In rotation: 7/18/22

Bloomberg: Vinyl Record Sales Climb Just 1% After Years of Rapid Growth: US sales of vinyl LP records rose just 1% in the first half of 2022, suggesting a cooling after years of dramatic growth and a spike during the pandemic. About 19.4 million vinyl LP records were sold in the six months that ended June 30, up from 19.2 million in the year-earlier period, according to Luminate Data. That follows a more than 51% surge in annual sales in 2021. The resurgence of records has led big-box retailers like Target Corp. and Walmart Inc. to double their share of vinyl album sales, according to Luminate. Other stores, such as Amoeba Music, have redone their floor plans to focus on vinyl. Demand for older, “catalog” vinyl albums has fallen while current music less than 18 months old remains a growing market for vinyl fans. The most popular vinyl album in the first half of 2022 was “Harry’s House,” from British singer-songwriter Harry Styles. The album broke the modern-era record for most vinyl album sales in a single week, according to Luminate.

Croydon, UK | ‘I ran Croydon’s lost BEANOS record store for 35 years – it was like the Alton Towers of the town.’ Former owner David Lashmar takes us back to a time when Croydon was a record collector’s dream: Back in the good old days, you could take a leisurely wander down to Croydon’s old town centre and spend your entire Saturday browsing record stores. In those days, there were no less than 13 of them in Croydon and people travelled from miles around to flick through the millions of records. David Lashmar is the founder of Croydon’s most fondly-remembered record store, BEANOS. David says even now, 15 years after he sold his record collection and closed the shop, he still hears from people almost everyday who want to reminisce. “Our first shop in Croydon was called Bell Hill Cassettes,” he recalls. “Cassettes were really massive in the early 1970s. It was a real revolution and seen as an indestructible medium believe it or not, while records jumped and crackled. I thought the cassette would be here forever – I’m not very good at predicting the future, obviously.

Greenfield, WI | Volta Records Is Fighting To Keep This Record Store Alive in Greenfield: The new owner talks about her plans for the record shop. olta Records took over The Exclusive Company’s location in Greenfield in July, keeping the record store above water after the chain closed all locations earlier this year. The company, with seven locations across Wisconsin, announced it would close its stores after James “Mr. G” Giombetti died suddenly in April. New owners have stepped in locations like Milwaukee, West Bend and Greenfield. Jennifer Young saw employees start a GoFundMe to save the Greenfield location, which led her to buy the store. She visited the shop when she was in her teens and late 20’s, and said it’s where she discovered her love of music during her formative years. “It’s important for that demographic to discover things and see what they like,” Young said. “I didn’t want to see the store close.” The store drew in many record-heads when it opened on July 2 and has had a steady flow of customers since. Young said the experience has been surreal because of Volta’s casual environment and how quickly it picked up momentum.

Quentin Tarantino’s three favourite record stores in the entire world: Music means a lot to Quentin Tarantino. When you leaf through his filmography in the playground of your imagination, the scenes that are projected upon the psyche are tantamount to music videos—the swagger of the Mr Men strolling the street in Reservoir Dogs, the twisting in Pulp Fiction, these are the musical vignettes the define his back catalogue to date. As the man said himself, “I go through my record collection and just start playing songs, trying to find the personality of the movie, find the spirit of the movie.” They give him the impetus to his movies, but so does a sense of where they place in the arts. The man simply adores pop culture in all of its guises and the way that it colours our dismal daily lives. As such he also loves the honourable domiciles where the best of that culture resides. After all, he is the real-life version of The Simpson’s Comic Book Guy, so it isn’t surprising that he loves a good record store.

Winnipeg, CA | Sound and vision: Record collectors all over the world seek out Winnipeg engineer’s clearly different vinyl protection sleeves. Over 50 million new vinyl albums were sold in North America in 2021, every last one of which came cloaked in shrink wrap. There’s a reason it’s called that; leave a record in its tight-fitting sheath long enough and it’s bound to warp. That brings us to Mike Sarazin, founder of Vinyl Storage Solutions, a local success story that turns out clear-as-day, fully recyclable vinyl record sleeves meant to protect an album jacket and its innards once the outer plastic has been removed. Online reviews for his products are almost universally positive, ranging from “outstanding” to “brilliant” to “my albums never looked so good.” That’s music to his ears, of course, but the piece of praise that has stuck with the 58-year-old engineer the longest had little to do with how functional his patented designs are, when it comes to shielding people’s prized LPs from wear, tear and — achoo! — dust.

Edmonton, CA | Cassettes are making a comeback — but in Edmonton, they never went away: ‘It’s the currency of music in the city.’ Over the course of the past few years, a number of retro concepts have seen a resurgence — Polaroids, vinyl records, flared denim and curtain bangs. Now, it looks like the new kid on the block to make a comeback is music on cassette. “Tapes are smaller, they have the nostalgic factor that [compact discs] don’t have. They have the analog appeal as well,” said Kris Burwash, of Listen Records, about why cassettes are still popular in Edmonton. Listen Records, which refers to itself as Edmonton’s eclectic music emporium, is a go-to spot for vinyl records. But Burwash said its cassette collection is also slowly growing. Cassette sales have increased in Canada by 39 per cent so far this year, according to Luminate Data, which offers data and insights for the entertainment industry. But for a select group of people in the local music industry, the medium never really went away.

Hackensack, NJ | Vinyl’s renewed popularity gives 50-year-old Bergen County record studio a new life: Vinyl is hot — again. So is Trutone Mastering Labs, a vinyl record-cutting studio born 50 years ago in a North Jersey basement. When co-founders Carl and Adrianna Rowatti moved to Orangeburg, New York, the studio moved with them. They brought a wealth of experience, a collection of top-of-the-line equipment and a penchant for quality studio design. After gaining its footing in vinyl and preserving it as its keystone, Trutone is well-positioned to meet the growing demand for analog mastering and vinyl cutting. The company’s operating space is modern, quite a step up from its humbler origins. Spotless and shaded in muted grays, Trutone’s mastering suite shows the thoughtfulness that went into its construction. The looks come secondary, however. The main goal is to create the ideal space for sound clarity — and for turning a rough mix into a cohesive track. The studio is one of nearly a dozen customized by the Rowattis over the decades, locations in Haworth and Hackensack among them. They also restored the New York City studio where John Lennon recorded the day he was shot and killed.

UK | Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save The Queen’ is top selling vinyl single of 2022 so far: It was reissued to coincide with the Platinum Jubilee. Sex Pistols’ reissue of ‘God Save The Queen’ is the biggest selling vinyl album of 2022 so far. To coincide with the Platinum Jubilee, Sex Pistols reissued their anti-monarchy anthem ‘God Save The Queen’ in May on two limited-edition 7” vinyl formats. The first was an A&M version limited to 1,977 copies and a Virgin version limited to 4,000 copies. Both vinyl releases completely sold out, and, according newly released figures from the Official Charts Company, ‘God Save The Queen’ was the top selling vinyl single in the first six months of 2022. Other releases of note inside the Official Vinyl Singles Chart 2022 (so far) include David Bowie’s ‘Brilliant Adventure EP’ (no.5), Ghost’s ‘Hunter’s Moon’ (no.6), Foo Fighters’ ‘Making A Fire’ (no.7) and The Clash’s ‘Rock The Casbah’ (no.8). Originally released during Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 via A&M Records, Sex Pistols were swiftly dropped by their record label and A&M destroyed 25,000 copies of the ‘God Save The Queen’, making the handful of copies remaining ultra-rare collectibles.

Gentle Giant announce new ten-disc vinyl live box set: Prog legends Gentle Giant will release new live deluxe box set Front Row Center: US Dates 1976-1980 in September. Prog legends Gentle Giant have announced that they will release a new vinyl box set, featuring on their live work between 1976-1980. Front Row Center: US Dates 1976-1980 will be released through Madfish Records on September 23, the label responsible for the epic 2019 box set Buried Treasure 30-disc set. You can watch a video trailer for Front Row Centre below. Front Row Center: US Dates 1976-1980 will be a 10-LP box set celebrating four classic years from 1976-1980, of touring throughout USA, none of which have appeared on vinyl before. The set features a 60 page book, unseen memorabilia and photographs.

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