In rotation: 9/14/21

US | US recorded music revenues grew 27% year-on-year in first half of 2021: …Streaming may be 84% of the recorded music market in the US, but there’s also a good-news story in physical sales, with both vinyl AND CD sales up considerably year-on-year – 43.9% and 94% respectively. How much is this merely a bounceback from Covid-related issues around retail and distribution in the first half of 2020? The RIAA pointed out that CD sales were still 19% down on their revenues two years ago, in the first half of 2019, so there is an ongoing decline for that sector. However, vinyl sales were $467.4m in the first half of this year, well over double the $205.3m for CDs. Crucially, in the non-Covid-afflicted first half of 2019, vinyl sales in the US were $232.1m, so for this format there absolutely is sharp organic growth. Americans listened to more than 840bn on-demand streams in the first half of 2021.

Kent, UK | Eil.com: Behind the scenes of the world’s biggest online rare records store, based in Meopham, near Gravesend: Hidden away on an unassuming industrial estate, to the south of Gravesend, lies the home of the world’s biggest online record store; a haven for rare and collectible items spanning the generations. While it may not look up to much from the outside – trains trundle along the railway tracks to nearby Meopham station just yards away – inside it is, to many, a palace of dreams – with row upon row of bulging shelves containing more than a quarter of a million sought-after items from the world’s biggest names. It is to an avid record collector what Willy Wonka’s factory was to a chocolate aficionado. This is the home of Eil.com; a company which has long boasted a global customer base and one which it has carefully cultivated over the years. If you’re after a rare Beatles first edition album in tip-top condition, or perhaps a Madonna picture disc, then the chances are this is where you’ll look. After a tour programme, platinum disk, signed album? Then step right up.

Cleveland, OH | Clevelander Franklin Fantini Is Archiving and Sharing Country Music’s Odd and Forgotten Past With ‘Dollar Country WTFC’ Radio Show: From a makeshift studio in his suburban Cleveland basement filled with a collection of 1,500 .45 RPM vinyl records, Franklin Fantini — a self-made, DIY purveyor of ten-cent wax — has for the last five years been broadcasting Dollar Country WTFC every week. The hour-long online radio show hosted by Frank — Frank the Drifter, as he introduces himself — features a curated tracklist of 18 songs handpicked from his shelves. Most of Fantini’s selections are obscure country recordings by unknown artists released by now-defunct labels, and his listeners range from fellow collectors to reformed metalheads and punks who now embrace the country genre in adulthood. The name Dollar Country comes from Fantini’s time working at Love Garden Sounds, a record store in his hometown of Lawrence, Kansas, where he spent hours watching customers pick over the bargain offerings. “I just saw people going through the dollar bin of .45s, and I always thought that seemed really stupid,” Fantini says. “But then, after a while, I would find these weird country things.

Every Picture Tells A Story, Or, How I Recreated My Record Collection, and Then Some: Today’s renaissance of vinyl as a chosen physical music format represents an opportunity for baby boomers to recapture their collective youth. In the 1970s, record stores were the place to hang out and learn about music and life. I foolishly sold most of my 4,000-LP collection in 2010, and within two years realized what a colossal mistake I had made. I’ve spent the past eight years rebuilding much of what I previously owned, and then some. About three quarters of the records came from the used bins of about a dozen stores in and around Long Island, although most were culled from Record Reserve in Northport, NY, where Jack Kerouac once spent time drinking at the still-operating local watering hole Gunther’s Tap Room. From 2015 to 2019, I’d spell Record Reserve’s proprietor Tim Clair occasionally. When I was a teenager I always wanted to work in a record store, and instead was delegated to the dairy department of the Big Apple supermarket in Commack. Never too late, indeed.

Brighton, UK | audiobooks announce new album and Brighton record store performance: audiobooks (note the spelling without the capital ‘A’) consist of Evangeline Ling and Anglesey born Welsh musician and studio producer/sound engineer David Wrench. They are rather interesting people, as David has previously won the BBC Radio Cymru C2 ‘Producer of the Year’ award five times and has also played in Julian Cope’s group Black Sheep. Whereas Evangeline is a fashion model along with her older brother and sister and she was also in a synthpop duo called The Linedots. The Brighton & Hove News Music Team first witnessed the duo performing live at Horatios on 18th May 2018 as part of The Great Escape new music festival, where we reported thus

Echo & The Bunnymen’s first 4 albums, 2 later records to be reissued on vinyl: October’s a big month for LP-collecting Echo & The Bunnymen fans, with the band’s first four albums receiving vinyl reissues — including limited-edition colored pressings — from Rhino Records, while two of the group’s later records are repressed by Demon Records. On Oct. 1, Demon will reissue 2001’s Flowers and 2005’s Siberia on 180-gram vinyl. Flowers will be pressed on white vinyl, while Siberia will be a 2LP set on translucent vinyl. Then, on Oct. 22, Rhino will reissue 1980’s Crocodiles, 1981’s Heaven Up Here, 1983’s Porcupine and 1984’s Ocean Rain on 180-gram black vinyl — exclusively in “brick and mortar” retailers, according to the label. Colored pressings — on yellow, blue, white and transparent blue vinyl, respectively — will be sold only through Rhino.com.

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