In rotation: 7/16/21

Vinyl Record Sales Are Up 108.2% This Year — Not Everyone Is So Thrilled, However: Though U.S. vinyl record sales enjoyed a 108.2 percent year-over-year increase during 2021’s first six months, a number of indie acts and record labels are expressing their frustration with the popularity uptick’s impact upon the production process – and moving away from the format altogether. MRC Data recently disclosed the triple-digit vinyl record sales growth in its 2021 half-year report, covering January 1st through July 1st. According to this analysis, stateside vinyl LP sales surpassed 19.2 million units through 2021’s initial two quarters, up 108.2 percent from HY 2020’s 9.2 million units. Additionally, the breakdown relayed that vinyl had outsold CDs in the U.S. “for the first time at the midyear point in MRC Data’s history (since 1991).” More than a few mainstream acts are capitalizing upon the trend, the report also indicated, as Taylor Swift claimed the uppermost spot on the list of “Top Vinyl Albums” with Evermore (143,000 units sold during the period).

Frisco, TX | Frisco record store to offer exclusive, limited-edition vinyl for Record Store Day this weekend: ZT Records in Frisco will offer dozens of exclusive and limited-edition vinyl at its Frisco Mercantile booth Saturday, in celebration of Record Store Day, which has been recognized annually since 2008. According to the official Record Store Day website, the event was conceived at a gathering of record store owners and employees as a way to “celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture” of independent record stores around the world. Throughout its 13 years, cities across the nation — including New York City, Los Angeles and Las Vegas — have declared Record Store Day an official holiday, and the event is recognized on every continent except Antarctica. “This is a day for the people who make up the world of the record store — the staff, the customers, and the artists — to come together and celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these independently owned stores play in their communities,” the website states.

Chicago, IL | 3CR’s Guide to Record Store Day Drop 2 2021 in Chicago and Beyond: It’s time for another Record Store Day Drop! What once was a single day toward the end of April (specifically the third Saturday), has transformed into a multi-day event! COVID-19 forced the annual day of record store celebration to split into three last year and two editions this year. Thankfully things seemed to go pretty smoothly during the June 12 Drop with a little more digging into the record stacks and lines outside shows (social distanced, of course!). This Saturday, July 17, will be the second and last proper Record Store Day of the year (not including Black Friday, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves)! The fun event has always had some criticism, specifically its focus on costly vinyl, records that don’t necessarily need to be repressed, flippers picking up all the rarest goodies to resell at even more ridiculous prices, record stores not making as much as they once did because of all the corporate overlords digging their nails into the backs of small business, etc. And now with the ever looming pandemic, safety has become an issue. Thankfully stores are adhering to their neighborhoods’ COVID-guidelines and making sure that everything is as safe as can be.

Solihull, UK | HMV reopening in Solihull two years after Mell Square store closed: The new record store’s opening will mark 100 years since HMV launched its first shop: HMV is celebrating its 100th anniversary by reopening in Solihull town centre. The record retailer will be opening at a new site in the old Cotswold Outdoor unit next to Dunelm next week – just across from its old landmark store which closed in 2019. The former branch shut down after failing to agree rent with landlords and remains vacant two years on. In February that year, HMV announced the immediate closure of 27 “unprofitable” UK stores including its intu Merry Hill branch. The Mell Square site was not included in the list of closures and it seemed the branch’s future was secure – until the announcement came in March. The business then fell into administration that December but was rescued by new owners Sunrise Records. Solihull’s new 4,500 square-foot record store will be opening its doors to customers on Tuesday, July 20 to mark 100 years since the company opened its first branch in 1921.

Northwich, UK | Northwich town centre store stocks vinyl records for charity: Vinyl record enthusiasts and book lovers are flocking to a new charity shop which has opened its doors in Northwich. St Luke’s Hospice has reopened its shop in Witton Street as ‘R&B’, specialising in records, books and collectable items. The shop has been completely refurbished and boasts a bright new look. It was officially opened by Northwich Town Mayor Councillor Sam Naylor on Saturday, July 10. Steven Holmes, Head of Retail for St Luke’s Hospice, said: “We’ve been busy improving our Northwich shop over the past few months and we are so excited to finally reopen our doors. “We wanted to bring the St Luke’s shop back with a completely different look and vibe. Northwich has such a great music scene and so we thought a shop selling records, books and collectables items would be a perfect addition to the town.

The best record player you can buy now has a successor – and it’s seriously pricey: This turntable gets us nostalgic. Pro-Ject USA has launched its latest product, the Debut Pro Turntable. A follow-up to last year’s Debut Carbon Evo, the retro inspired Pro focuses on premium analog reproduction and high quality stereo hi-fi sound, in an effort from the company to revisit its roots for its 30th anniversary. Retailing for $899 (around £649 / AU$1,209) in the US, it’s definitely an item for true vinyl enthusiasts, though there’s currently no word as to whether the Debut Pro Turntable will launch in territories beyond the US. The Debut Pro Turntable packs many promising features that could seriously delight stereo buffs and record player lovers alike, with what looks like a high-quality build, a pre-adjusted Sumiko Rainer cartridge, a hand-painted MDF chassis and a precision aluminum platter complete with TPE damping.

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