In rotation: 5/3/18

Record Store Day 2018 hits new high: Album sales were up 33 percent on Record Store Day 2018 (RSD), according to Official Charts Company (OCC) data for April 21. Organisers of the one-day celebration of vinyl have reported that an estimated 60,000 LPs were sold on the day, followed by approximately 30,000 vinyl singles – marking an overall 7 percent year-on-year increase in unit sales. David Bowie’s Welcome To The Blackout – a RSD exclusive – was the most in-demand release, topping the UK vinyl chart and entering the official Top 40 at number 22. Vinyl sales in the UK overall were up 16 percent year-on-year according to the OCC, although sales of singles dropped year-on-year, as customers moved towards the album format.

Led Zeppelin Score Chart Topping Hit With RSD Release: Led Zeppelin have topped the UK Vinyl Singles Chart with their debut Record Store Day release. The band’s limited edition 7″ single featuring previously unheard mixes of “Rock And Roll” and “Friends” landed at No. 1 on the chart ahead of tunes by David Bowie, U2 and Jimi Hendrix, among others as issued as part of the April 21 event celebrating the culture of independent record stores. The previously unreleased version of “Rock And Roll” provides an additional peek into the fabled 1971 “Sunset Sound Mixes” of “Led Zeppelin IV”. Only two previous “Sunset Sound Mixes” have been released, the first being the version of “When The Levee Breaks” on the original album and the second the “Stairway To Heaven” mix that debuted on the 2014 deluxe edition reissue of the band’s fourth record.

Tom Petty, Van Halen … Prince?! This Des Moines duo created art for some of rock’s biggest albums: Photo shoots with Tom Petty. Car rides with Stevie Wonder. Studio time with Fleetwood Mac. One fan’s rock ‘n’ roll fantasy is reality for Jay Vigon and Margo Nahas, a husband-wife artistic duo who spent decades crafting album covers for some of the world’s best-known rock stars. And, on Friday, Iowans get a chance to step behind the lens of music history as Vigon and Nahas open “The Art of Vinyl,” a gallery at Mainframe Studios in Des Moines highlighting careers of a combined 80-plus musical design projects. It’s the first time, Nahas said, that they’ve put this many albums on display in one setting. The show plans to through May 21. “Really, no one knows that we’re here,” she said. “We have a lot of fun things to take a look at.”

Shure is discontinuing its turntable cartridge range: In its heyday the company was producing around 28,000 cartridges a day. American audio company Shure is discontinuing all of its phono products this summer. Announcing the news via its website the company explained, “in recent years, the ability to maintain our exacting standards in the Phonograph Cartridge product category has been challenged, resulting in cost and delivery impacts that are inconsistent with the Shure brand promise.” Shure has been making pioneering cartridges since the 1940s including the first cartridge capable of playing both 33 and 78 rpm records, as well as design innovations such as the needle-tilt principle which minimises record wear, and the trackability engineering concept.

Vinyl collectors spent millions on Discogs last year: Record collectors spent more than $200m (£147m) at the online music marketplace Discogs last year, the BBC can reveal. The site, which helps collectors find and trade rare music, sold more than 10m records – up from 8.3m in 2016. Vinyl was the most popular format, with 7.9m sales – including a rare Beatles record that fetched $10,502 (£7,700). The 7-inch single was one of only 250 issued with Sir Paul McCartney’s name spelled incorrectly on the label as “Paul McArtney.” Discogs’ success reflects a revival in the music industry’s fortunes as well as the continuing consumer interest in vinyl. However, its figures are largely hidden from official music industry statistics, because they derive from private sellers trading second-hand records.

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