In rotation: 4/16/20

Washington, DC | Georgetown’s Hill & Dale Records closes permanently: “We’re writing to let you know that Hill & Dale Records in Georgetown has closed permanently. For the last several months we’ve been preparing to move the store to a new location. We planned to announce our move, have a big moving sale, shut down the store sometime around the beginning of summer, and begin the process of relocating to a new space. However, the disruption that has come with COVID-19 has forced us to rethink our plans. We’ve decided to shut down immediately and take some time to think about next steps. Closing the store abruptly is not how we wanted to leave our space in Georgetown. We love the community that has supported our store. We’re grateful for the opportunity to serve the District of Columbia and want to express our deep appreciation for the many loyal friends who have supported Hill & Dale Records since we opened in 2013. Thank you! We’ll miss you and look forward to seeing everybody again, hopefully sometime soon…”

Boise, ID | The Record Exchange Takes the Lead: For the foreseeable future, people will spend more time in the virtual world, and the Record Exchange has taken an active role in keeping music lovers engaged. From online shopping to music steaming and screenings on social media, the store has been a pioneer when it comes to connecting people to music. “We are so appreciative of music lovers that are still shopping with us and not the big beast Amazon,” said Marketing and Promotions Director Chad Dryden. “We miss the people and the music, but we aren’t going to prematurely open. First and foremost, we’re thinking of safety.” The record store still sells through its website, Discogs and Ebay stores, but beyond buying and selling, it has established itself as a hub for the music scene, putting out a call to local musicians and asking them to share live streams and videos to be put on its Facebook page. It is also hosting online screenings of the documentaries Vinyl Nation and the Other Music Documentary to celebrate Record Store Day, Friday-Sunday, April 17-19. In addition, there will be an online tribute concert for music legend and COVID-19 victim John Prine on Sunday, April 19, at 1 p.m.

Cyrus to host free ‘Virtual Vinyl Day’ livestream on Saturday: Audio engineers and hi-fi professionals will talk all things vinyl on the original Record Store Day 2020 date. On Saturday (18th April), Cyrus is hosting a livestream on its YouTube channel that will see a number of audio engineers and hi-fi professionals talk about their appreciation of vinyl, music and (of course!) Cyrus products. The one-and-a-half-hour ‘Virtual Vinyl Day’ stream, which will kickoff at 11am BST and is free to watch, will feature audio engineers Stuart Hawkes (Amy Winehouse, Ed Sheeran) and David Baron (Lenny Kravitz, Jade Bird), as well as hi-fi industry figures Peter Thomas (co-founder of PMC Loudspeakers), Bob Surgeoner (founder of Neat Acoustics), and Conrad Mas (founder of Avid HiFi). Cyrus’ own engineers and senior staff members and Banquet Records’ Jon Tolley will also participate. Cyrus’ managing director, Simon Freethy, will hold a live Q&A, too, and viewers will have the opportunity to enter a competition to win a Cyrus One Cast streaming amplifier.

Qrates Is Bringing Old-School Vinyl Distribution Back — And Offering a COVID Workaround for Musicians: In 2019, U.S. vinyl record sales grew by nearly 20 percent to over $500 million, marking the 14th consecutive year in which the format’s domestic commercial performance has improved. Now, COVID-19 is putting that progress on pause, though Qrates is developing smart manufacturing and distribution workarounds to keep growing the format. The medium that was previously thought to be financially unworkable has enjoyed — current global crisis notwithstanding — a massive resurgence. But even under global lockdowns and quarantines, an ever-increasing number of fans and artists are eager to experience today’s music on vinyl, which has passed the test of time with flying colors. But how, exactly, should an artist go about distributing vinyl, when buying it just got so difficult? Just recently, Amazon indicated that vinyl purchases would be delayed while more essential supplies are prioritized. That freeze is slowly being lifted on non-essential goods, though it will probably take a while to return to previous levels. Meanwhile, physical record stores are closed, even though tens of thousands of fans would love nothing more than a good vinyl record during isolation.

Records on a Lifeline – Record Store Day Postponed: Record Store Day has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the future of record stores is more precarious than ever. The holiday was moved from April 18th to June 20th, subsequently delaying one of the most profitable weekends for album sales annually. Vinyl retailers have faced challenges over the decades by clinging on despite changes in music distribution. However, in this grim era, the music industry as a whole is taking serious blows. Last month had the worst sales week in history since 1960. Streaming was down 7.6% and album sales dropped 27.6%. Additionally, by the end of March, Amazon, the largest seller of vinyl in the U.S., announced it would stop restocking vinyl records to prioritize essential equipment. Although in a new statement, Amazon claimed they would restock vinyls and other items in limited quantities, physical product sales are down around the country.

Wiz Khalifa’s “Kush & Orange Juice” To Get Vinyl Release: As Wiz Khalifa’s classic mixtape “Kush & Orange Juice” turns ten, look for the project to land a shiny new vinyl release for the occasion. Wiz Khalifa has become one of the game’s most trusted marijuana connoisseurs, having become synonymous with the very act of puffing a blunt. Much of this prestigious reputation was solidified nearly a decade ago, when Wiz slid onto the scene with his classic mixtape Kush & Orange Juice, thus sparking a movement in the process. With many fans still holding the album dear to heart, it only makes sense to see Wiz stepping up and giving it the treatment it deserves. On the day of its tenth birthday, Wiz Khalifa’s team has confirmed that a special vinyl edition of Kush & Orange Juice will be hitting stores, courtesy of Rostrum Records, marking the first time it’s ever been available in the physical form.

Five Musicians Spearheading The Fight Against COVID-19: While the world is suspended in a state of uncertainty, there is one thing that we can be sure of: this pandemic does not affect everybody equally. While those who were already struggling to make ends meet find these ends getting further and further apart, we look to those who can spare the money to help bridge that gap and give back to the community that raised them up. Musicians, from the poorest approaching bankruptcy, to the ones who can lightly part with six-figure sums, have been doing their part in more ways than one. Whether that’s using their influence to call on world leaders and secure enormous donations from the globe’s biggest corporations; helping out with the food shop; or taking some time out to give fans online lessons, these are only a handful of artists making a difference.

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