In rotation: 4/15/21

UK | The Official Top 40 best-selling vinyl releases of 2021 so far: Records from Lana Del Rey, Bicep and Arlo Parks are among the most popular on vinyl so far in 2021. The UK’s biggest vinyl album of 2021 so far is Lana Del Rey’s Chemtrails Over The Country Club, can reveal. Released last month, the record has sold over 17,300 copies on wax to top the UK’s Official year-to-date vinyl albums chart. 16,700 of those were bought in its first week, earning Lana the title of having the fastest-selling vinyl album of the century for a female act. Sales of vinyl records continue to climb in the UK, with nearly 5 million vinyl albums purchased last year, up 11.5% on the previous 12 months. The upward trend looks set to continue this year, with many fans supporting their favourite acts by purchasing vinyl in the absence of gigs and touring as the UK slowly eases out of lockdown. The second best-seller on vinyl is Foo Fighters’ chart-topping Medicine At Midnight, the UK’s overall biggest album of 2021 released this year, while Isles by electronic duo Bicep rounds out the Top 3. British singer-songwriter Celeste lands at Number 4 with her debut album Not Your Muse, which recently had an expanded edition on vinyl, while another debut album, Collapsed In Sunbeams by Arlo Parks, completes the Top 5.

London, UK | Gothport shop reopening “feels like Christmas” for vinyl record shop owners: It seems that optimism has arrived on Gosport High Street following the reopening of non-essential retail stores. Shoppers were seen perusing High Street all day long, and entrepreneurs wanted small businesses to spend the day in the sun without so many large retailers. One of those business owners is Keelon Howes, who runs the Slice of Vinyl Record Shop on South Street. Angela Albray, 59, from Blockhurst, made her first haircut since the launch of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. “I wouldn’t mind if no one appeared, but fortunately there are really loyal customers who are very supportive of our work.” Kieron wants the people of Gosport to shop locally and help independent retailers during these times of distress. “Currently, especially in Gosport, there seems to be a lot of love for independent shops,” he said. “This year, we have a lot of space for major brands to jump in, so I think we can often see the revival of independents here.

John Prine is gone but the music is still going strong at his record label: It took a decade – the entirety of the 1970s, to be exact – for John Prine to discover he wasn’t cut out for the majors. After releasing eight albums that showcased his plain-speaking and often wryly human brand of songcraft for two major record labels (Atlantic and Asylum), Prine set out to be his own boss. Along with manager Al Bunetta, he formed a label. It wasn’t a subsidiary venture of a major or a home industry that catered exclusively to his own work, but a company that viewed music-making as more than a hit driven, commercially motivated enterprise. It was a mission only an artist who had been around the block with the major labels could implement. Prine was the artist and, with the 1981 release of a red vinyl holiday single that had him singing “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” on one side and “Silver Bells” on the other, Oh Boy Records became the label. This year, Oh Boy and Prine’s lasting vision of what a record company should be, turn 40 years old.

A Pressing Issue: How ‘the vinyl revival’ has caught out the music industry during the pandemic: Release dates going back and back. Box sets getting postponed by a year. Physical albums arriving months after their digital release. Rumours of pressing plant meltdowns… COVID-19 was bound to have an effect on the release of albums. But the pandemic has brought home a crisis in the music industry, and that is, quite simply, the fact that there aren’t enough pressing plants to cope with the demand for vinyl. On the surface, the figures for the so-called vinyl revival are healthy: even with the high street shut for most of the year, vinyl sales in the UK rose by nearly 10 percent to 4.8 million in 2020. It’s the 13th consecutive year that vinyl sales have risen. Sales of turntables grew too, as music fans who had previously resisted the headlines about ‘The Vinyl Revival’ finally succumbed and began rediscovering love for the black stuff. Despite the rise in popularity, there has been no serious initiative, since vinyl sales picked up, to increase vinyl production. No new pressing plants of any significant size built in the past decade, coupled with an ever-increasing rise in sales, means a crisis point has been reached.

Silver Spring, MD | Virtual “Just for the Record – A Vinyl Day” Set for Saturday: Fans of vinyl records can celebrate that music medium and all that surrounds the culture of LPs during the fourth annual “Just for the Record – A Vinyl Day”. Montgomery County Public Libraries and Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, Inc. are presenting the free virtual event, which will run from 12 to 3 p.m. this Saturday, April 17. The Music Montgomery contest, featuring performances from previously selected submissions of musical acts by residents, with judging and commentary by a distinguished panel of experts, will kick off the event at noon. At 1 p.m., a workshop on vinyl record pricing will be held, hosted by Lance Salins, Director of Business Operations, Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, Inc., and Ray Brennan, antique collector. At 2 p.m., a panel discussion will be moderated by Garrett McQueen, musician, performer, and equity consultant. Panel members include Olivia Ellis Randolph and Dianne Be of Takoma Radio (WOWD-FM), and Daryl Davis, international recording artist, actor, author, and leader of The Daryl Davis Band.

Hi-Fi Radio: Vinylthon Returns to Over 100 Radio Stations Saturday: Across the USA and the world, radio stations will celebrate the unique format of vinyl records by going vinyl-only on the air for Vinylthon 2021, this Saturday, April 17. Organized by the non-profit College Radio Foundation and open to all radio stations, commercial and non-commercial, Vinylthon is the radio industry’s response to the remarkable vinyl renaissance that continues around the world. …”This last year has been tough, and we could use some cheering up,” said Vinylthon founder, Rob Quicke. “This event is a genuinely fun day for both listeners and broadcasters alike. People are still very passionate about the magic and warmth of vinyl. Playing vinyl on the air is an amazing, hands-on experience for many of today’s radio broadcasters, and a trip down memory lane for the listeners.” Quicke is also GM at WPSC 88.7 FM at William Paterson University of New Jersey. In addition to the USA, there are also participating radio stations in eleven countries: Canada, Colombia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Sweden, Philippines, and Wales.

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