases? There’s just no replacing the experience of listening to music on a vinyl record, said Dan Mack. “Certain things open up and sound better,” said Mack, a member of the Michael Vincent Band. He’s been a vinyl aficionado for years, and over the past two years has sought to capitalize on the renewed interest in the centuries-old technology through his business, NH Vintage Vinyl, which buys and sells used vinyl records.

Big Star’s First Two Albums Reissued, Analog Remastered Vinyl: Like a lot of you out there in audiophile-land (and record collecting land for that matter), I have never had an “original” pressing of the now-revered and once-ignored first albums by indie rock legends Big Star. They were hard to find in 1972 and only became more sought after as the group grew in stature in the 1980s. So after years of CD-only listening I jumped at an opportunity a number of years ago to get some vinyl reissues of Big Star’s #1 Record and Radio City when I saw them going for about twelve bucks each at Amoeba Music. Upon playing them, I was not thrilled. Immediately those rumors I’d heard that vinyl records were being mastered off of CDs came to mind. It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t revelatory and the pressings were noisy. I could not play them loudly as they sounded harsh and — well — digital, a trebly texture that taxes my ears. This was especially evident when I came to the gorgeous song “Thirteen” which were plagued by distortion and other groove noise.

Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack Is the 3rd Highest Selling Vinyl Record of the Decade: James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 soundtrack is the third highest selling vinyl record of the decade. The director shared the surprising news on social media after Nielson Music SoundScan released their end of the decade report. Records have come back in a major way over the past ten years for music fans who like to hold something tangible in their hands as opposed to streaming and the mostly-dead world of CDs. Nielsen Music SoundScan is an information and sales tracking system that tracks music and video sales in the United States and Canada. The data is collected weekly and the decade list was just revealed. The list finds that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has found itself as a big contender in the vinyl business. James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy is the third highest selling vinyl album in the last ten years, which is pretty big. It’s only behind The Beatles’ Abbey Road and Pink Floyd’s iconic Dark Side of the Moon album.

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In rotation: 1/14/20

Madison, WI | Record store resurgence: vinyl sales jump as old tech trend grows: There are more streaming services than ever before in 2020. With a slew of options to listen to music, the comeback of a classic form of technology might make people scratch their heads. The Recording Industry Association of America estimates vinyl to outsell CD’s in 2019. Southern Wisconsin record store owners say they are happy they never got rid of vinyl, because it’s consuming most of their sales. MadCity Music is among that group of stores. It has been in Madison since 1981. Current owner, Dave Zero, credits the community for their strong support to buy local and admiration of music. “It [vinyl] makes up most of our sales,” Zero said. MadCity Music has always sold vinyl, but Zero didn’t expect it to come back as strong as it has in the past decade. He says their number one selling artist isn’t a classic, it’s a new artist, Taylor Swift. Drew Metter, the manager at Janesville’s Exclusive Company can relate to Zero. He said their number one vinyl selling artist has been Billie Ellish.

Columbia, SC | Music lovers keep vinyl alive: USC student Jesse Milliff set one of her favorite vinyl records, “Signs of Light” by The Head and The Heart, on her black turntable. “When I wake up in the morning,” the first song began. “I see nothing / for miles and miles and miles.” The record is one of more than 200 she has in wooden crates on her bedroom floor. Milliff, a third-year business management student, started listening to vinyl because of her dad. “He showed me all of his records,” she said, sitting under a Beatles poster next to her turntable. “I think Beatles ‘65 was the first one I listened to.” Milliff is among a large number of people who listen to vinyl records. Nationally, vinyl record sales have increased every year since 2005, reaching over $419 million in 2018, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Vinyl sales are expected to surpass CD sales this year, in part because of vinyl’s increasing popularity, but also because of a steep drop in CD sales, according to RIAA. In an age when the music industry is ruled by streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, vinyl has made its comeback. To be sure, vinyl sales still pale in comparison to those services, but the attraction is visceral and emotional.

Cumming, GA | Local bands rally around His Rock Music record store: Friends of the music store are planning a benefit concert to help rebuild the shop’s inventory. Local bands are now coming together to rock out and rally around a beloved record shop. A benefit concert is now in the works to help His Rock Music following a fire last Friday that destroyed the shop’s entire inventory. Several supporters of the music score are organizing the Feb 8th concert that will be held at the Ponce De Leon Music Center in Cumming off 1060 Dahlonega Highway. Lead concert coordinator and former His Rock Music performer, Rachael Nintzel said the studio has impacted so many people in the Atlanta music scene, “It’s more than just a central part of Cumming. Like yes, it’s a staple in Cumming, Georgia. But in the Atlanta and Georgia music scene, it’s where many bands got their start. “God called on me and said you need to do something. And the first thing that popped into my head was a benefit concert. There’s no better way to serve someone that has given us a space to hone on our talents than to showcase those talents,” adds Nintzel.

Los Angeles, CA | An Audiophile’s Guide to Visiting Los Angeles: A few weeks ago, we published an article here at that asked the question: in order to be a well-informed, seasoned audiophile do you have to travel? For many, the answer is “yes,” as so many traditional brick & mortar stereo stores and regional AV chains have gone the way of the dodo. Replacing said retailers are often pretty mundane big-box retailers, non-audiophile-centric custom installation firms, and online retailers that, while compelling, can’t offer that old-school and often very appreciated in-store experience. AR-1-12-capitol-records-building450.jpgA willingness to travel gives you access to a growing number of regional audiophile shows, like AXPONA, Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, Capital Audio Fest, shows around Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, San Francisco, and–if you’re willing to make the occasional international jaunt, Munich. But if you don’t have a ton of frequent-flier miles nor the budget to make so many trips in a year, you can get a lot done with one relatively affordable plane ticket to a big city such as Los Angeles and experience the best of what the city has to offer for people who are looking to invest in their audiophile systems as well as have a great time.

Official Top 100 biggest selling vinyl albums of the decade: It was the decade vinyl came back in from the cold – who’s been gracing turntables the most in the 2010s? One of the most remarkable music trends of the 2010s has been the resurgence of a format once seen as obsolete. Since vinyl ceased to become the dominant physical format in the 1980s, fandom of the black plastic was restricted to DJs and collectors, with the odd enthusiast poring over stacks of vinyl in local record shops. In the last decade, however, vinyl has made a comeback. it’s now more widely available than it has been in years – you can even buy vinyl albums in supermarkets. The vinyl revival led Official Charts to launch the Official Vinyl Albums and Singles Charts, which are updated every week. There’s been a demand from some fans to hear vintage albums on the format they were originally recorded for, which has led to an increasing fondness by artists to reissue classics on vinyl, sometimes on very collectable limited editions, such as coloured discs or double LP sets with extra content.

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In rotation: 1/13/20

Newport, RI | After six decades, iconic Newport store Music Box closes: When the final bell rang, Rob Lasky can recall taking the short walk from Thompson Middle School to the Music Box, where he would help his father run the family business. Charlie Lasky opened the record store in 1958 at 136 Thames St., and moved down a few doors down to 158-160 Thames Street in 1971. For decades, it was a popular spot for teenagers to meet up and check out the latest in music — be it doo-wop, rock ‘n’ roll, funk, disco, new wave, grunge or hip-hop. “So many people remember, back in the heyday, the Music Box was the destination to go downtown and meet and hang out. It was for a lot of people,” said Lasky, who worked at the shop alongside brothers Jay and Marc, as well as sister Marcia. But as music became more accessible online, the store in 2015 attempted to change with the times. It dropped the bulk of its CD selection, sold mostly vinyl records and expanded its inventory of toys and knickknacks. “The store is evolving…”

Brisbane, AU | Beloved Brisbane Record Store To Close: “The shoppe as you know it will be closing down here at 680 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley very soon.” A beloved Brisbane record store has announced it will be closing. Phase 4 Records, currently based in Fortitude Valley, shared the news on Facebook yesterday afternoon. “The shoppe as you know it will be closing down here at 680 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley very soon,” the store’s owners wrote. “So whether you might be crying into your hands or clasping them, stay tuned for updates and more detailed speech writing. New stock will still be hitting the floor as per normal as we got a nice swag of LPs in this week.” When approached by The Music, co-owner Julie Morrison confirmed the news but would not comment further. Opened in 2015, Phase 4 Records has become a staple in Brisbane’s vinyl landscape. We spoke to both Morrison and partner Donat Tahiraj, along with some other wax slingers from across the country, for Record Store Day last year about their collection.

Dallas, TX | Man Behind Iconic Dallas Record Store Dies: The Dallas music community lost a giant Saturday when Bill Wisener, the longtime owner of Bill’s Records, was found dead behind the register he’d manned for nearly 40 years. Wisener was a chain-smoker and had battled health issues over the last several years. Though a sign on the door of his South Lamar shop simply stated that the store was closed “due to unforeseen circumstances,” a small tribute started growing as regular customers stopped by to see if the rumors were true. Wisener first opened his store in 1981 on Spring Valley Road in north Dallas. “It was huge. It was the biggest record store you ever saw in your life. It was like an acre. It was just millions of records,” said Creative Director of the Kessler Theater Jeffrey Liles…That’s why several years ago, Liles produced a documentary for Wisener called “The Last Record Store.”

New York, NY | MoMA has opened a gorgeous new record store pop-up: New Yorkers have a new record shop in Soho with dozens of records to set their needles on. Through March 1, the MoMA Design Store at 81 Spring Street will have a special concept space it collaborated on with Williamsburg’s Earwax Records called The Record Shop. The pop-up, which is decorated with color blocks of bright pinks, yellows and greens, is meant to unite music and design in one space in a reflection of 20th century pop culture, MoMA says. Inside, audiophiles will find more than 45 records (Duran Duran, The Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, Miles Davis, Philip Glass) from MoMA’s permanent collection, featuring cover designs by modern artists like Andy Warhol, Raymond Pettibon, Richard Avedon and Robert Frank, all of whom have been featured at MoMA, which just recently reopened after a major renovation. “The best album covers are a compact visual expression or translation of the music they deliver,” Juliet Kinchin, the curator of Modern Design at The Museum of Modern Art, says. “As an art form, they have been attuned to the rapid changes in popular music, fashion and design that can be otherwise difficult to represent cogently in the collection.”

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In rotation: 1/10/20

Frederick, MD | Vinyl revival at Frederick record shops: Streaming is king, but audiophiles are still spinning. On an unseasonably warm Saturday afternoon in January, Mervin Reyz was shopping at Rock and Roll Graveyard in downtown Frederick. The 49-year-old Baltimore resident was perusing through the boxes of vinyl records to supplement a new Christmas gift: a turntable. “One of my good friends, he likes music, and we talk a lot about music turntables and vinyls and it just got me interested,” Reyz said, while already pulling Prince’s “1999” album for possible purchase. Montika Brown, of Frederick, was in the same store also flipping through a collection of LPs. She has built her collection to about 50 albums. “I’m looking for whatever catches my eye or most of the stuff I grew up listening to that was either lost or got messed up,” she said. “I look for a lot of that stuff and some new stuff. Things that may catch my eye that I haven’t seen before or heard before. Sometimes it’s even the cover art will catch my eye and I’ll be like, ‘Ohh, what’s this?”’

Seattle, WA | Dumb Shit Overheard in a Seattle Record Store: Anyone who’s worked in retail can tell you dozens of anecdotes about the boundless idiocy of the general public. Those who toil in record stores are no exception. In fact, the comments that customers in those establishments utter carry an extra frisson of unintentional comedy due to the shifting popularity of recording formats and the aesthetic properties of music itself. Back when I worked at Everyday Music circa 2003-2004, one gentleman asked with sincerity, “Do you carry CDs?” without even noticing the tens of thousands of them sprawled out before him. Yeah. Recently, a Seattle music retail employee shared with me a list titled “Dumb Shit,” which this person’s been compiling for several years. Read these remarks and ROFL, while also weeping for humanity.

Lansdale, PA | Liberty Vinyl Plans To Shut Down In Lansdale: Liberty Vinyl, the record shop located inside Liberty Vapor, is shutting down after they were told no one under 18 can enter. A bit of sad news emerged this week for fans of local music shops. Liberty Vinyl, the unique record store located inside Liberty Vapor, is shutting down after they were told no one under 18 can enter. The record store remains open for the time being, as the entire store is 30 percent off. That includes vinyl, record players, speakers, and clothing, owners announced in a statement issued on social media Monday. “We don’t feel that music should be restricted to adults,” the statement read, in part. “So the choice was made to close the record store.” As of Jan. 1, no one under 18 is allowed to enter due to regulations regarding products sold by Liberty Vapor. On Feb. 1, no one under 21 will be allowed in. An exact final closing date for Liberty Vinyl has not yet been announced.

Boston, MA | Iconic Boston record shop Skippy White’s will play its final tune: An iconic Boston record shop that has been open for 59 years will soon be closing its doors. Skippy White’s, located in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, is going out of business. The shop’s owner and namesake, Skippy White, is a walking music history book with the kind of knowledge you can’t get online. He opened his first record store in 1961. His business survived a fire and decades of new styles of music, and outlasted eight-track tapes, cassettes and CDs. But it could not overcome the rise in streaming. “The record business is not what it used to be,” White said. White announced on Facebook that he will be going out of business, which was disappointing news for hundreds of his loyal customers. “I’ve had people in all day long (Friday), feeling that they love me,” White said. “It’s the rapport I have with people who come into the store.”

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In rotation: 1/9/20

Stoke-on-Trent, UK | City’s HMV store is safe as music retailer warns up to 13 stores could close: The Hanley branch has been left off a list of at risk stores. The city centre’s HMV store has again escaped the axe as the music retailer warned of job losses and the closure of up to 13 stores unless it is able to secure new deals with its landlords. HMV has confirmed that a further three stores will shut at the end of the month, with new tenants already lined up to move into the properties. The High Street giant says another 10 stores are at risk of closure. However, HMV Hanley, based within the intu Potteries Shopping Centre, is not currently in danger. This time last year, the popular city centre store was facing closure after HMV went into administration for the second time in five years. The retailer was rescued when it was acquired from administrators by Canadian company Sunrise Records, owned by music mogul Doug Putman, in a move which saved 100 stores and 1,487 jobs.

Pittsburgh, PA | Longtime Pittsburgh Record Store Closing: The store has been around for nearly 25 years. After nearly a quarter of a century, Dave’s Music Mine on Carson Street in the South Side will be closing soon. A store employee confirmed Tuesday that this week is the last that Dave’s will be open on weekdays, although it is expected to be open on weekends for several months. According to Dave’s website, the store debuted in 1996. Originally called Jerry’s Music Market, the store was located on the second floor next to McDonald’s on Forbes Avenue in Oakland. After expanding to five locations, Dave’s scaled back to just the South Side store in 2008; the Carson Street location has been around since 1999. Dave’s will be at least the third record store in Pittsburgh to go under in the past year. In 2019, Rather Ripped Records in Brookline closed, as did Juke Records, a Bloomfield staple for several decades…

Boise, ID | The More The Better: When the needle drops, it makes for a different kind of listening experience. People get really into vinyl and collectors will scour through stores for hours. More stores makes for more listening options, and now, collectors in Boise have a new record shop to peruse. “Listening to records is an art,” said Derek Anderson, who co-owns Modern Sounds Vinyl and Music with Dave Eggers. “Listening and appreciating and reading the album covers, it creates a better understanding of the music in its entirety, and people listening to CDs aren’t connecting fully to the music.” Modern Sounds Vinyl and Music specializes in vintage vinyl, but carries a little bit of everything. It has a small yet comfortable storefront located at 556 S. Vista Ave. It’s open limited hours until its grand opening slated for early 2020. Anderson and Eggers weren’t sure about the exact date. They both work day jobs and the store is more of a hobby for them—they’re just two guys who love listening to records and they want to share that love with Boise.

London, UK | Put the needle back down: Digital streaming services are leading music fans into a new decade, but the warm and fuzzy tones of the analog past haven’t been quietly fading away. For example, Billie Eilish, the 18-year-old alt-pop superstar who skyrocketed to success in the back half of the 2010s, ended 2019 by releasing a live, direct-to-acetate LP recorded at Jack White’s Third Man Records that was only made available in two American cities, Nashville and Detroit. If you can get your hands on a copy, the disc comes with Eilish’s own hand-drawn art —not a perk fans will get with their Spotify subscription. Eilish is going against the grain (and that’s her MO), but not without tapping into a trend that’s poised to break records in 2020. According to music journalist Alan Cross, who reports weekly music sales on his blog A Journal of Musical Things, Canadians bought 973,891 pieces of brand new vinyl in 2019, an increase of 3.1 per cent compared to the year before. “That’s a healthy 15 per cent of the total number of albums sold,” Cross wrote at the end of December, noting that number doesn’t include used record sales.

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In rotation: 1/8/20

Matador, 4AD, Domino Flee Distributor Amid Massive Vinyl Delays: Rough Trade, Saddle Creek, and more are also departing Warner’s Alternative Distribution Alliance amid widespread complaints about Direct Shot Distributing. Several indie record labels announced today that they’ve parted ways with Warner Music Group’s Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA) and will be working with North Carolina distributor Redeye going forward, Billboard reports. Beggars Group—the collective of labels that includes 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade, Young Turks, and XL—are joined by Domino and Saddle Creek in the move. The labels made the change effective January 1. In April 2019, Warner moved all of its business—including physical product released by ADA indie labels—to the Indiana-based company Direct Shot Distributing. Record stores and retailers have complained about Direct Shot, saying shipments arrive after extensive delays or go missing entirely… “Historically, independent labels have always seen getting records into stores as the first business decision they need to make,” Beggars chairman Martin Mills said in a statement. “But now that physical is such a small and decreasing part of the majors’ business, for indies, to whom physical, and especially vinyl, is so much more important, to partner with the majors for distribution has become arguably anachronistic.”

Record Store Day announces 2020 event date: We’ve officially entered 2020, and our favorite day devoted solely to vinyl is almost here. Record Store Day took to social media today to unveil the 2020 date making us and fellow vinyl lovers all the more stoked for April. “Save the date,” the Record Store Day twitter account posted. “We’re having a party on April 18!” No other information has been released at this time. But if the exclusives are anything like 2019 then we certainly have a lot to anticipate….While each Record Store Day brings us an array of exclusive releases to choose from, last year’s event also presented an exclusive way to play them. Crosley Radio released another trendsetting record player at just three inches. The special edition record player can all be yours for just $70. According to Digital Trends, the record player can only spin vinyl that holds about four minutes of music at a time. (That’s a lot of flipping if you ask us.) Perfect for single tracks and only single tracks, Epitaph and Jack White’s record label, Third Man will be pressing special one-track discs specifically for the launch. Crosley also says that a steady stream of new music for the special turntable is to come from a Japanese vinyl manufacturer.

Edinburgh, UK | ‘Properly gutted’ – shoppers react to sad news HMV at Ocean Terminal will close this month: Those at the store are running an “everything must go” closing down sale before the shop closes for good on 25 January. News that HMV at the Ocean Terminal is set to shut down later this month hasn’t gone down well with shoppers in Leith. The music retailer announced this week that they’d be closing their last remaining Edinburgh store on 25 January. Staff are inviting people in to grab a bargain in the meantime, with an “everything must go” closing down sale now well underway. However news that the store would be no more caused some upset on social media, with several people, including those who run the @ScotsPostPunk Twitter account, saying it’s “the only reason to visit Ocean Terminal.” Mike Huntly posted: “Sorry to hear this, my first thought is for the staff and I hope they get new employment quickly. As a dinosaur that prefers the experience of going into a shop and buying my music/films rather than streaming, it’s getting harder to do. HMV Edinburgh will be missed.”

Bury, UK | ‘HMV is here to stay’ despite store closures says Bury manager: Bosses at a Bury record store have said they are still going strong and will be sticking around after rumours that the shop might be leaving town. Steve Toolan, manager at HMV Bury, took to social media on Saturday to reject fears that the music retailer could be on the verge of shutting. He also thanked loyal HMV customers for their support over a “difficult year”. Speaking to the Bury Times, Mr Toolan said he was disappointed following rumours that Bury’s was among the slew of stores mooted for closure and expected to shut up shop in the coming months. “It is in fact our store in Bury St Edmunds that will be closing,” he added. “Obviously, we feel really bad for the manager Simon and all his staff in that branch who are at risk of redundancy. “We would like to assure all our fantastic customers that we are very much open for business and intend to stick around in the Millgate for a lot longer yet.”

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In rotation: 1/7/20

UK | HMV quietly shuts down 10 more stores as more ‘closing down’ signs are spotted across UK: High street music and entertainment store HMV is quietly closing at least 10 stores after putting up ‘closing down signs’ over the festive period – following Debenhams’ announcement of 19 shop closures. Signs suggesting they would be shutting up shop were spotted across the country in HMV outlets including Leeds, Coventry, Reading, Plymouth, Worcester and Birmingham (Bullring). Canadian businessman Doug Putman, who closed 15 stores when he purchased the music retailer in February last year, had promised the firm would open new stores as the business pumped cash into new sites and refurbishments. Shoppers outraged by the signs took to Twitter to vent their frustrations. Josh Buck tweeted: ‘HMV in Reading is having a closing down sale… I can’t even… ‘

Bronx, NY | 40 Years Later, Reggae’s Heart Still Beats in the Bronx: Lloyd Barnes has run the Wackie’s recording studio and label since the late 1970s. As he prepares for his next chapter, he wants to ensure its spirit lives on. …It’s been 40 years since Wackie’s hit its stride, and it has held a prominent place in New York’s music history ever since. First as a reggae sound system that put on parties, later as a studio and record shop, it has served as an expression of the immigrant-led aesthetic exchanges that came to define the city’s musical fabric. But Barnes isn’t sure how much longer he’ll be able to focus on his beloved studio. Now 75, he underwent double bypass surgery in 2017 and later developed nerve damage affecting his neck and arms. Though he recovered, he’s now looking back at his career with appreciation.

Syracuse, NY | Vinyl Revival: Sound Garden Sees Rise in Record Sales as CD Sales Drop: There are thousands of vinyl records to choose from at The Sound Garden in Syracuse. And for Marissa Moore, that’s music to her ears. “I want that one too because I don’t have that one either,” said Moore, a Syracuse resident. “I can’t help but stop here whenever I get the chance to. I’ve been collecting for about over 10 years now. I have about 135 records which I’m definitely trying to expand more.” Moore isn’t alone in her quest to collect vinyl. The store’s general manager Nick Shelton has his own fair share. “I have about 1,500 records I’ve been collecting since 16,” said Shelton. Classic albums have made a huge come back through the years as vinyl records experience resurgence from collectors and music lovers alike. “I would probably say that even in December we had probably double what we sold in November…”

Boston, MA | Family’s farewell as Boston music store closes: A family-run music shop in Boston has bid an emotional farewell to the town, thanking customers for their support in the run-up to its closure. Nevermind the Music Store, in Church Street, ceased trading on Saturday, December 21. The business launched in 2001 and over the years built up a strong following in the town. This was particularly evident on Record Store Day when music-lovers would queue up outside the shop before it opened in the hope of getting their hands on exclusive releases. In October 2018, however, it was hit by tragedy when owner Gareth Skinner died suddenly, aged 50. Following his death, Gareth’s family took on the running of the shop. Twelve months on from their loss, the family announced ‘with a sad and heavy heart’ the store would be closing. They explained at the time that the decision came as a result of changing consumer patterns due to the internet, but also the toll of losing Gareth.

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In rotation: 1/6/20

Weekly Vinyl Album Sales Top 1 Million for First Time in Nielsen Era, Thanks to Harry Styles & More: Last-minute Christmas shopping helped yield a record number of vinyl albums sold in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. In the week ending Dec. 26, a whopping 1.243 million vinyl albums were sold, marking the single largest sales week for the format since Nielsen Music began electronically tracking music sales in 1991. Further, it is the first time vinyl LP sales have surpassed 1 million copies in a single week in the Nielsen Music era. The biggest-selling vinyl album in the week ending Dec. 26 was Harry Styles’ Fine Line, with 16,000 copies sold. Rounding out the top five sellers for the week: Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (16,000), The Beatles’ Abbey Road (12,000), the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 soundtrack (12,000) and Queen’s Greatest Hits (11,000). The previous largest week for the vinyl album format in the Nielsen Music era was set just a week earlier, when 973,000 vinyl LPs were sold…

UK recorded music market up 7.5%, hits 114 billion streams in 2019: …In contrast to the streaming result, physical sales were down 22.8% year-on-year and now account for less than 20% (18.2%) of the total. CDs slumped by 26.5% year-on-year to 23.5m units, although the value of box sets will likely soften the blow. Physical sales were also significant in chart terms. They accounted for over half of chart-eligible sales of the Official Charts No.1 artist album in 29 chart weeks last year. For the last quarter of 2019, there were 13 consecutive weeks where physical accounted for the majority of chart-eligible sales. Digital albums were down 28.2% to 7.3m units, as the industry faces up to a future in which downloads are likely to be a niche business. Digital albums now account for 4.8% of the total, compared to 21.1% in 2015. Geoff Taylor, chief executive BPI & BRIT Awards, said: “British music proved once again in 2019 that it has a bright future. Strong demand for streaming music and vinyl, fuelled by the investment and innovation of UK labels in discovering and promoting new talent, boosted music consumption to levels not seen for 15 years…”

Scotland, UK | BROKEN RECORD: Glasgow’s Byres Road Fopp store to close just months after outcry from devastated music fans saved it from shutting down: Glasgow’s Byres Road Fopp store is set to close just months after a last-ditch decision to save it. The record store faced the chopping block last February when trouble hit the HMV and Fopp music chain. At the time, bosses were able to work out a deal to keep it open. It came after an outcry from Scots music lovers when news broke the iconic store would be closing. But closing down signs appeared over the festive period, with the shop rumoured to close on January 25. A source said: “They can’t agree on the terms of the rent – they only got a year last time. “Staff are feeling rubbish but are trying to be cheerful.” Fopp first opened as a market stall in 1981 before taking up its spot on Byres Road. The brand, renowned for its knockdown prices on vinyl and CDS, went into administration in 2007 after a HMV takeover. Canadian retailer Sunrise Records then bought over HMV last February in a move set to save more than 100 stores and over 1,4800 around the country.

Istanbul, TR | Decades-old Istanbul record store set to close its doors: Longtime customers have mixed feelings, both sad and hopeful that fabled store will return from closing. After decades serving Istanbul music lovers, a historic record store is shuttering its doors at the end of this year due to “family reasons.” “Our adventure, which started on May 13, 1954, will end on Dec. 31, 2019,” said the store’s Twitter account last week, saddening its longtime customers as well as musicians and music lovers everywhere. “Through Lale Plak, we’ve touched the souls of thousands of our friends with quality music for 65 years,” it added. Located in the city’s teeming Beyoglu district, the 35 square-meter (4,020-foot) store is credited with providing top-notch vinyl records and CDs to its customers. All the albums on offer were being meticulously selected by Hakan Atala, 58, the store owner, who boasts a profound knowledge of music, particularly jazz and classical. “I was trying to stock and sell different albums compared to other stores. I did all this with love,” Atala told Anadolu Agency.

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In rotation: 12/13/19

Montreal, CA | Mile End record stores uncertain about future as they face fines over business hours: Shops visited by provincial inspector on Record Store Day have now received fines for thousands of dollars. Independent record stores are wondering about their future in Mile End after being fined thousands of dollars for being open past 5 p.m. on the weekend. Four stores — Phonopolis, Sonorama, La Rama and Death of Vinyl — were visited by an inspector from the provincial Economy and Innovation Ministry on Saturday, April 13, and all were given notices saying they were open too late. The fines, issued by the Justice Ministry, arrived this month. They were taking part in Record Store Day, where shops around the world sell exclusive pressings and hold events to promote supporting independent retailers. Eduardo Cabral, co-owner of Sonorama, says it was the first time in his 35 years working at Montreal record stores that he had a visit from a provincial inspector, who arrived around 5:40 p.m. Instead of handing Cabral a warning, the inspector gave him a notice saying his case would be passed on to the Justice Ministry to determine the fine — with the minimum being $1,500.

UPDATE: Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said she is sensitive to the situation of record stores and that economic development services will propose solutions to ease the stores’ financial struggles.

Bridport, UK | Clocktower Music is voted the best record store in the south: A record store has achieved podium position in a national competition – making it the best in the entire south of England. Clocktower Music, which can be found on Bridport’s St Michael’s Estate, took home the third place accolade in 2019’s independent Record Shop of the Year competition. This competition – which is run by industry magazine Long Live Vinyl – saw more than 280 stores face off against each other for the podium positions. Both stores which won first and second place are up north, meaning that Clocktower Music can boast of being the south of England’s best record store. Owner Roy Gregory said: “A mega thank you to all our customers and supporters for voting for Clocktower Music, we are amazed at the support. “We hope the result will also bring more music fans to Bridport and St Michael’s Trading Estate.”

Springfield, MO | New Record Store Opens in Springfield: City Music is set to provide the Ozarks with vinyl records and CDs. The new store is run by Jeff Moffatt, Ken Childers and Joe Livingston – KSMU’s host of the Roundabout. Livingston says the store fulfills a need in the community for new releases that he would like to see available in town and not just on the internet. “We are selling records, CDs, books, artifacts, furniture, tape decks, record players. Anything that we can sell that’s music related,” said Livingston. City Music will soon host house concerts in the back part of the store, featuring local and touring musicians. City Music is located in Springfield at 2528-A South Campbell and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 to 9 and Sundays 10 to 4.

Record Store Day Black Friday 2019 Helps Drive Third-Biggest Sales Week for Vinyl In Nielsen Era: Vinyl helps yield biggest overall album sales week of 2019. Pearl Jam’s “MTV Unplugged” was week’s top Record Store Day Black Friday exclusive album. Record Store Day Black Friday promotions on Nov. 29 helped drive another big win for vinyl album sales — and the largest overall sales week for albums in 2019 — according to Nielsen Music. The data tracking firm reports that 855,000 vinyl albums were sold in the U.S. during the week of Nov. 29 through Dec. 5 — the third-largest sales week for vinyl LPs since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991. The only weeks with larger sales were the frames ending Dec. 20, 2018 (880,000) and Dec. 27, 2018 (905,000). Also goosing sales in the most recent tracking week were Black Friday discounts and promotions on vinyl LPs at both Walmart and Target, where many titles were temporarily marked down to $15. Further, the sizzling vinyl sales around Black Friday helped yield an overall industry haul of 2,819,000 albums sold across all formats (vinyl, CD, download, cassette, etc.) — the biggest sales week for albums in 2019. The last week to generate a larger overall album sales number was the week ending Dec. 27, 2018, when a total of 4,391,000 albums were sold.

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