In rotation: 5/16/23

As vinyl record sales eclipse CDs, LP pressing plants are thriving: Last year, consumers bought more new vinyl records than CDs. It’s the first time that’s happened since 1987, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. The LP industry is booming, but for the businesses that manufacture those records, the last few years have been a bumpy ride. The Burlington Record Plant sits in a narrow industrial building behind a bagel shop in Burlington, Vermont. Inside, a machine that dates back to the 1960s presses vinyl discs, etched with the music of a local soul-folk trio. The press makes one record every minute or so. “Truthfully, I’m… a boutique pressing plant,” said owner Justin Crowther, who’s operated this small shop since 2014. Since the vinyl boom started, Crowther said he’s turned down investment offers and orders from major record labels. That makes him something of an outlier as sales of LPs, and the number of plants making them, have exploded. “It’s great for the business,” Crowther said. “I just hope that it’s not too much too fast.”

London, UK | Phonica Records: London’s spiritual home for electronic and dance: Nestled away in the heart of the ever-bustling Soho, London is a spiritual home for fans of electronic and dance music. Phonica Records, founded by Simon Rigg, Heidi Van Den Amstel and Tom Relleen in 2003, has spent the last 20 years weathering the winds of the vinyl market, providing a space for vinyl nerds, DJs and intrepid genre explorers. Whilst the vinyl market is famously experiencing an uptake right now, 2003 posed a much more barren landscape. “It was the worst time to start a record shop. They were all closing, just as we were opening,” explains Nick Williams, assistant manager at Phonica Records. Despite the harrowing climate, Phonica set out with a dream. “The goal of Phonica is to be the number one dance specialist in the UK,” Nick states plainly. To affirm Phonica’s place in London’s musical landscape, the team immediately set about diversifying its output.

Chepstow, UK | Chepstow tortoise shop and record shop to close owner confirms: The owner of two town centre businesses says negative social media feedback is part of the reason he is closing the shops down. Ian Crosby opened Chepstow Records and the adjacent Tortoise Shop around 16 months ago. “Most people wouldn’t have dreamt of taking on the shops in that climate,” he said. Mr Crosby has “been in the pet trade for years”. While he was setting up the tortoise shop he noticed the vacant store next door. “Why not stick some records in there?” he said. He explained that he had opened his first record shop in Penarth when he was 17. Neither shop, he said, was liable for commercial rates. However, despite this, business had been hard. “Recently it’s been a struggle,” he said. “It’s a tremendous responsibility, particularly regarding live animals such as tortoises. “I don’t live in Chepstow myself and when you’re making very little turnover you question whether it’s sensible to continue. “I’m working seven days a week. Why? That’s what I’m asking myself.

Devizes, UK | Antiques and record stores open in Devizes after leaving The Shambles: A husband and wife duo have opened two new stores in a shared town centre space after relocating from The Shambles. Taylor’s Clearances, an antiques and collectibles shop run by Markus Taylor, and All About The Music, a record store owned by his wife Debz, recently opened in a single premises at Old Swan Yard, Devizes. The pair split the building down the middle and will run their respective businesses from the shared space. Both Mr and Mrs Taylor operated stalls in The Shambles market but decided to relocate into their own premises. The couple said they were excited at the prospect of welcoming both new and old customers into the shops. Mrs Taylor said: “I was quite chuffed to have the unit in The Shambles anyway and I made it my own quirky little space, but the shop just feels a little bit more professional and business-like. “It was a swiftly executed decision, we thought ‘we need to do this’ and the shop came up, so it all moved really quickly.”

Brooklyn, NY | Moogs and Muppets: Record Shopping in Brooklyn: Picking through the bins at the Academy Records Annex, and rediscovering “Switched-On Rock,” as well as albums by Tim Hardin and Otis Redding. It’s time for another installment of the recurring Amplifier segment My Record Haul, honoring the serendipity and bargains that can be found at brick-and-mortar shops. Today’s features weird and wonderful finds from one of my favorite places in Brooklyn, the Academy Records Annex. I’ve been shopping at the Academy Records Annex (the Brooklyn offshoot of Academy Records on 12th Street in Manhattan) for long enough that I’ve visited it in three different locations: its huge former home on North 6th Street in Williamsburg; the Greenpoint spot it moved to in 2013 right by the East River*; and, now, its brand-new store in the same neighborhood, at 242 Banker Street. My latest visit was particularly fruitful — especially in the dollar bins — and I’ve put together a playlist from the records I bought that day. It’s fun, breezy and, as you’ll see at the very end, contains a few unexpected musical connections.

Reinbeck, IO | Eastern Iowa Record Store/Bar Is A Hidden Gem: Beer and vinyl records…sounds like a great combo! Over the past year, I’ve kind of dove head first back into collecting vinyl records. To increase my record collection I made a visit to Vinyl Cup in Cedar Falls for Record Store Day. As I was waiting in line a woman told me about this other record store/bar only about a half hour away. I had to know more about it… The Dig Inn is located at 113 Broad Street in Reinbeck and has a little bit of everything. It’s a bar, record store, AND even a performance space. They serve beer, wine, cocktails, craft soda; and along with a vinyl record collection, they also have a selection of pinball and video games for customers to check out while they are there. Vinyl records, drinks and good times. The Dig Inn is also an officially licensed Record Store Day shop! So, once RSD rolls back around, you know you’ll be able to pick up some exclusive vinyl goodies if you drop by.

Glasgow, UK | Celtic star spotted at Glasgow record store – and wows fans with album choice: A Celtic star has wowed fans with his music choice as he was spotted record-shopping in Glasgow. The Portuguese winger shared a photo to his 252,000 Instagram followers recently of him browsing through vinyl in a record store in the city’s Hidden Lane. He captioned it: “Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way.” Fans were loving Jota’s choice of album and were quick to share their thoughts. One wrote: “Good choice.” Another said: “I love Fleetwood Mac too, Jota.” A third wrote: “That’s a really good song Jota.” It comes after the 24-year-old sent fans wild when he posed in a retro Celtic shirt in a Glasgow pub. Jota wrote that he was taking a ‘school trip to the 90s’ in the Brazenhead.

Chesterfield, UK | Legendary Chesterfield record store Hudson’s set to be honoured with blue plaque: Hudson’s, an iconic Chesterfield town centre institution, will be honoured with a blue plaque later this year. A blue plaque funded by Derbyshire County Council (DCC) will be installed near the former Hudson’s store on Market Place – at the NatWest bank. Councillor Ed Fordham, who leads the Liberal Democrat group at DCC, hoped that Keith Hudson would be able to attend the ceremony in a couple of months time. “The aim is to get the plaque up as soon as possible – probably in June or July. The aim is to do it quick enough that Keith Hudson, who I believe is around 94-years-old, can attend. “Where we are putting the plaque outside NatWest is not the oldest location, but it is the most visible and the last location of Hudson’s.” Coun Fordham said that, although he never saw the store in its heyday, he wanted to celebrate an integral part of the town’s musical history. “I never saw Hudson’s, I’ve only been here in Chesterfield for seven years, but I’m aware that it is just the significant powerhouse for Chesterfield’s music heritage.

Oshkosh, WI | A closer look at Eroding Winds Record Shop: It’s no secret that the picturesque downtown Oshkosh is home to many wonderful small businesses, shops and restaurants. The area acts as an activity hub for local shopping, dining, entertainment, housing and much more for students and residents alike. But among all of these businesses, one shop sits at the center of the local music scene and stands as a staple of local entertainment and interest. Eroding Winds Record Shop, located on 436 N. Main St. next to Oblio’s Lounge and across from Britton’s Walk-Over Footwear, is a self-described “vinyl-focused brick and mortar retail store.” Eroding Winds offers a unique and intricate experience for music lovers in the Fox Valley area, selling records, both new and old, for every music genre under the sun. To many in the Oshkosh area, Eroding Winds serves as a center for music appreciation and music related activity.

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