In rotation: 12/4/19

Target & Walmart Help Propel Vinyl Album Sales to Blockbuster Week: Vinyl album sales in the U.S. surged pass the half-million mark last week, scoring the second-largest week for vinyl in 2019. According to Nielsen Music, 544,000 vinyl albums were sold in the U.S. in the week ending Nov. 28 (up a big 60% compared to the previous week’s tally of 340,000). The 544,000 haul is the second-biggest week for the format this year, behind only the 827,000 sold during Record Store Day week (week ending April 18). To compare, in 2018, during the tracking week that ended with Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22, 2018), there were 355,000 vinyl albums sold. And, in the week ending with Thanksgiving Day in 2017 (Nov. 23, 2017), there were 331,000 vinyl LPs sold. The gain in vinyl sales in the tracking week ending Nov. 28, 2019 is largely owed to sale pricing and promotion by Target and Walmart.

Charlottesville, VA | Siding with vinyl: The pros and cons of Record Store Day: …In the decade-plus since, RSD has grown to include more than 1,400 shops in the U.S., plus thousands of others on six continents (Antarctica is the exception), offering more than 500 exclusive vinyl releases in April and more than 150 every November. Three of Charlottesville’s independently-owned shops participate, and we wanted to know: Does the event actually honor record-store culture in the way it claims to? Yes and no. Record Store Days are a lot of work for employees—the buying and the staffing (in some cases, it’s all the same, single person)—and prep begins months in advance. …Not having the releases that customers want is one of the greatest frustrations of Record Store Day, says Cal Glattfelder, owner of Sidetracks Music. It’s difficult to tell an eager customer that the shop doesn’t have a particular release. Plus, RSD is risky business for these small shops. They pay thousands of dollars up front for records that may or may not sell, and labels don’t take returns. Stores might not make their money back right away, if at all.

Chicago, IL | This new film travels with a record shop owner as he buys peoples’ collections: Vinyl road tripping with the owner of Chicago’s Dusty Groove. A new film that tells the story of Chicago Record shop Dusty Groove, and its owner Rick Wojcik as he buys record collections, is being released in 2020. Dusty Groove: The Sound Of Transition follows Wojcik as he journeys to the homes of record collectors, buying their soul, jazz and hip-hop vinyl. Dusty Groove: The Sound Of Transition was directed, filmed and produced by Danielle Beverly, and follows her feature documentary Old South. According to Beverly, “Each seller shares a common reason: they face a major life transition.”

Duncan, OK | New record shop is ready to take you for a spin: Much like a prism with one beam light entering it making it break into the seven colors of the rainbow — it was one record, Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” which lead to the opening of Put The Needle On The Record for Karen and Casey Sorensen-Kindt. The couple split the duties up and Karen is the owner and Casey is the manager for the store, however, both like to get in a dig for vinyl records and other interesting items. Located at 113 W. Main Street, the store is a mix of old school media vinyl, even some 8 Tracks tapes to DVDs and CDs. “We both thought about doing some sort of small business for many years but I was serving in the army for 24 years, retired in 2014, finally settled here in Oklahoma about a year and a half ago,” Casey said. “And thought there was a great opportunity to take advantage of the fact there was no record store here in Duncan.” Karen said the couple started on a different route but vinyl was still there.

Brooklyn, NY | The Bed-Stuy record store that shaped Brooklyn’s music scene: Nestled between a Sprint store and a McDonald’s in the heart of Bedford-Stuyvesant sits Charlie’s Calypso City — once the center of Brooklyn’s music scene. At the helm is Rawlston Charles, an immigrant from Trinidad and Tobago who helped bring about a resurgence of calypso music that stretched from Bed-Stuy to cities across the world. The store has been a neighborhood staple since 1972, but like most record shops, it has felt the effects of digital downloads and streaming services. “We don’t have a whole lot of walking traffic anymore, because of these new ways that people can buy music,” Charles said in a recent phone interview. Despite the quiet atmosphere, Charles himself is as lively as ever. Most days, he wears a colorful three-piece suit, pork pie hat and shimmering bowtie. His eyes flicker with confidence and gusto.

Sotheby’s to Auction The Beatles’ 1962 Audition Tape for Decca Records: It’s hard to imagine a record company turning down The Beatles, but that’s exactly what happened after the band recorded an audition tape for Decca Records on New Year’s Day in 1962. And now, that legendary recording is up for auction at Sotheby’s London. “This precious tape holds a special place in the annals of music history,” says Dr. Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts Specialist. “This is a unique recording from the Beatles’ first commercial for Decca on New Year’s Day 1962—one of the first fruits of Brian Epstein’s management and a huge opportunity for the young band.” Under Epstein’s management, the yet-to-be discovered band recorded 15 songs for the record company during the Jan. 1 session, including “Money,” “The Sheik of Araby,” “Like Dreamers Do,” “Three Cool Cats,” and “September in the Rain.”

New Orleans, LA | New Orleans Record Press Hosting Winter Bash With Erica Falls, Juan Pardo & More: New Orleans Record Press, the city’s first and only independently owned and operated vinyl record manufacturing plant, is throwing a massive Winter Bash from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on December 6. Before the event, there will be a private record pressing demo from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. that you are welcome to join if you’re the curious sort of person who likes to see the way things are made. Arrive at 1336 Montegut St. ready to dance! The School of Rock House Band will kick off the event. Then Big Chief Juan Pardo and Erica Falls will join The New Orleans Suspects for a raucous performance. Video really can’t do justice to the magic and energy of The Suspects, especially when joined by the chief — but if you’ve ever stayed at The Maple Leaf for every set until close and been to a traditional Mardi Gras Indian second line, you’ve got an idea. OffBeat was recently graced with an in-studio performance by Erica Falls, best known as the principal guest vocalist for Galactic, now recording solo songs and branching out.

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