In rotation: 4/9/21

Flipping Alone: An Oral History of Record Stores During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Owners of several of the coolest record stores on the planet explain how they’ve adapted during a global health crisis. …Faced with those headwinds, plus a once-a-century pandemic, many shops simply folded. The list of post-COVID record store casualties includes brick-and-mortar mainstays like Seattle’s Bop Street Records and Everyday Music, Record Alley in Palm Springs, and New York’s Record Mart, the shop in the Times Square subway station that was, until its closure in June, the oldest continually operating record store in Manhattan. For the rest of America’s record stores, time moves in fits and starts, with signs of hopeful normalcy mixed with the uncertainty of a March that, in many ways, never ended. This month, I stopped worrying and started talking, as I reached out to shop owners around the country to find out how they (and their stores) coped with this unprecedented year.

Here’s the full list of Record Store Day 2021 releases: What’s on your shopping list? Amy Winehouse, Wolf Alice, Rage Against The Machine, St. Vincent, Elastica, Lady Gaga, The Cure, Rolling Stones and AC/DC are among the artists with special releases due for this year’s Record Store Day. Check out the full list of releases below. Following on from last year’s triple event spread out due to coronavirus concerns, RSD will return for two dates this summer and see hundreds of vinyl, CD and cassette releases sold exclusively through independent record shops – with over 250 stores from every corner of the UK and thousands around the world taking part in the celebrations. Following yesterday’s announcement of special War Child charity releases from the likes of The Clash and The Cranberries, now the full list has been revealed of limited releases coming on the two ‘drop’ dates on Saturday June 12 and Saturday July 17. “We cannot wait for RSD this year! After the rollercoaster of a year everyone has had, it’s so refreshing to be able to look forward to such a successful and fun event,” said Louise Jackson from Wax & Beans Records.

Tampa Bay, FL | Vinyl Record Sales Spike During Pandemic: Micheal Stutz knows and loves music. And as a DJ he loves sharing music with others. “I love it. It’s almost like music performance, which is something I miss too now,” Stutz said. The last time he DJ’d for a large crowd was in February of 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic has not kept him away from his vinyl records or the turntable. Just 6 months ago, he and his wife, Marie, opened The Current Year, a record shop in Parma. “There’s about, I don’t know, maybe a half a dozen record stores in Cuyahoga County, but no, none of them are competing with each other, they’re all very different beasts,” Stutz said. When you walk into The Current Year, you may feel like you’ve traveled to the past. The vinyl records that fill the crates are easy listening, groovy 60s, 70s, luxuria and classical music. Covid has caused many to put off opening new businesses, but Stutz and his wife said it’s prime time for record shops.

UK | The Julien Dubuque International Film Festival preview: ‘Vinyl Nation’ …In the 1980s, sales of vinyl records plunged when compact discs arrived on the scene, and thousands of record shops, once the bastion of the record industry, were shuttered. The arrival of the Sony Walkman replaced the turntable as the preferred method of listening to music. CDs were small and easily stored, and the Walkman and others like it made music portable. The iPod, which came along in 2001, appeared to be the kiss of death for vinyl records. But, as one vinyl fan says in the film, “The thrill of what might be behind the door of that little shop — you know — I’ve never been stunned to find an MP3.” Director and producer Smokler emphasized that “Vinyl Nation” isn’t just for record collectors. “We made a movie about records that ended up being a movie about how music is the universal human language that connects us all,” he said. Smokler said everyone from hardcore collectors to those with a passing interest will find a lot to like about “Vinyl Nation.” “Really, we hope anyone who sees our movies realizes that if they like records or are even curious about records, they probably have a lot of friends out there they haven’t met yet,” he said. “And you’ll hear some great music, too.”

San Diego, CA | Used vinyl cheaper in Tijuana: Psychedelic rock rarities turn up at late March fair: On March 26-27, an estimated 20 San Diegans rendezvoused with about 3000 other record collectors and dealers at the Pasaje Rodríguez on Avenida Revolución in Tijuana for the Fifth Tijuana Vinyl Fair. “[I found] an extremely rare ‘City of the Angels’ single by Los Walker de Tijuana,” said Lucio Soto. “Currently, I exclusively look for Tijuana oldies bands from the 60s and 70s.” Soto’s been stockpiling records at his Escondido home and storage lockers for the past 35 years. “I am what you call a severe hard-core vinyl junkie. I am about 50,000 records deep in my collection.” “How much did you pay for that Los Walker de Tijuana seven-inch record?” I asked Soto. “$325 USD …. although I’m not too comfortable carrying much cash in Mexico.” Soto then direct-messaged me a photo of him holding a Feliz Navidad/Centro Musical De Tijuana, S.A. album that he purchased from Luis Enrique Acosta Jimenez for $300 USD. “Luis takes my PayPal debit card. He’s a good guy: a straight shooter.”

UK | BPI reveals how lockdown changed the UK’s listening habits: UK record labels association, the BPI, has released new data today that shows the impact music had on the UK throughout the 2020 lockdowns, and particularly the increase in music listening across Britain to aid in wellness, motivation and escapism. It is based on data commissioned by AudienceNet’s Audiomonitor survey in November 2020, and is taken from the 42nd edition of the BPI’s Yearbook, All About The Music 2021, which will be released next Wednesday (April 14). From the data, new insights have been revealed that 28% of survey participants said they have listened to more music compared to life before lockdown, and only 11% of those surveyed said they have listened to less or no music at all. These results are in line with the BPI market update (January 4) that saw recorded music consumption increased by 8.2% in the UK in 2020, as 155 million albums or equivalent were streamed or purchased by music fans (including 139 billion audio streams, 16 million CDs, almost 5 million vinyl LPs, and over 150,000 cassettes).

Organize and Improve Your Vinyl Hobby With Some Prime Vinyl and Record Player Accessories: Vinyl is in vogue once again and if you’re into music, we’d be willing to bet you’ve picked up a turntable and a record or two in the last few years. But if you’re not willing to get the right vinyl accessories and record player accessories to improve your listening experience, you might want to reconsider. Sure, all you need to listen to a record is a record, a record player and some kind of headphones or speakers. But if you want to listen to a record right and have the best possible listening experience, a few vinyl accessories can go a long way. On the storage side, make sure you invest in some racks, holders or furniture because once you hit a critical mass of records, trust us, you’re going to want a convenient way to organize everything. On the listening side, hi-fi headphones, amplifiers and stereo receivers can all play a huge role in improving the quality of the sound. With the right gear, you’ll literally hear aspects of songs and layers of music that you’ve never heard before.

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