In rotation: 11/4/22

London, UK | Buying Trip: Olympic Records & Studios: One of our buying team has just returned from a buying trip at Olympic Records in Barnes, London, where (he assures us) he was working very hard and bought some great records! He was also given a wonderful, guided tour by ‘artist-in-residence’, shop manager and all-round top bloke Roger Miles. …Roger and the team at Olympic Records work in conjunction with Olympic Studios and the shop offers a real community experience, specializing in vintage and new release vinyl. The long-term goal of the shop is to create an archive of all 1075 albums recorded at the studio between 1966 – 2009 – that’s no mean feat, but with 875 albums acquired thus far they’ve done extremely well, although finding that copy of Billy Nichol’s super-rare ‘60s album ‘Would You Believe’ (recorded at Olympic) may prove a tough one to secure.

Lexington SC | Scratch N’ Spin — Boosting Music, Comics Sales With Events — Eyes Expansion: On October 29, Scratch N’ Spin – the long-running West Columbia shop selling music, movies, games, comics, and more – showcased the success that has it poised to add what owner Eric Woodard calls an “overflow” store in 2023. The shop, which opened in Triangle City in 2003, held the latest in what has become a successful series of events in recent years. The Halloween Fest featured a live band (Simpsonville metal act Guardian’s Warlock), a costume contest, free comics and candy, and other deals throughout the store. The band played at the back of the store, while guests, both costumed and not, listened from the aisles. At the front of the store, two people cosplayed as Cassandra Dimitrescue from the Resident Evil video game franchise and Oogie Boogie from “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” with guests welcome to pose with them for pictures. “…I think that’s one of the things that a record store really can do is basically help nurture local creatives, local artists, and help get their music or art or whatever out into the community,” he said.

Boulder, CO | On the record: More than a year after relocating and rebranding, Paradise Found thrives as the last vinyl shop standing in Boulder. Boulder once had the highest concentration of record stores per capita in the United States, according to Paradise Found owner Will Paradise. In the 1970s, dozens of LP shops dotted the map in this sleepy foothills college town. But after this fall’s closure of the much-revered Albums on the Hill, Paradise’s bright and beautiful downtown space at 1646 Pearl St. is the last store dedicated exclusively to new and used vinyl sales. Paradise Found has lived many lives in many locations — first as Bart’s Record Shop on West Pearl near Nick-N-Willy’s Pizza, and later by the Village Coffee Shop on Folsom Street. Paradise bought the store from then-owner Bart Stinchcomb in 2016, before moving the newly rebranded shop to its current East Pearl corner lot last spring. It’s exactly the kind of movement through time and space that music captures for the 62-year-old former Whole Foods executive. “If we weren’t called Paradise Found, we would be called Time and Place, because that’s what music is for me,” Paradise says.

Greenville, NC | New vinyl record store opens in Uptown Greenville: Since Oct. 15, locals can purchase some of their favorite albums at Alley Cat Records in Uptown Greenville, North Carolina. David Brown, the owner of David’s Used Books and Records, has relocated the records section of the store to 205 E Fifth St. in Uptown Greenville to create more space for the record collection, countless vintage posters of a variety of artists and much more leg room for music aficionados to browse comfortably, he said. Brown said he began working at David’s Used Books and Records over 10 years ago when he built bookshelves for the owner, who also happened to be named David. A recent East Carolina University graduate with a lot of free time, Brown offered to stick around and help the previous owner with the day-to-day operations of the business, he said. “I was like, ‘Hey do you want me to stick around? I can give you a hand with this,’” Brown said. “So I was actually already working at the bookstore. He was focusing on books, so what I started doing was focusing on records. I said, ‘Hey let me actually try to get some better records in here.’”

How well is MoFi managing its digital mastering LP controversy? After the audiophile vinyl community was upended with the news that Mobile Fidelity (MoFi) concealed it had been releasing records that used digital source materials, it became a case study of public relations vs. crisis communication. …At the core of the two lawsuits filed in Seattle and Chicago against MoFi is semantics. What is meant exactly by MoFi’s trademark, “ORIGINAL MASTER RECORDING”? Well, that’s for a judge or jury to determine. In crisis management, the key is to prevent one from happening in the first place. In this instance, MoFi failed miserably. Upper management not only didn’t have a crisis plan; it knew that its marketing materials left out a key step that its lacquers were being cut from a Direct Digital Stream (DSD) source, a practice that began at least 11 years ago. In fact, 60 percent of MoFi’s vinyl releases since 2011 used DSD-based masters. Hence, the label did not go back to the original analog tape, which degrades every time it’s played, especially if it’s a vintage recording. This is why the major labels are especially protective who gets to reissue its titles on vinyl.

Nashville, TN | The Vinyl Lunch Host Tim Hibbs Finds His Guests’ Passions in Stacks of LPs: Every weekday, the vinyl-centric host uses favorite records to find common ground with an array of artists and industry pros. “Our guest today is a man I’ve been fascinated with for a very, very long time,” says Tim Hibbs, facing a microphone at an L-shaped bar inside Acme Feed & Seed. Hibbs, sporting a gray goatee and horn-rimmed glasses, is up early today, taping an additional episode of his two-hour Acme Radio online show The Vinyl Lunch. …Across from Hibbs is Calvin Johnson, who waves back at the passers-by. Johnson, the founder of Olympia, Wash., label K Records who is currently touring his project Selector Dub Narcotic, is dressed like a Boy Scout leader, complete with a buzz cut, mid-thigh jean shorts, a kerchief and boots with white socks peeking over the top. “Good morning,” Johnson says in monotone. “Thank you for having me on your show.” He fidgets with a stack of vinyl in front of him. At his back is floor-to-ceiling shelving holding hundreds of records.

Can we digitally create nostalgia? Low-Fi is a form of nostalgia, a gift that keeps on giving. Why do we love grungy content reproduction? …The nostalgia effect is arguably more potent than or at least tends to override our own senses. What other explanation could there be for vinyl records being so popular? Vinyl has a few things going for it: bigger record sleeves, easy to play and “decode”, and long-lasting, but a longer list of things against it: deteriorates with time, is easily damaged, and has inferior sound quality compared with modern digital recording techniques. I wrote in this article that what we think is the intrinsic quality of a vinyl recording is, in reality, just an “effect” that can be perfectly reproduced digitally. It actually doesn’t really matter. If you like the sound of vinyl (and, sometimes, I do, too), that’s not very different from enjoying the exquisite taste of peanut butter or mustard on a hot dog. It’s just a preference.

Why this Taylor Swift fan bought 15 copies of the superstar’s new album: ..Swift’s new album, Midnights, sold more than half a million vinyl copies worldwide in its first of week of release, including 10,000 in Australia, making it the biggest first week of sales since Luminate started counting modern vinyl sales in 1991. A stroke of marketing genius has turned Swift’s albums into collector’s items. Four of the five different album covers fit together to form a clock face, while another comes with bonus tracks, making buying different versions of the album a necessity for fans. And some diehards admit they’ve purchased the vinyl versions without even owning a record player. “I owned a Taylor Swift record before I owned a record player,” De La Rue said. “If she tells you that you’re going to build a clock, you will pay an extra $70 to build the mechanism and turn it into a clock. And then if they’re on the wall, you need a set of copies to listen to.”

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