In rotation: 1/4/22

Bella Union’s Simon Raymonde On The Vinyl Landscape: The on-going vinyl resurgence is one of modern music’s most remarked-upon phenomenons. A format condemned to the bargain bins during the 90s, the rise of the CD – you can famously smear jam on ’em and they’ll still play – seemed to demolish all in its path. Yet the warm audio glow vinyl offers, and its sense of heritage, brought the format back from the brink, with a new generation of fans re-claiming it. The past decade or so has brought a vast percentage increase in vinyl sales, with catalogues re-booted and fresh artists requesting that their music appear on black wax. Yesterday – December 29th – saw the BPI unveil a new round of eye-watering percentage marks, with vinyl enjoying its best year in British music since 1988. For those on the ground, however, it hasn’t been quite simple. The architecture for pressing vinyl is now being far out-stripped by demand, meaning that small labels – who initially brought the vinyl resurgence into being – were pushed to the sidelines, experiencing lengthy delays on manufacture.

Sayville, NY | Better Nature Records shop brings music, fashion and ‘chill’ to Sayville: Michael Gippetti believes every community needs a record shop. “Every community has a barber shop, a gas station, a hardware store, a liquor store — got to have our liquor — but you don’t see enough record shops,” said the 37-year-old Oakdale resident who opened his Better Nature Records shop in downtown Sayville this fall. “Record shops promote the local festivals and bands. There’s so much to do.” Located at 56 S. Main St., Better Nature Records offers more than just music. Gippetti sells everything required to dive into rock culture. Used vinyl records fill bins throughout the shop, rock band tees lay on shelves and guitars hang from the ceiling. Clothing racks throughout the store boast black jackets, Eleven Paris sweaters and hoodies and All Saints boots. The store also carries new vinyl. Shrink-wrapped classics like “Led Zeppelin” and “Are You Experienced?” join newer albums like St. Vincent’s “Daddy’s Home” and The Black Keys’ “Let’s Rock.”

Here Are Some Black-Owned Record Stores That Are Helping Vinyl Have Its Biggest Year In Decades: …There are plenty of reasons for this jump in vinyl sales, with most having to do with consumers increasing interest in the novelty and vintage item that’s still connected to today’s music. This interest is catered to by record stores all over the country as well as the annual Record Store Day campaign. While big artists like Adele, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, and more are responsible for a heavy percentage of vinyl sales, the companies that go above and beyond with their consumers also played a large part in this. Stores that seek to do more than sell vinyl, and instead, build themselves as staples in their communities will always have old customers coming back while piquing the interest of new ones. Plenty of stores across the country do this, but there’s a specific uniqueness and communal aspect that’s present in Black-owned record stores. So here are six Black-owned record stores across the country that helped to give vinyl sales its biggest year in decades.

UAE | A UAE beginner’s guide to buying and listening to vinyl records: Vinyl sales are the highest they’ve been in three decades, so if you’re thinking about diving into the hobby, here’s a crash course on what you need. Vinyl sales are booming. In the era of Spotify and Apple Music, where millions of songs are only a thumb flick away, vinyl records may seem like a perplexing, if not antiquated, form of consuming music. In fact, less than two decades ago the medium was almost obsolete, but was saved by a few dedicated enthusiasts. But things seem to have come around for records. According to an annual report by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), purchases for vinyl LPs in the UK made up for 23 per cent of album sales in 2021. The figure is impressive, especially considering it’s the highest it’s been since 1990. So what has inspired many to get back in the groove?

Worcester, UK | Sales of vinyl records in Worcester soaring amid national boom: …More than five million vinyl albums were bought in the UK over the past 12 months, up eight per cent on sales in 2020, according to figures from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). This marks the 14th consecutive year of growth for vinyl records since 2007. Nick Banks, who has been running Market Hall Records in The Shambles for almost 20 years, said he’s noticed the industry boom in Worcester, and insisted rock classics remain the favourites among his new wave of customers. He said: “I’ve definitely seen a similar trend in Worcester, sales have been going up for the last three or four years now to be honest. “But of course it is slightly different for me because HMV has gone and so has Rise, so really there isn’t many places to go and buy records in Worcester, so I have noticed a big difference. “Customers are buying all sorts of stuff, new and old.

UK | ‘Fantastic rebirth of record shops’ as vinyl sales grow to highest level in three decades: The coronavirus pandemic may have left gig venues eerily silent, but it has elsewhere driven the resurgence of a retro tradition for music lovers. Vinyl sales grew to their highest level in more than three decades this year as consumers turned to the retro format. More than five million vinyl albums were purchased in the UK over the past 12 months, up 8 per cent on last year’s sales, according to figures from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). This marks the 14th consecutive year of growth for the format since 2007. …George Macdonald, who runs Underground Solu’shn in the heart of Edinburgh on Cockburn Street, said the outlet had noticed a rise in vinyl sales this year as a result of coming out of lockdown. “When people were able to get out to shops and travel, it was a fantastic rebirth of interest in record shops,” he said. “It’s driven not only new issues or new releases being sold, but also a big interest in budget-priced vinyl and second-hand vinyl as well as CDs and cassettes, so it’s right across the board.”

Savannah, GA | Coastal Empire Records offers vintage music on vinyl: Got any classic rock lovers in your family? Or do you just love the old school sound of a good vinyl record? If so, then you’re in luck. Coastal Empire Records on Wilmington Island may have just what you’re looking for. We caught up with the owner, Ken Jordan to find out why he’s so passionate about vintage music.

PH | Vinyl records’ big-time return in the Philippines: The year 2021 will go down as not only the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic where the world began its vaccination and moving towards a sense of normalcy. On a musical note, it is also the year where the resurgence of Original Pilipino Music on vinyl is at a huge number, the likes not seen since the early 1990s. The resurgence of vinyl records is nothing new. It has been on an upward trajectory since 2012 and shows no signs of abating pandemic or no pandemic. Here in the Philippines, the sheer number of local releases this 2021 is staggering, and we’ve seen more than a cartload of titles released and rereleased on wax. This 2021, at least 18 records originally pressed during the 1970s and 1980s were re-released. This includes the popular “Bagets” soundtrack, “Pinoy Jazz” from Eddie Munji III, “Batucada sa Calesa” from Bong Penera, VST & Co., Maria Cafra, Mike Hanopol, and many others.

San Antonio, TX | Everyone is missing the point in the argument about why physical media matters to music: …Modern music listeners have a strange relationship with physical media. It’s no longer “necessary” in a utilitarian way. And because of this, I’ve been kicking the ideas in this essay around in my head for quite a while. The impetus for finally putting them into words came when I re-read the MetalSucks essay “Why I’ve Stopped Buying Vinyl.” The piece, by MetalSucks co-founder Vince Neilstein, is from 2015 but has recently made the rounds again, likely due to the vinyl manufacturing crisis currently plaguing the music industry. Neilstein spends much of his article deriding physical media as “worthless,” and reduces the idea of physical media to “souvenirs,” which, honestly, triggers the shit out of me.

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