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

In rotation: 3/2/20

Distribution Crisis Threatens Record Store Day 2020: Can physical media continue to prosper at a time when streaming has all but consumed today’s music industry while the likes of Spotify and Amazon sign up subscribers at unprecedented rates and the distribution chain responsible for shipping most catalog classics and new releases on LP and CD implodes? It’s a topic weighing heavily on the minds of independent record store owners around the country, not to mention indie labels and artists as Record Store Day 2020 approaches. Indie shops are struggling to update their inventory in the face of a distribution crisis that boiled over in recent months, causing many to ask: Will the distribution arm of the music biz be able to get its act together in time for the national event set for Saturday April 18.

Baltimore, MD | Physical Good Still Rule: For a number of years, I worked at a record store, and for a number of years before that I had been a customer at said record store. Every time I went into the store, I noticed one of the managers there had a button on his name-tag that read “Physical Goods Still Rule”…Now that I had more time to listen to music at home, I remembered what made me love physical media so much in the first place. You can hold it; it’s tangible. The sound quality of a record or CD compared to that downloaded MP3 played on your phone is dramatically better. While I sit in my living room with a record on, I can read about the record from the packaging it came in. I can learn who played on the record, who produced it, where and when it was recorded among many other things. Through this you feel a deeper connection to the music. You learn that the people making this record aren’t just a name and an album cover, they’re real folks like the rest of us. But the tangibility of these pieces of music is only half the reason why physical goods are superior.

Ottawa, CA | Hobo Cannabis taking over Compact Music Centretown location as record store downsizes: Compact Music Co-owner Ian Boyd says he’s just glad it’s not another record shop taking their place after 17 years in downtown and Centretown. Marijuana is following music at one centretown business location, as Compact Music closes one of its long-time stores. Ian Boyd and his brother James have been selling records in Ottawa for more than 40 years — 23 of those with Compact Music in The Glebe and 17 in their downtown and Centretown locations. The 206 Bank Street retail space has belonged to Compact for the last seven years, and Ian Boyd, 62, says he’s been getting ready to downsize to just one store simply because he’s getting older. He had recently given his landlord notice that the business would be leaving on June 30, but then received a notice from the landlord on February 5 that he needed to be out of the building in 90 days.

Madison, WI | Looking at the history, function of B-Side Records: Since inception in 1982, B-Side Records has survived ownership change, CD, digital music revolutions to become State Street’s last surviving music shop. Walking down Madison’s most trafficked street, there is a store that might be missed by the average passerby. Its exterior is simple with a blue neon sign reading “B-Side Records,” but most people know little about the decades of music history seen by State Street’s last surviving music shop. B-Side Records was opened on State Street in the fall of 1982 by two graduates from the University of Michigan. The partners, Ralph Cross and Dan Jenkins, worked together at the Ann Arbor record store Schoolkids Records and dreamed about opening their own store upon graduation. In 1983, Madison Area Technical College student Steve Manley was one of B-Side’s most loyal customers, later becoming one of the first people to be placed on B-Side’s payroll. Within a year, he worked his way up to manager. Just under 15 years ago, Cross and Jenkins fulfilled their long term promise and sold their share of the store to Manley.

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In rotation: 2/28/20

Paris, FR | Vinyl digs its new groove: …”The enthusiasm of the French for vinyl is undeniable, they are always more likely to buy”, said Tuesday Alexandre Lasch, director general of Snep during the presentation of the results of the French music market for 2019. Either 4.1 million groove cakes sold in 2019 compared to 3.9 million in 2018. In 2015, only 900,000 vinyl records had sold. Alban Lecourt, manager of the specialized store Ground Zero, in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, does not hide however that it is a “niche market, with few practitioners”. What Snep does not hide either: vinyl represents 20% of physical sales, still dominated by the CD. But the independent record store stresses that “almost all of the music offer is released on vinyl” now, which was no longer the case. “We did rock, indie rock, but there are also artists of variety who had abandoned this medium and are coming back to it.” Large brands also take care of the format. “The space dedicated to vinyl has also greatly expanded over time that the product has taken off year after year, “comments a spokesperson for Fnac interviewed by AFP.

Petaluma, CA | Vital Vinyl: Where to get your groove back. It’s early afternoon on a Tuesday and Kirk Heydt, proprietor of 2-year-old, Petaluma-based Spin Records (1020 Petaluma Blvd. N.), is gently placing a record needle to vinyl while he explains to a customer that, “in the beginning of this ballad by the Ohio Players, the drummer just breaks into a drum solo. In a ballad! You never hear that and it actually got airplay!” It’s the kind of infectious, in-person enthusiasm that all but disappeared with the advent of illegal music downloading, which rebranded to corporate “streaming services” which, for the most part, killed record (and video) stores while also managing to devalue the very thing corporations were trying to exploit for money: music. Yet record stores aren’t down for the count quite yet. “I make enough to stay here and where I am; there’s no foot traffic, so it’s a destination,” Heydt says. “I have really loyal customers who are into all the way-obscure stuff—some very ‘not cheap’ records—and they really keep me going. It seems like a lot of people are getting more into records, too, which is cool.”

The Rega System One is an easy all-in-one vinyl solution: The Rega System One will cost £999 for a turntable, amplifier, speakers and even cables. Rega quietly announced a smattering of interesting new products at the Bristol Hi-Fi Show over the weekend. Front and centre is a brand new record player system, comprising a turntable, amplifier and speakers: the Rega System One, yours for £999, and due “late spring”. The System One uses one product with which we’re very familiar, the Planar One turntable, and two new products, the io amplifier and a pair of Kyte speakers. The Rega io (£379, when bought separately, due March/April) is a new integrated amplifier complete with an MM phono stage, 30 watts per channel, two line inputs and a high-quality headphone socket. This is a new line for the company, though we do remember a high-end Rega io DAC. The Rega Kyte speakers (£429, when bought separately) are an update, in name at least, on a classic pair of Rega speakers, which date back longer than we care to remember. They’ve clearly had a thorough design overhaul and look very smart…

UK | The Big Moon announced as Record Store Day UK ambassadors for 2020: “Support your local record store!” The Big Moon have been announced as the UK’s Record Store Day ambassadors for 2020. The ‘Walking Like We Do’ band follow in the esteemed steps of Sir Elton John, Kate Tempest, Rag n Bone Man and The Mighty Boosh – who have all been ambassadors in the past. To celebrate their new role, the London group will record their own Record Store Day release live in front of an audience at London’s Metropolis Studios on March 5. It’s thought to be the first time that an artist will have recorded three tracks in one take with a live audience in the studio with them. Discussing the honour, The Big Moon’s Celia Archer said: “We’re so excited to be ambassadors for Record Store Day! “When I was a kid music was still a really tribal thing and if you were into alternative music the record store was a really important space to hang out and spend weekends browsing through things with mates, discovering whole new sounds and genres just because you liked the art work, picking up music magazines and finding out about gigs.

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In rotation: 2/27/20

Streaming and vinyl bring color back to the record market: The upturn in the sector is confirmed with a 5.4% increase in the recorded music market in 2019. More and more French people are subscribing to on-demand listening offers. It’s probably a first. During the presentation on Tuesday morning of the music market results for the past year, not once was the word piracy spoken! Growing for the fourth consecutive year, the sector which has regained color has visibly moved on to something else. With progression “Sustained” of the recorded music turnover to 5.4% and 772 million of receipts, this long moribund market was again pulled by the streaming (59% of the sales), while the physical supports fall again by 10% . And if the CD remains the second most profitable format after streaming, thanks to a network which still has 4,000 points of sale, vinyl confirms as everywhere its good health. Sales are up 12% and now represent 20% of the physical market, with 42% of buyers under the age of 30.

Ottawa, CA | Downtown music store to close, make way for pot shop: Compact Music is the city’s longest-running independent music retailer, with a primary location in the Glebe that’s been a fixture since the mid-1990s. Compact Music co-owner Ian Boyd quips that one of his stores is going to pot after 17 years. His downtown Bank Street location is set to close in May to make way for a Hobo cannabis store, and Boyd has mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, he and his brother James, who’s also a partner in the business, are in their 60s and were already starting to make plans to downsize the two-store business to one location. In December, they gave six months’ notice to their landlord that they would not be renewing the lease at 206 Bank St. That would have given them until the end of June to clear out the bins of vinyl records, CDs, DVDs and everything else… “We would have much preferred to stay to June to have a longer window to sell all our inventory,” Ian Boyd said. “We were even thinking that we might want to renew. Business is up at both stores, and it’s all because of vinyl.”

London, UK | A new record shop has opened in London: Selling Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis’ record collection as well as secondhand offerings. A new record shop – called Atlantis Records – has opened in Hackney, London. Located in the former premise of Pacific Social Club cafe, Atlantis Records will sell Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis’ record collection, which spans from early jungle and UK indie records. In addition to vinyl, it also includes acetates and cassettes. Atlantis Records will also stock secondhand records spanning a range of genres – with everything from from ’50s Yemeni Yiddish dance music, classical and reggae, to free jazz, soul and spoken word represented in the shop. Atlantis also plans to sell beer on tap, as well as hosting DJ sets and small gigs in the space. Visit Atlantis Records in person at 8 Clarence Rd, London, E5 8HB, open daily 10am – 7pm

Santa Fe, NM | The Guy in the Groove record shop moves to Constellation Home Electronics: Dick Rosemont is continuing his 43-year run as a vinyl record shop owner in a new location. His The Guy in the Groove store earlier this month moved to Constellation Home Electronics, 215 N. Guadalupe St. Since 2012, The Guy in the Groove had been inside A Sound Look, 502 Cerrillos Road. Rosemont became a record store co-owner in East Lansing, Mich., where he had Flag, Black & Circular from 1977 to 2011. He followed his wife, photographer and filmmaker Jane Rosemont, to New Mexico after she got an offer from a Santa Fe gallery. These days, he has more of a vinyl record nook, with about 1,500 to 2,000 discs on hand at any time. He is the only person on staff. Rosemont has stuck with vinyl since the Carter administration. “They didn’t go away,” he said of record outlets. “They just went to smaller stores. The end of the ’90s and early 2000s were the low point in vinyl sales. Last year albums surpassed CDs for the first time since the 1980s. It’s a hip alternative.”

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In rotation: 2/26/20

Boise, ID | New record store now open on Boise Bench: Music fans can now enjoy a new record store on the Boise Bench. Modern Sounds Vinyl & Music opened late last year in the Vista Plaza at 556 S. Vista Ave, near Jumpin’ Janet’s. The Boise Weekly first spotted the new store in a profile just before Christmas. It offers a selection of vinyl in a small former clothing store location. Co-owners Matt Eggers and Derek Anderson started the store, following a passion for music, according to BW. The shop operates just four days per week – Thursday through Sunday, for now. Modern Sounds sells, buys and trades music – and says they are also stocking a “growing selection” of newer music on vinyl, too. “I kept looking at the space and daydreaming about it,” Anderson told BW. “I finally thought, ‘Why not take a shot or you’ll never know?’ If you’re going to do something in life it should be something you like.”

Wooster, OH | Lucky Records will close this week but vinyl will live on in downtown Wooster with opening of Blackbird Records: When Dave Rodgers opened Lucky Records in downtown Wooster seven years ago, he was a little worried. Not only was it a risk to open an independent record store during a time when he wondered if Wooster’s love for vinyl was strong enough for the place to thrive, but Rodgers and his wife, Lorie, welcomed music lovers for the first time on Sept. 13, 2013. “Coincidentally, it was a Friday the 13th, which I find very humorous,” Rodgers said last week with a laugh, and usually nothing about that is “lucky.” The store, located at 126 S. Market St., will be open for its last day Saturday. Another store, Blackbird Records, will open in its place in March. Though bittersweet, “This is a happy ending to a time in my life that I have truly loved and enjoyed,” Rodgers wrote in a Facebook announcement earlier this month. He added that he’s thankful to the loyal customers and bands he’s met along the way. Lucky Records’ run has been a dream come true for this “lifelong music fan.”

Record Store Day Heads Into Its Biggest Year Yet — Names Brandi Carlisle ‘Ambassador’: Record Store Day 2020 appears set to thrill vinyl fans and spur considerable sales. And in a testament to just how strong the record (and the record store) is, Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Brandi Carlile is jumping aboard as a brand ambassador. The announcement was made via Record Store Day’s official website. A six-minute-long video showcases Carlile’s extensive record collection (and her well-decorated, comfortable-looking “attic recording studio”). The 38-year-old’s most prized records include Elton John’s Madman Across the Water (which played during the clip), a signed Carter Family work, and a signed copy of Joni Mitchell’s Blue, among several others. It was also noted that Carlile’s love for the format has prompted her to make each of her efforts available on vinyl, dating back to her self-titled debut album in 2005. The Washington native closed the video by reminding fans that independent record stores care for and protect artists’ dreams, and that it’s important to help these businesses stay afloat.

Patchogue, NY | Record Store Day to be celebrated in Patchogue April 18 outside Record Stop: The international Record Store Day happens Saturday, April 18. And as usual, Record Stop in Patchogue is planning a block party of sorts to mark the occasion. For the uninitiated, Record Store Day involves special release records available for the first time only that-day, as well as discounts and other promotions from independent record stores. And plenty of music and partying. Lines are known to form around blocks for music fans clamoring for that long-awaited album finally pressed or re-released in vinyl form. “One of my favorite days of the year is Record Store Day, which happens the third Saturday of every April. And we are blessed to have one of the greatest record stores on Long Island right here in our hometown,” said David Kennedy, a vinyl enthusiast and the executive director of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce.

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In rotation: 2/25/20

Apollo Masters Fire: Where Now for the Record Industry? …For readers in the UK and Europe, I can offer some degree of relief, as many mastering facilities across the region use lacquers from the Japanese-based manufacturer, MDC. One such mastering house is Alchemy Mastering in West London. Alchemy founder, Barry Grint spoke to us shortly after the fire to explain how the situation might affect his business. “In the short term, there is little change,” Barry explains. “The current position is that MDC will continue to supply their clients with the same volume of blank lacquers as they have historically used on average. They are not going to take on new clients, nor increase their prices.” We were able to confirm the security of production further when speaking with French-based producers, MPO International. Their CEO, Alban Pingeot, echoed Barry’s reassurance. “Europe is mainly served by MDC (somewhere around 80%), so the fire will not affect our business short term. We might notice some delay over the coming months with new releases, and the market price for lacquers and cutting could be under pressure. For now, at least, it’s business as usual.”

Medicine Hat, AB | Medicine Hat’s record man bringing back memories one groove at a time: After the closure of the long-standing Arcade Records in 2013, Medicine Hat was left without a dedicated vinyl music store. That is until 2016 when Big Al’s Records moved in downtown – first to a location on Third Street and then to its current location on North Railway. And despite the advent of CDs and digital streaming services, the turntable is still spinning at Big Al’s. As for the name of the shop, owner Dale Brigham said, “my middle name is Alan and Big Dale’s didn’t sound right.” But as for the reason for opening up the hot wax business, Brigham said that had as much to do with the heart as the sound of the music format. “My wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 50,” said Brigham. “And it’s funny because music is the only thing she remembers. She doesn’t remember her family but play an Aerosmith song—and she is non-verbal—she will spit out the words to an Aerosmith song and tap to the music. That’s why I got in, to bring people back their memories.”

Paducah, KY | Unique spin: Local craftsman makes liquid-filled vinyl records. Vinyl records’ resurgence over the last decade has seen whole communities of collectors and craftspeople spring up around the country. Records aren’t just black pieces of vinyl anymore though — now, they can be tie-dye, all shades of the rainbow, shaped like a ninja star, or even liquid-filled in the case of one Paducah artist. Matt Ortt, a Princeton native and local resident for the past two decades or so, has created liquid-filled records and music accessories for four years, but he’s been a fan of vinyl for much longer. “Honestly, I’ve always been a music fan, and I think any hardcore music fan gravitates towards the format,” Ortt, 40, said in his workshop Thursday. “The sound, having the physical copy, the art, all of that stuff attracted me to records when I was younger.” Something of a tinkerer, Ortt started his journey by making 45 adapters out of resin because, he reasoned, there was “really just about every kind of accessory that you could think of, but for the most part those adapters have remained basic little pieces of plastic.”

Even If You Don’t Watch High Fidelity, Please, Please Listen to the Soundtrack: The reboot of High Fidelity is all about a record store owner (played by Zoë Kravitz), so it makes sense that the show’s soundtrack would be top-notch. Over the course of the 10 episodes in the first season, viewers get to hear an eclectic selection of amazing music, bridging many genres and embracing little-known songs as much as massive hits from music icons. Where else could you possibly find a soundtrack that seamlessly incorporates Celine Dion, David Bowie, Frank Ocean, Aretha Franklin, and a slew of bands in different genres who you might not have heard before? Ahead, we’ve rounded up the amazing soundtrack from High Fidelity — keep reading for your latest playlist.

Nick Hornby approves of gender twist in Hulu version of ‘Excessive Constancy’: Nick Hornby’s hit novel “Excessive Constancy” has been reimagined as a Hulu sequence with Zoë Kravitz because the lead — and the writer endorses the gender twist. “I assumed it was actually cool, particularly after I came upon who the lady was going to be,” Hornby advised The Submit’s Nicki Gostin at a New York screening. “I by no means thought it was about guys notably. I assumed it was about music and relationships.” The 2000 characteristic movie version starred John Cusack as a record-store proprietor combating love and in pursuit of making the proper mixtape for all of it. Today its music obsessed writer says, “I do make Spotify playlists — however they can’t be pretty much as good, since you haven’t spent the entire three minutes listening to the music. So many instances you get the thought for the following music whereas listening to the earlier music . . . so that they’re inferior.”

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In rotation: 2/24/20

‘This Is Disastrous’: How the Vinyl Industry Is Responding to the Apollo Masters Fire. “We’ve been saying we need to fix this for years,” one vinyl-pressing executive says. “Now we actually need to fix this.” The day that everyone in the vinyl-manufacturing world has been worried about for years finally arrived. Earlier this month, Apollo Masters Corp., one of the two places in the world that produce the lacquer discs needed to assemble master plates for pressing records, burned down. The blaze reportedly took 82 firefighters and three hours to extinguish. No one was harmed, but the fire obliterated the Banning, California, facility responsible for, by most estimates, 70 to 85 percent of the lacquer plates used in vinyl production. There is now just one such factory in the world capable of producing that crucial item, MDC in Japan, leaving the global supply of vinyl in peril. “We’ve all been worried about this, we’ve had meetings about it within the industry,” says Cash Carter, chief operating officer at Kindercore Vinyl Pressing in Athens, Georgia. “We’ve gotten together with all the other pressing plants, lacquer cutters, everybody, and been like, ‘What happens if MDC or Apollo goes away? We’re all fucked…’”

Record Store Day Announces 2020 Ambassador: Brandi Carlile: Ever since 2009, when Jesse Hughes created the title, record stores have been lucky enough to have a special cheerleader every year, an artist to lead the charge and wield the bullhorn, telling the world about the magic that is the record store and the party that is Record Store Day. The time has come to hang the sash on another musician and send them out to talk about record stores in 2020 and the 13th annual celebration of them on April 18. Record Store Day is thrilled that this year the RSD Ambassador title goes to the tireless, fearless, talented, generous, all-around awesome Brandi Carlile. …Carlile says one of the most important things record stores do is “they mine, archive, meticulously care for, and make available to you other people’s dreams.” “The Twins and I have never made an album that we didn’t intend to be in an independent record store. Thank you so much for recognizing this love in me and the Twins and giving us this opportunity. We won’t let you down.”

MI | Needle Drop: What record store owners can’t stop spinning: In 2020, we want to remind you—and ourselves—of the importance of taking a break. And what better way to do that than to take an old (or new) record off the shelf and spin a few tunes? We’re inviting folks from some Michigan record stores we love to talk about what they’re listening to right now. …Jim Dwyer is the co-owner of Encore Records, which has served Michigan listeners for more than 60 years. We talked to him about his favorite records of the moment: Artist: Bo Diddley, Album: Go Bo Diddley, Song: “You Don’t Love, You Don’t Care” “A good example of how the room itself is part of the sound and also how in this era, this was recorded in 1959, a lot of these engineers were mixing live. The needles are right in the red, and if it goes a little too higher, it’s too hot. But they’re mixing it live and you can feel the energy in the session…”

The new ‘High Fidelity’ and the state of the music geek in the digital age: There’s a scene in High Fidelity, the new Hulu series starring Zoe Kravitz as a record store owner, in which her character, Rob (short for Robyn), shows up unannounced at the apartment of British ex-boyfriend Mac. She wants to hear him say that he loves her more than his new partner, Lily, and that the couple have no plans to marry, thereby ruining Rob’s life. (Good luck with that.) But Rob needs to know something else, something equally important. Has Mac listened to her playlist? Since they split up, Rob has been doing on her own what she and her two employees, Simon and Cherise, routinely do together in a shop rarely overrun with customers: make lists. They might be exercises in pop culture fandom — Top 5 David Bowie albums, Greatest Movie Villains of All Time — or more serious collections, like the Top 5 breakups in Rob’s life that have left her unattached in her early 30s. On that, Mac is Number One, and his absence in her life inspires Rob to make a playlist because — well, isn’t that what you do in a time of emotional crisis?

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In rotation: 2/21/20

Here’s the List of Record Store Day 2020 Releases Revealed So Far: There are apparently exclusives from Neil Young, David Bowie, Gorillaz, Black Sabbath and more. Record Store Day is gearing up for its main 2020 event, and we are already getting an idea what exclusives to expect this year. While the official 2020 RSD list has yet to be revealed, several artists and labels have started announcing titles, while other rumoured releases have begun popping up online. To start making sense of it all, we’ve assembled a list of both the official and rumoured Record Store Day 2020 releases revealed so far. In large part, the list comes thanks to the dedicated vinyl fanatics over on Reddit, who have been slowly but surely putting this year’s RSD list together. As you’ll see below, the 2020 RSD list is still very much in its early stages, but there are already plenty of notable releases incoming.

Farmers Branch, TX | Josey Records To Become the Largest Record Store in Texas: The Farmers Branch shop is adding 10,000-square-feet to its already sizable footprint. Josey Records is taking over the 10,000-square-foot space next door to its 15,000-square-foot flagship store in Farmers Branch, making it the largest record store in Texas and one of the five largest record stores in the country. The shop plans to open its expansion for Record Store Day on April 18, 2020. Josey Records started in Dallas and has opened satellite stores in Lubbock, Tulsa, Kansas City, and Sedalia, Missouri, but it didn’t have any plans to grow in the DFW market until an opportunity presented itself. “The tenant next door used to be a motorcycle supply shop, and they moved out in the summer, so we thought we would just take it over and add more square footage to the store,” says co-owner Waric Cameron. “We have tons of inventory that we don’t have out on display that we keep in offsite storage, so this is an opportunity to bring all that to the retail floor.”

NJ | ‘An absolute nightmare’: How a distribution crisis is crippling N.J. record stores: Record stores across New Jersey are suffering from a problem that feels almost as vintage as the weathered shops themselves: their vinyl and CD deliveries are late — really late. “I just got in Christmas records — I ordered them in October,” says Susan Grimm, a manager at Scotti’s Record Shop in Summit. “We’re getting orders we placed two or three months ago, it’s an absolute nightmare,” says Princeton Record Exchange owner Jon Lambert, echoing a sentiment felt by stores throughout the Garden State, and beyond, who after years spent battling industry trends that have shifted away from physical media in favor of iTunes and streaming, now grapple with a new dilemma: a profit-hemorrhaging break in the supply chain…“We’ve had to take a significant percentage hit in our profit,” says another New Jersey shop owner, who asked not to be named. “… (Direct Shot) doesn’t know what they’re doing, and I don’t know what the endgame is.”

Jamaica Plain, MA | New Biz: Bakery + Coffee Shop + Record Store = Monumental Market: A unique business venture recently opened on South Street. Monumental Market is a joint venture between three different businesses: Lavender Bee Baking Co., El Colombiano Coffee, and Light of Day Records. The individual businesses are known entities in our area. El Colombiano Coffee and Light of Day Records are both regular vendors at the Egleston Farmers Market. While building their brands, the two businesses traveled to different businesses, including the Wake Up The Earth Festival. Light of Day sells new and vintage vinyl records. It joins a growing list of businesses that sell vinyl records in JP, including Deep Thoughts and Tres Gatos, which is also a tapas restaurant. Lavender Bee Baking Co. makes peanut and tree-nut free baked goods. Lavender’s owner Kelsey Munger was diagnosed with a peanut and tree nut allergy at the age of 6, and eventually started baking because it was hard to find baked goods that didn’t include what she couldn’t eat. This is the first brick and mortar storefront for all three businesses.

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In rotation: 2/20/20

Milwaukee, WI | Off The Beaten Path’s new South Milwaukee store is now open: Following more than six years on Farwell Avenue on Milwaukee’s East Side and just shy of three years on Howell Avenue in Bay View, Off The Beaten Path is on the move again. The independent record store now has a new home in the heart of South Milwaukee. The shop’s new location—its third site since the store’s 2011 start—quietly opened at 1219 Milwaukee Avenue last weekend. Off The Beaten Path’s last day in business at its Bay View shop was November 8 of last year. Originally expected to re-open its new space in time for Black Friday, the record store’s return comes after months of unexpected delays. However, owner Chris Kruse says he’s “especially looking forward to having some live music” in the store and that the new location will be worth the wait. Starting today, the shop will resume its regular hours of noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. And yes, there will deep discounts on used records from time to time.

London, UK | New independent record store, Yo-Yo Records, to open in London: The store will break away from Cosmos Records London. A new independent record store is set to open in London. Placing a bigger focus on dance and reggae music, as well as 12″s and 7″ singles generally, Cosmos Records London – which originally opened back in 2015 – will re-launch as an independent store, Yo-Yo Records, in Hackney on 21st February. Posting on Instagram on Monday 17th February, owners said, “It is with a heavy heart that we would like to announce our upcoming split from Cosmos Records here in London as of closing time this evening, and we will reopen on Friday here at our same location on Hackney Road as a new independent shop.” They continued: “We have nothing but respect and admiration for Cosmos, and it has been an honour and a pleasure to represent the shop here in London for almost five years, but after my 20-year apprenticeship with Cosmos it is time we head out on our own.”

Loveland, OH | Loveland record label lands movie deal: Valentine’s Day was sweeter this year for a Loveland business who landed their part in the newly-released and very popular Sonic the Hedgehog movie. Adding to the love, Loveland-based Plaid Room Records, and their associated business, Colemine Records, a full-fledged record label with approximately 45 acts signed, celebrated their fifth year open here. The movie opened on February 14, stars Jim Carrey and had a $58 million opening weekend – finishing atop the weekend box office. With this movie release and other happenings, it’s safe to say Plaid Room Records co-owners Terry Cole and his brother, Bob Cole, would like to curl up into a ball and run at supersonic speeds, just like the iconic hedgehog from popular Sega videogames and depicted in the movie – just to keep up. “It’s a big deal. It’s cool,” Terry said.

Saratoga Springs, NY | Annual Record Riot offers music memorabilia for shoppers to explore: Record Riot returns to the Spa City this weekend with thousands of LPs, CDs, 45s and other music memorabilia for shoppers to explore. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23 at the Saratoga Springs City Center, located at 522 Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs. Early admission begins at 8 a.m., for those who want to be the first to browse. This option costs $10. Admission during regular show hours is $3 per person. Skidmore students get in for free. Some lucky eventgoers will win surprise door prizes. Sunday’s event will feature about 25 vendors, who plan to bring a total of 40 tables filled with merchandise. Record Riot organizer Stephen Gritzan, who owns a small record shop in New Jersey, began presenting events like this about 15 years ago. Today, he organizes Record Riots throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, in “places that meet certain demographics of arts and culture,” he said.

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In rotation: 2/19/20

Lincoln City, OR | Output Music reopening in Lincoln City, owners make big plans for 2020: Output Music was a music community cornerstone for Lincoln County from 2005 to 2011. Now, 2020 will see Output reopening as Output Records. Lincoln City’s new again music store will sell vinyl records, turntables, music accessories and a curated selection of clothing, homegoods and accessories. The owners, Corrie and Taj Richardson, say they want to help the Central Oregon Coast get into vinyl records. “The music format has made a big comeback over the last 10 years; we’re selling turntables too, so if someone doesn’t have one already, we can get them set up with a turntable, speakers, and their first record for around $150 bucks,” the Richardsons said. Beyond selling records and goods, Output Records has a mission statement that focuses on building the music community on the Central Oregon Coast. “A big part of us wanting to reopen Output is to build up a music community that gets the kids involved with music,” the Richardson’s said.

Bury, UK | Vinyl frontier – Bury at forefront of record revival: …This renewed interest has also cultivated a renaissance in high street record shops, reversing years of decline and closures which saw dealers outside major cities almost go extinct. Last summer new independent record store Wax and Beans opened at The Art Picture House ­in Haymarket Street and proved in instant smash hit. Voracious appetite for vinyl has meant the outlet is already drawing up blueprints to relocate to larger premises to better meet the needs of Bury’s music lovers. Ben Soothill, Wax and Beans’ owner, said: “I think interest in vinyl has always been there, it’s just that it has not been completely accessible. “With the push we have given it on social media and the service we provide in store I think it has struck a chord with people. “They realise it’s there, and it’s a format they have loved, and it’s really taken off.

Boston, MA | Monumental Market: Jamaica Plain’s Antidote to Spotify and Starbucks: Ask anyone who’s scoured through endless rows of vinyl in subterranean vaults during the 90s and they’ll be the first to tell you that independent record stores in Boston are a pale reflection of a once robust heyday. Second Coming Records? Dead. Pipeline Records? Dead. Mojo? Long dead. Newbury Comics? Thankfully flatlining. Even the venerable Skippy White’s—whose six-decade longevity is one of the more unique phenomena to occur during the fray of the “death of independent music retailer” ballyhoo—announced its imminent departure in December. … In Your Ear, Planet and Nuggets have collectively endured close to a century’s worth of changes in both shopping habits and the music industry. The aforementioned specialty shops like Armageddon and Deep Thoughts continue to thrive specifically because of their appeal to otherwise marginal tastes. It’s not about resurgence, but an enduring need for the tactile.

Pittsburgh, PA | Us: Turntable Doctor hopes to keep vinyl spinning: Both guys liked things that go round and round. But when the two friends parted ways as business partners 47 years ago, one landed a job with the Hubble Space Telescope, which goes round and round 340 miles above Earth, while the other continued making sure that record albums continue rotating 33⅓, 45 and 78 rpm on turntables. Today we’re focused on Vince Bomba, 63, of Mt. Lebanon, who still repairs turntables at Galaxie Electronics in Squirrel Hill, a Murray Avenue business that shares a second floor with Jerry’s Records (which sells the vinyl albums that Vince’s turntables play.) Walk up those steps and — Biff! Ping! Bam! — you’re in a time warp. Nowadays most turntable repairmen are fossils. From 1990 until 2007, turntables teetered on the brink of technological extinction that claimed cassettes, manual typewriters and pay phones. But like Alec Baldwin, vinyl has a knack for resurrection.

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In rotation: 2/18/20

Burlington, VT | Soundbites: Lacking Lacquer? This week, multiple music news outlets reported a catastrophic fire at Apollo Masters in Banning, Calif. The facility produces “the lacquer used in the production of master discs, from which commercial vinyl records are made, as well as the styli used in the pressing process,” according to Consequence of Sound. The blog went on to report that “the loss could lead to a major delay or reduction in the production of vinyl records on a worldwide scale.” That got me thinking: Will this calamity trickle down to our local Burlington Record Plant? The word from the plant’s owner Justin Crowther is: maybe, but probably not. “At this time, I’m not really concerned, considering our size, but it’s too early to know for sure,” he wrote in an email. He explained that, of the two main lacquer cutting engineers used by the plant, one sources exclusively through MDC Master Lacquers, a Japanese company. Crowther says they are taking orders as normal for the time being…

Redditch, UK | Happy birthday to ya! Vintage Trax to host day of music and much more: Redditch retro record shop Vintage Trax is celebrating its fifth anniversary this weekend – and everyone is invited to the party. The independent record shop grew out of two pop-up shops in the Kingfisher Shopping Centre before finding a home on Birchfield Road, Headless Cross near the birthplace of Led Zeppelin drummer and famous son John Bonham. Now customers come from far and wide as well as locally to browse the racks of records and cassettes as well as CDs. “It’s not been an easy year by any means with rising costs and increased competition from record fairs and online sellers but we are holding our own,” said owner Ros Sidaway. “There is no better experience than coming into a record shop and digging through the crates of albums and trays of 45s, and finding something you’ve been searching for.”

Ashville, NC | TODAY: A benefit event for Australia held at Static Age Records: “The art show starts at 7 p.m. At 9:30 p.m., performances from local bands will start. The line-up includes Moves, Daddy’s Credit card, 13ag H3ad, and Mouth Breathers. All of these bands are local and coming out to support the cause. Owner of Static Age Records, Jessie McSwane opened his store 12 years ago, events like these happen often at his store. “It seems like every few months we have some type of benefit event going on,” McSwane said. He is excited about this upcoming event and hopes that students and locals come and participate… Static age is first and foremost a record store. In recent years, the store has expanded to musical events and art events. Static Age has about 20 to 25 shows a month, the charitable work associated with the benefit was something McSwane was interested in. He hopes this event helps bring attention to the foundation itself as well as the cause.“It seemed like an organization we could get behind,” McSwane said. While the owner of Static Age often hosts events such as this, to him it’s only the beginning.

The New Rules of Music Snobbery: Hulu’s High Fidelity reboot captures the end of elitist condescension and the rise of fervent eclecticism. …A less perceptive reboot would simply have made Ed Sheeran the new sentimental, tacky crap, but Hulu has gone beyond grafting contemporary references onto Hornby’s tale of 30-somethings who are more adept at sequencing mixtapes than at maintaining healthy relationships. The series captures a fundamental reorientation in listening these days: Elitist condescension about musical preferences isn’t cool anymore, but maybe—die-hard fans fear—obsessing and connecting over music are no longer cool either. Barry-types once used their taste to prop themselves above the less erudite, mainstream-minded listeners they mocked. Cherise, by contrast, just wants to chat about a song—and the consumer, cozy in a private digital bubble, decidedly does not.

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In rotation: 2/14/20

Barrow, UK | Barrow’s TNT records nominated for another award: A Barrow shop has been shortlisted amongst a host of superstars for one of the most prestigious prizes in the music industry. TNT Records is one of eight finalists in the Independent Retailer category at this year’s Music Week Awards , which recognises the best in the business. The star-studded award ceremony in London on May 6, 2020, will see the management team from the Duke Street shop rubbing shoulders with world-renowned names, with nominees in other categories including the likes of Coldplay, Stormzy and Glastonbury Festival. The nomination in this prestigious award follows in the wake of some similar recognition for TNT Records , when it was recently named UK Record Shop of the Year. Owner and founder Dave Turner said he was stunned when he read that they had made the shortlist for the Music Week Awards 2020. “The Music Week Awards are the biggest awards in the industry, so to see TNT Records shortlisted is beyond my wildest dreams.”

Tokyo, JP | Disk Shop Zero founder Naoki E-Jima has died: The Tokyo record store owner, who passionately promoted the sound of Bristol bass in Japan, passed away yesterday. Naoki E-Jima, the founder and operator of Japanese record store Disk Shop Zero, died yesterday after a bout of illness. Since opening his shop in Ekoda, Tokyo back in 1993, E-Jima—real name Naoki Iijima—championed bass music coming out of Bristol, forging a strong link between the two cities’ scenes. That vision continued when he and a group of friends started their BS0 party in 2015 (they refer to BS0 as a made-up Bristol postcode) and released a series of records on a label of the same name shortly after. In addition to running his shop, Iijima also worked as a music writer. Disk Shop Zero has been intermittently shut since the beginning of the year, after Iijima complained of discomfort in his right thigh last November. The final post on his store’s website indicates he was due to return to hospital on January 21st, which led to emergency hospitalisation and surgery on the 28th.

Tulsa, OK | Vinyl Records Resurrected At Local Record Stores: For the first time in 35 years, vinyl records are expected to outsell CDs in the US. Despite the rise in vinyl sales, streaming music is still the major source of income for the music industry. New numbers this year show vinyl brings in about 4% of the industry’s total revenue while streaming dominates with a whopping 62%. Record store owner Paul Epstein said he thought vinyl had seen its day more than 20 years ago. “Ten or 12 years ago, vinyl started slowly picking up. Then probably five or six years ago, it started at breakneck,” said Epstein. “It has wildly passed CDs.” Written off for dead in 1986, vinyl records are back and poised to outsell CDs nationwide. But why? “You can say I have 50,000 songs that sit in a little box in my underwear drawer, but it’s not the same as saying, ‘look at my records!'” said Epstein.

Franklin, TN | Antique collector inspires a new generation of musicians: Nothing’s ever out of style for long, at least that’s the philosophy of an antique collector in Franklin. “We bought a barn sight on scene in Bowling Green, Kentucky.” Will Jordan is a picker. He picks through stuff that some would call junk, and what he finds often ends up for sale at Carpe Diem. “Seize the day. I mean there’s a lot of days in this place right here, and I think it fits the vibe,” said Jordan. The vibe has a good feel from the time you step inside. “We got all kinds of collectibles in here from in every age group. From a 5-year-old kid to an 85-year-old grandfather,” said Jordan. The most popular by far is Jordan’s collection of vintage vinyl records numbering in the thousands, each with a feeling of nostalgia attached to the cover.

Carlsbad, CA | A record return: Records are managing to remain relevant – in their own sphere of influence. Thomas Edison’s phonograph – his favorite invention – designed to play back audio from one needle, then amplify the sound back to the listener through a flaring horn, was the one to begin the music recording art. Originally, the sound came from wax cylinders that were coated in tin foil, but the technology quickly evolved to the vinyl record and vinyl player, which has since become a staple of the retro, slow dance American period. The phonograph’s distinct trumpet-like horn has amazingly transitioned as a staple first of tall and elegant ballrooms to the average American working-class home. And there, the record player remained stuck; a staple of the past as CDs and newer inventions outpaced sales of vinyl records in the late ’80s for the first time since Edison created the phonograph in the mid 1870s. Vinyl fans were bound to still exist – no trend ever fully dies this quick. And yet, more than just Frank Sinatra devotees are going to the store (the online store really) to pick up vinyl and vinyl players, and the most novel crowd is now becoming vinyl’s biggest supporter: high schoolers.

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In rotation: 2/13/20

Santa Barbara, CA | Record shops allow a space for music lovers to find community: When I place a record on a turntable and the soft static begins to play through my speakers, I let my mind drift and begin reflecting on the role music has played in my life. My family instilled a love of music in me at a very young age. My father played classical music and began taking me to concerts when I was three. He would pull out his old acoustic guitar and play trios and mariachi, while my mother would play cumbia and reggaeton. For as long as I can remember music was a form of expression. It was my love language. My love affair with vinyl records, however, did not begin until October of 2017, when I purchased “Joy Division – Roots (Live at the Roots Club)” at Just Play Music.

Hamilton, CA | ‘It felt like home’: After 40 years as a downtown landmark Cheapies is closing: ‘It feels like part of Hamilton is leaving,’ says long-time customer Stephanie Silva. As Brian Jasson looked out over the crowded aisles of Cheapies on Sunday afternoon, he was transported back to the days when his store was packed this way every day of the week, with music lovers poring over albums and picking through records. Outside the shop the iconic florescent sign with the offering of “Music, Games, Video” still flashed above King Street East, just as it has for the past 40-odd years. But the massive front windows, traditionally festooned with advertisements for the hottest singles were papered over with big red letters announcing “STORE CLOSING.” For some, those two words explain why the store was filled to the brim with shoppers hoping to score a final deal before the doors close for the last time at the end of March. But, if you listen closely, there’s another reason why so many devoted customers are making the pilgrimage to the downtown staple before Cheapies Records and Tapes shuts down forever.

Nightmares on Wax celebrates ‘Smokers Delight’ 25th anniversary with album reissue, announces upcoming tour: Nightmares on Wax has announced a reissue of his seminal LP ‘Smokers Delight’ with new music and he will be giving special shows in North America and Europe. English DJ and record producer Nightmares on Wax has given fans a host of things to look forward to in 2020: the studio album ‘Smokers Delight’ gets a full reissue, never-before-heard tracks and select special shows in North America and Europe. The news comes in celebration of the seminal LP’s 25th anniversary. You can check the tour dates and tracklist below. ‘Smokers Delight’ was amongst the genre-defining albums that inspired generations of music that would follow, such as Massive Attack’s ‘Blue Lines’, Portishead’s ‘Dummy’ and ‘Maxinquaye’ by Tricky. The downbeat club album mustered all laidback energies of after-hours nightlife with smooth bassy grooves in a fusion of soul, hip-hop and dub for which Nightmares on Wax has become renowned.

Cleveland, OH | Don’t call it a comeback: Music Saves space to be revived as Cleveland Rocks Shop on Waterloo: With the recent openings of Pop Life and Six Shooter Coffee’s new location, Waterloo Road seems to be hitting a high note lately—and Beachland Ballroom owner Cindy Barber has big plans to keep it rocking and rolling. This week, Barber plans to announce an ioby fundraising campaign to mount the Cleveland Rocks Shop, a retail space showcasing local music and honoring its past, present, and future. Housed inside the former Music Saves record store (which shuttered in late 2017), Barber sees the Cleveland Rocks Shop as the next step in creating a campus of sorts as an extension of the Beachland Ballroom. “The whole idea is to energize our music economy in Cleveland,” says Barber. “When I was a kid, I worked at record distribution houses, and back then, we were one of the top record markets in the country, thanks to [legendary DJs like] Alan Freed, Bill Randle, and WMMS. I’m hoping in some small way to recapture and honor some of that rich history and energy.”

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In rotation: 2/12/20

Portland, OR | How Will the Fire At Apollo Masters Affect the Local Music Industry? Last Wednesday, news broke of a fire at Apollo Masters, the California-based business that was one of only two factories in the world that produced the lacquer used in the creation of master discs—one of the first steps in the manufacture of a vinyl album. While all the employees made it out safely, as the company posted on their website, their “manufacturing and storage facility… suffered catastrophic damage.” “We are uncertain of our future at this point,” the statement continued, “and are evaluating options as we try to work through this difficult time.” The repercussions of this blaze look to be massive and couldn’t come at a worse time. According to a report released via Billboard last month, vinyl records made up 26% of all physical albums sold in 2019. And record labels were already adjusting to the recent closure of Rainbo Records, the 80-year-old pressing plant that had been one of the largest producers of vinyl in the US.

Hamilton, CA | Hamilton’s legendary record store Cheapies is closing in March: The downtown fixture on King Street East has been around since 1980. It had to feel good — and bad, at the same time — “bittersweet,” as Brian Jasson likes to put it. Saturday afternoon, a lineup more than 20 people long at the cash register, and three or four times that many browsing through the store. They were riffling through records, bumping into old friends, discovering musical treasures they didn’t know existed. And saying goodbye. Last days at Cheapies. Sounds like a movie title almost. The legendary, long-lived record store on King Street East is closing. March 27 is the scheduled last day. “Friday, the lineup was right out the door,” said Jasson, who started selling records on King East in 1978, during the screaming apogee of punk rock. If you let yourself, you could almost imagine away all the taste and technical changes that have happened in our music-buying habits over the last decades and believe you had walked into the way we were.

16 Vinyl Records That Will Make You Want to Listen on Repeat: From Billie Eilish to Lizzo and Maggie Rogers, this past year brought us some musical gems that we’ll be listening to for a long time. If you’re a true music-lover, though, you know there’s just something about listening to a record on vinyl. Not only is it a cool experience altogether, but it also gives you a new appreciation for the artistry behind making music. If you thought you could only get older music on vinyl, think again! These 16 records belong in everyone’s collection, and they’re all available at Urban Outfitters. Are you as in love with Harry Styles’s new album as we are? Well, you can now buy it on vinyl. Listening to Tyler, the Creator on vinyl is about as cool as it gets, and Lewis Capaldi’s album is a masterpiece. No matter what kind of music you’re into, you can find something you love on vinyl, and these are the ones we’d recommend grabbing ASAP.

Atlanta, GA | High Fidelity takes over Criminal Records: Atlanta’s Little Five Points record store, Criminal Records, will be taken over in anticipation of the release of the new Hulu series, “High Fidelity,” starring Zoe Kravitz. Hulu has partnered with Spotify to create a “Love Anthem Generator” where you will swipe to find your unique “Love Anthem.” Join us Thursday through Saturday (1 p.m. – 7 p.m.) You might even walk away with some FREE swag! In conjunction with the takeover, Hulu has partnered with the local Atlanta chapter of the national music education non-profit, Little Kids Rock and will donate 50% of all gross sales made at Criminal Records during the three-day takeover. “High Fidelity” premieres Friday (2/14) at 10 p.m. EST exclusively on Hulu.

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In rotation: 2/11/20

Your Vinyl Record Collection May Have Just Tripled In Value: A tragic fire means that new pressing of vinyl records will decrease, world wide. If you’re the kind of person who loves listening to music on an actual record player, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that there might suddenly be a worldwide vinyl record shortage. The good news is that this may increase the value of the vinyl records you already own. Here’s what’s going on. On Friday, Pitchfork reported that Apollo Masters — a manufacturer of lacquer — had a fire that completely destroyed their facilities. This means that one of the only makers of lacquer in the world is not in a position to help create new records. According to Ben Blackwell (quoted in Pitchfork), “this fire will present a problem for the vinyl industry worldwide.” Why? Well, although the early 21st century has seen a spike in the vinyl record industry, the fact is, it’s still relatively niche. This means, beyond Apollo Masters, the only other major producer of lacquer is a company called MCD, based in Japan. And according to Blackwell, they had a tough time keeping up with demand even before this happened.

Denver, CO | Vinyl records strike gold in Colorado as sales poised to surpass CDs for the first time in decades: Vinyl outselling CDs. We love music in Colorado! Now there’s a blast from the past, that’s turning into cash for local record stores. For the first time in 35 years, vinyl records are expected to outsell CDs in the U.S., and Colorado is no exception. Paul Epstein, owner of Twist and Shout on Colfax, said he thought vinyl had seen its day more than 20 years ago. “Ten or 12 years ago, vinyl started slowly picking up. Then probably five or six years ago, it started at breakneck,” said Epstein. “It has wildly passed CDs.” Written off for dead in 1986, vinyl records are back and poised to outsell CDs nationwide. But why? “You can say I have 50,000 songs that sit in a little box in my underwear drawer, but it’s not the same as saying, ‘look at my records!'” said Epstein. Epstein said in today’s streaming age, people are coming back to the physical appeal and sound of classic vinyl. Records and record players are his top sellers.

Shibuya, JP | Second Bloody Angle Dougen Tong Vinyl Café Bar Opens in Shibuya: A café by day and a record bar by night. MC/Producer Ryuzo has opened a second “Bloody Angle Dougen Tong” vinyl café, located in a back ally of Dogenzaka street of Shibuya. Inspired by classic Japanese styled coffee shops, the location serves caffeinated beverages, hot sandwiches, spaghetti and other refreshments from 8 am to 8 pm. Then from 8 pm, the cafe transforms into a record bar where patrons sip alcohol while listening to carefully curated records. Many influential figures, such as Poggy, Verdy, and Kosuke Kawamura attended the opening of Bloody Angle Dougen Tong’s grand opening as well. The interior was designed by Japanese graphic artist Yoshirotten and features the store’s signature retro atmosphere, with contemporary red fixtures reminiscent of the Showa era. Customers can also find Bloody Angle merchandise such as tumblers, key chains, lighters, mugs, hoodies, T-shirts and more exclusively at this location.

Chicago, IL | Chicago Humanities Festival offers sneak peek of ‘High Fidelity’ series: Fans of the hit movie “High Fidelity” and the Nick Hornby book of the same name have the opportunity to get a look at the first two episodes of Hulu’s new “High Fidelity” television series. Chicago Humanities Festival will host a public screening of the first two episodes of the show at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St., Chicago. A Q&A with Da’Vine Joy Randolph, one of the stars of the series, will be featured after the screening. Randolph, who appeared in the film “Dolemite Is My Name,” also starred as Oda Mae Brown in the Broadway production of “Ghost the Musical.” As film lovers will remember, the movie “High Fidelity” told the story of a Chicago record store owner, played by John Cusack, who sells vinyl records in an age where new technology is all the rage. He deals with a failing business, romance hardships and the uncertainties of life. In the new series, Zoe Kravitz is the record store owner and the locale is now Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Actress Kravitz is the daughter of musician Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet, who starred in “The Cosby Show.”

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In rotation: 2/10/20

“Devastating” Manufacturing Plant Fire Threatens Worldwide Vinyl Record Supply: Third Man Records’ Ben Blackwell says the destruction of Apollo Masters’ California facility “will present a problem for the vinyl industry worldwide.” Apollo Masters—a manufacturing plant that supplies the lacquer used for making master discs, which are used to make vinyl records—suffered a fire on Thursday, February 6, at its manufacturing and storage facility in Banning, California, The Desert Sun reports. No employees were injured in the “devastating” blaze, which completely destroyed the facility. A note on Apollo Masters’ website reads, “We are uncertain of our future at this point and are evaluating options as we try to work through this difficult time.” Figures in the vinyl record production industry have expressed similar concern. “From my understanding, this fire will present a problem for the vinyl industry worldwide,” Ben Blackwell, co-founder of Third Man Records told Pitchfork in an email. “There are only TWO companies that make lacquers in the world, and the other, MDC in Japan, already had trouble keeping up with demand BEFORE this…”

Vinyl Record Industry Fears ‘Vinylgeddon’ After Fire Burns Down Apollo Masters Plant: The California plant is one of only two in the world that manufactures lacquers, vital to the production of vinyl records. The manufacturing and storage facility for Apollo Masters Corp. — a Banning, Calif.-based manufacturing plant that supplies the lacquer used for making master discs, which are then used to create vinyl records — has burned down in a massive fire, the company confirmed in a statement posted to its official website. “To all of [our] wonderful customers. It is with great sadness we report the Apollo Masters manufacturing and storage facility had a devastating fire and suffered catastrophic damage,” the statement reads. “The best news is all of our employees are safe. We are uncertain of our future at this point and are evaluating options as we try to work through this difficult time. Thank you for all of the support over the years and the notes of encouragement and support we have received from you all.” The fire, which was first reported around 8 a.m. PT Friday morning (Feb. 7), broke out while employees were inside the building, though all escaped safely, according to The Desert Sun, which first reported the blaze. But the loss of the plant — which, along with MDC in Japan, is one of only two worldwide that produces the lacquers needed to create vinyl records — comes as a difficult blow to the booming vinyl record industry.

Vinyl Alliance gains ground to ‘strengthen the position’ of records: The newly-formed group has the likes of Audio Technica and Sony Music as members. Vinyl Alliance is a new group that has formed to help ‘strengthen the position of vinyl records in a digital world’ – and it’s just made headway by appointing an executive board. The group has Audio-Technica, Pro-Ject, Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Analogue Foundation, GZ Media and Ortofon as members, and aims to ‘promote vinyl records as a modern way to consume music.’ Nike Koch of Sony Music Entertainment, and Audio-Technica’s Kurt Van Scoy are among the board members. An announcement regarding new memberships is expected to be made soon, according to Digital Music News. It’s early days for the Vinyl Alliance, but it’s been formed to nurture the vinyl industry, which has of course flourished since the ‘vinyl revival’ kicked off several years ago, and help boost consumers’ appreciation of the format in an increasingly digital world.

​Hamilton, CA | ​Hamilton Record Store Cheapies to Close Next Month: Long-running Hamilton record store Cheapies is the latest music retailer to shutter its doors. The King St. institution will permanently close in March. Owner Brian Jasson revealed the sad news with a social media post this morning. “It is with a heavy heart that I must formally announce, after owning and operating Cheapies for 40 years in downtown Hamilton, the store will permanently close on or before March 27th 2020.” Jasson purchased the store in 1980, which was called Record & Tape Warehouse at the Time. In recent years, the shop has sold new and used vinyl, as well as CDs, films and pop culture merchandise. It also served as the set for Arkells’ “11:11” video.

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