Category Archives: A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 4/6/20

Ann Arbor, MI | Ann Arbor-based Encore Records seeks $30,000 in donations amid coronavirus outbreak: A longtime Ann Arbor record shop, not long after moving into a new location, was forced to shut down in-store sales by the coronavirus outbreak last month and is now seeking donations to help cover expenses. Ann Arbor-based Encore Records, which moved from its old Liberty Street location to 208 N. Fourth Ave. in August 2019, has launched an online fundraiser with a goal to reach $30,000 to cover rent and other costs associated with the new store space. Co-owner Jim Dwyer said he and his partner Bill McClelland were reluctant at first to ask for donations. “We wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t really something we’re desperately compelled to do,” Dwyer said. “If this shutdown was going to last, we anticipated all of April would be gone, potentially May, probably June. The $30,000 number is a worst case scenario approximation … without our regular revenue stream, it might be necessary to scrape up as much as that.” The fundraiser had raised more than $6,300 as of Thursday.

Williamsville, NY | Williamsville record store owner: ‘Who knew keeping vinyl alive would be so hard?’ Things were looking good for Joe Igielinski and his fledgling independent record store, Hi-Fi Hits, since the store opened its doors in August 2019. A veteran of the Record Theatre chain, Igielinski had wisely purchased much of the remaining inventory when those stores closed for good in 2017, in anticipation of going it alone. After securing some prime storefront real estate on Main Street in Williamsville, he immediately set to putting his several decades of experience to good use. By the winter holidays, he’d built up a considerable inventory, plastered the place with posters, added memorabilia and rock T-shirts to the mix and organized a steady stream of trade-ins, both of used vinyl and CDs. Soon after, Igielinski installed an Iron Maiden pinball machine, built a small stage, and secured a license to serve beer and wine from a small bar area in the rear of the store. Igielinski had all his ducks in a row. But the coronavirus pandemic was not impressed.

Portland, OR | After Years of Resistance, Portland Cult Favorite Mississippi Records Is Begrudgingly Embracing the Internet to Stay Alive. Just don’t expect it to last. It took a global health crisis not seen since 1918 to drag Eric Isaacson into the 21st century. Granted, to this point, he was doing pretty well working outside of it. Mississippi Records, his North Albina Avenue storefront and label of the same name, has earned an international reputation among hardcore audiophiles for its reissues of ultra-obscure soul, folk and blues records, and done so without ever giving in to the trappings of the digital age—no social media, hardly any PR, and a bare-bones website straight out of the Geocities era. …He started a Bandcamp page, offering releases for download on a “pay what you can” model. He’s selling gift cards. He’s replaced spinning vinyl from behind the counter with daily YouTube playlists. (He also had a plan to temporarily convert the store into an “ultra-antiseptic” recording studio, but the governor’s stay-home order halted that idea.) Most significantly, he’s finally started a Discogs store, digging into his personal archives and putting them up for sale: test pressings, original masters, bits of memorabilia from cult legends like John Fahey and Sun Ra. Much of what he’s made available has sold within minutes.

London, UK | Paul Quirk, ‘Prime Mover’ Behind Record Store Day UK, Dies at 71: Tributes have been paid to former Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) chairman Paul Quirk, who has died at age 71 following a short battle with cancer. Quirk was chairman of ERA over three separate periods, beginning in 2007. His longest continuous reign at the helm of the trade group, which represents U.K. retailers of music, video, DVD and computer games, was from 2009 to 2014. Following a year off, he returned to the organization in 2016 when he served as co-chairman for a year. Alongside Spencer Hickman and Steve Redmond, Quirk is credited as one of the main drivers behind the launch of Record Store Day (RSD) in the U.K., which took place for the first time in 2008. Paying tribute, ERA CEO Kim Bayley said the British music retail sector owed a heavy debt to Quirk. “Not only was he a strong and passionate voice for music retailers for more than three decades, he was the longest-serving chairman of ERA itself, a prime mover behind Record Store Day in the U.K. and a mentor to countless people across the industry,” said Bayley. “He will be missed right across the business for his enthusiasm, humour and passion for record retailing.”

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In rotation: 4/3/20

Discogs reports record numbers as people stay home and catalogue their vinyl: More time at home? More time to get the record collection in order. It’s a good time to organise your record collection. That’s the verdict from online vinyl database, Discogs, which has just had its busiest ever two weeks. It seems with many of us being told to “stay home”, finding ourselves on lockdown or in self-isolation, and needing to busy ourselves indoors, cataloguing vinyl has proved popular. Discogs, which allows users to submit vinyl releases, log their record collections, value their library, and buy and sell vinyl, has reported that March 16th to 29th were the biggest weeks yet for contributions to the Discogs Database. The database saw 34,716 new releases submitted (compared to 25,584 in 2019), 79,400 edits (up from 58,258 in 2019), and 146,361 images added (107,036 in 2019). That’s a whole lot of sorting through dusty record collections.

UK / AU | Australia’s indie record stores celebrated in interactive map: The small retailers are currently doing it rough. Australia’s independent record stores have been highlighted in an interactive map as part of a larger campaign to support the industry amid the coronavirus pandemic. The online map is hosted by Beggars Group, which owns labels 4AD, Matador, XL, Rough Trade and Young Turks. Users are able to filter between stores by those that deliver locally, offer pickup services and mail out orders. Stores are listed for all states and territories with the exception of Northern Territory. View the map here. The map goes hand in hand with the #LoveRecordStores digital campaign, which sees music fans promote their favourite indie record stores on social media. Artists such as Elton John, Kurt VIle, Sleaford Mods, Hilltop Hoods and Rick Astley have already taken part in the campaign. As state and federal governments issue directives on distancing and public gatherings, many record stores have pivoted to home and mail delivery in order to keep making sales.

Kelowna, BC | Straight from Dehart: Underground Music rides the resurgence of vinyl records. Vinyl is back in vogue. Underground Music is a unique store at 4- 1331 Ellis St. in Kelowna that provides a trip into the past, a vinyl record store shopping experience. Owned and operated by the father and son team of Ed and Aaron Martens, Underground Music has the largest selection of new and used vintage vinyl and CDs in the Okanagan. The store also sells music DVDs, collectibles, posters, stickers and patches, 45s, 12-inch singles and vinyl accessories. It’s a truly unique shopping experience with new titles arriving every week.

Lansing, MI | Record Lounge opens online shop to stay afloat during COVID-19 outbreak: Heather Frarey, owner of the vintage Reo Town vinyl store The Record Lounge, is staying home these days. One of her customer’s sons built her a website so she could keep up an online storefront during the coronavirus outbreak. She said that she received three orders right when the site went live. “He needed some credit because he’s going to computer engineering school, so he said he’d make a website for me,” said Frarey. The Record Lounge also posts new inventory on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. She’s still ordering new records from distributors two times a week. Frarey said that, since the state went on lockdown, most folks have preferred to order their records through the mail, though she does still offer delivery for local orders. “You know, people are scared,” she explained. Regulars have still been messaging Frarey on Facebook, asking her questions like if the new Pearl Jam is available to buy. Frarey has been trying to get all of the new releases online, but the used records aren’t there quite yet. She emphasized that if someone wants a particular record — new or old — she can order it.

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In rotation: 4/2/20

Record Companies Aren’t Safe From the Coronavirus Economic Fallout: If early data from Italy’s music market is anything to go by, music companies won’t be as insulated from coronavirus’ effect on the markets as they may hope. Earlier this month, I wrote that music-rights companies — not least Warner Music Group — could end up as attractive prospects for stock-market investors, as they would be largely insulated from the economic effects of coronavirus. (Warner announced its intention to IPO in February, but is now postponing that event.) Last week, the U.K.’s Hipgnosis Songs Fund — whose business model is to acquire and manage the copyrights behind hit songs — saw its stock price rebound on the London Stock Exchange to a level actually higher than that seen before COVID-19. In the same period, the average share price of the U.S.’s largest companies, bundled into the S&P 500, fell by more than 25 percent. Yet the performance of companies on public markets isn’t always tied to their underlying strengths and frailties — and the COVID outbreak has caused even further economic chaos in the past few weeks. So for music companies that aren’t purely catalog-focused like Hipgnosis, there may be more pain on the horizon

Nashville, TN | How Taylor Swift Is Helping a Small Nashville Record Store Survive: “This assistance from Ms. Swift helps give us a real shot at coming back on the other side of this,” Grimey’s co-owner Doyle Davis says. Like most small businesses that have had to shut down or alter their operations during the coronavirus pandemic, record stores have been forced to completely change the way they operate. Over the past two weeks, Nashville retailer Grimey’s New & Preloved Music, for example, has had to send its employees home after the city’s mayor issued a stay-at-home order. This week, though, they got a life preserver from Taylor Swift, who is supplying the store with money for each employee and three months’ worth of health care. A source close to the situation confirmed the news to Rolling Stone. “We were very surprised, and I would have to say amazed, that Taylor Swift reached out to us through her publicist to offer some relief during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Grimey’s co-owner Doyle Davis tells Rolling Stone. “I didn’t even know we were on her radar, but she really stepped up to help after the recent tornadoes that struck Nashville and middle Tennessee, and now she’s trying to help a beloved small business in her city.

UK | Record Store of the Day Campaign: In light of the unprecedented challenge currently faced by independent retailers, the UK record business has launched the #recordstoreoftheday campaign to help connect fans with their favourite local stores online. Little compares to the joys of crate digging, swapping music recommendations and catching live shows inside local record stores. Now they have closed their doors to in-person visitors, the music industry is asking you to support these stores online and over the phone. The #recordstoreoftheday campaign will spotlight a different independent record store across the country every single day of the week via the social media accounts @recordstoreotd on Twitter, @recordstoreoftheday on Instagram and through a Record Store of the Day Facebook page. Representing all corners of the music scene — from rock to reggae, indie to electronic — som thirty stores are already lined up to take part. These include Edinburgh’s Underground Solu’shn, Brighton’s Resident Records, Newcastle’s Reflex and London’s Sister Ray.

This new turntable can cut vinyl records: “I hope people will use this machine to create records with their own music or voices.” A new turntable called the Easy Record Maker cuts vinyl records, which can then be played on it. Designed by Yuri Suzuki in collaboration with Japanese company Gakken, the Easy Record Maker comes with 10 5″ inch discs. An audio source can be connected via its aux cable, from which you can “engrave sound directly from the recording stylus,” Suzuki shared. Once cut, you can instantly play the recording the device’s tonearm and built-in speaker, as well as design your own labels and sleeves. “I wanted to create a machine that makes it easy and cheap to create your own bespoke record without pressing a whole batch,” explains Suzuki. “Recording your voice message or your music onto vinyl and sending it to someone feels very special and is more valuable (and long-lasting) than just sending a voice message on WhatsApp.” Suzuki will be presenting a demo of the Easy Record Maker on his Instagram account, Friday 3rd April.

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In rotation: 4/1/20

UK | Global Music Business Rallies to Support Indie Record Stores Amid Shutdowns: UK artists Elton John, Paul Weller and Keane are backing social media campaigns to lift the troubled music retail sector. With independent record stores around the world facing the prospect of weeks and possibly months of shutdown, a growing number of artists and labels are getting behind social media campaigns to help protect the sector’s survival. The most high-profile campaign so far is #loverecordstores — a global, social media-led initiative that’s asking musicians, actors and celebrity music fans around the world to post short video messages about their favorite record shops and encourage their followers to buy vinyl and CDs from shuttered shops’ online stores. Elton John, Paul Weller, Keane, Rick Astley, Peter Gabriel, Franz Ferdinand, Kurt Vile and Brittany Howard are among the artists that have already backed the campaign. Indie labels Matador, Heavenly Recordings, Acid Jazz, Domino, 4AD and Mute have also posted messages of support on Instagram and Twitter, as have all three majors.

UK | Coronavirus: Paul Weller encourages music lovers to help local record stores get out of The Jam of lockdown: Record store owners in Tayside have welcomed a campaign by Paul Weller calling on music lovers to support their local shops while the country is on lockdown. The former frontman of The Jam has launched the Love Record Stores initiative, which encourages people to use their local shops’ online shopping services to keep them afloat. It comes as Record Store Day, the busiest single day in the independent music retail calendar, has been postponed from April until June. Keith Ingram — owner of Assai, on Union Street — closed on March 21 but the business is still operating through its website and online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon until the outbreak is over. Mr Ingram said: “Record Store Day would typically give us something to work towards at a time when there isn’t usually as many big releases, although this year there are new albums from Pearl Jam and Dua Lipa. “It’s great what Paul Weller is doing. He’s always been a big supporter of record stores and spoken about how important they are to him personally.

Birmingham, AL | Alabama vinyl record shops try to keep spinning in the face of COVID-19 slowdown: …There are about 1,400 independent record stores nationally, with some 15 spread across Alabama. Several long-time stores, like Charlemagne in Birmingham and Pegasus Records in Florence, have shut their doors. Others, like 10,000 Hz in Opelika, have joined the pursuit of a highly niche market, hoping to attract old hippies and young Hangout Festival fans to the fold. More than a quarter of all “physical” albums sold in 2019 were vinyl, led by the Beatles’ “Abby Road” at 471,000 copies and Billie Eilish’s “When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” with 176,000. That’s a far cry from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” which sold 32 million copies in 1983 on the way to becoming the biggest-selling record in history. The Beatles are recognized as the best-sellers ever overall, Billboard said. Birmingham’s Seasick Records, which is heading toward its seventh year in business, was set to celebrate its new headquarters’ grand opening March 28. Last year was the most successful ever for Seasick, whose owner and five employees might by now have been miserable in their recently closed building had they not been prepared.

Sacramento, CA | 15 Minutes: Augie Maravilla, owner of Rocket Records: It’s safe to say nearly every music lover has dreamed of owning a record store. Rocket Records opened three years ago in a low-visibility storefront in West Sacramento, but owner Augie Maravilla’s recent move to Midtown has led to increased foot traffic, growing his base of already-loyal customers. SN&R talked to Maravilla about movie scores, Mexican music and record labels. “I think every store has its own flavor, and every store will cater to their clientele in some way. In some stores it’s metal and punk … there are some that are more into jazz. I’m kind of all over the place because that’s the record stores that I grew up with and because I like everything… I like a lot of pop. I like pop. I don’t mind pop. I like soul music. Rock, soul. I tend to really favor soundtracks… I really like music scores. I’ve always liked movie music.”

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In rotation: 3/31/20

UK | Record Store Of The Day campaign launched to shine spotlight on indie stores: A daily campaign to highlight the UK’s independent record shops during the Covid-19 outbreak has been launched. The social media driven #recordstoreoftheday initiative, created by music distributors, will shine the spotlight on a different outlet each day, beginning with Kingston’s Banquet Records (pictured) today (March 30). The shop of the day will appear on @recordstoreotd on Twitter, @recordstoreoftheday on Instagram and the Record Store Of The Day Facebook page… “Indie record shops are part of the DNA of the local communities they serve and now more than ever we should be finding ways to support them,” said ERA’s Record Store Day organiser Megan Page. “That’s why we are urging music fans to continue buying from their local shops online where possible, asking about gift vouchers and following their local record shop’s social media channels…”

Minneapolis, MN | Fifth Element, record store owned by Rhymesayers, to close down: Fans of the label will still be able to shop online, though. The official record store of independent hip hop label Rhymesayers will soon close its doors for good. Fifth Element, located on Hennepin Avenue in Uptown Minneapolis, announced that it will shut down operations on April 1. Noting in a Friday Facebook post that it’s been a fixture of the neighborhood and a worldwide destination for hip hop fans since 1999, the business expressed thanks to customers and artists for their support over the years. This follows the decision to temporarily close the store due to the coronavirus, a situation that also weighed on the move to shut down permanently, the post indicates. The company also says the store’s online presence will transition to shop.rhymesayers.com, “which will continue to be the official source for all things Rhymesayers Entertainment.” The change takes effect April 1, with all remaining stock at fifthelementonline.com discounted until then.

Brighton & Hove, UK | The History of Brighton & Hove Record Shops – The Directory: We need your help! Are you able to add any information to our directory of 100 years of record shops in Brighton & Hove? Please read on and place any relevant details at the end. Thank you. Some of the very best moments in my life have been whilst record shopping! The thrill of the hunt in the second-hand music shops for that mega-obscure vinyl album that was only released in Germany for one week, or the buzz of whizzing down to the ‘chart returns’ record shop when it opens to purchase the brand new release from your favourite artist. The smell of the new cover and the vinyl inside. The little electrostatic crackles as you pull the record out from the inner sleeve for the very first time. The joy of putting the needle down onto the disc and sitting down and listening to it whilst reading every single word of the enclosed booklet and cover. Ahhhhhhhhh!

Norfolk, NE | The beat goes on at Lefty’s Records: It is business as usual at Lefty’s Records, at least for now. Les Greer, who has sold new and used albums at his South Street store since 2011, is still coming in at noon and staying until 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. “I’m going to be here until they tell me I shouldn’t,” Greer said. Customers are still showing up, just not as many as before the coronavirus pandemic. “Two weeks ago, business was probably half of what I normally do,” Greer said. “But, last week, it rebounded to about normal. “This week is starting out slow, so we’ll see. I do think some people are coming in just to buy something to help me out.” There’s no concern about keeping those who come in to flip through the bins 6 feet apart. “I rarely have 10 at any time,” Greer said, “except during the busiest time of the year, around Christmas and Record Store Day.”

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In rotation: 3/30/20

Global initiative launched to help independent record shops survive coronavirus crisis: There is little doubt that the UK’s cultural landscape will look different on the other side of the coronavirus crisis. For some institutions, venues, and events already facing an existential crisis – this could be the last straw. That is why music companies have launched a global initiative called #loverecordstores. It aims to support independent record shops closed during the crisis, with some fearing the footfall will be lost forever. The creative industries have been asked to enlist support from their biggest stars. Paul Weller, who helped launch the campaign, said: “I’d be lost without my favourite record shops; Rough Trade, Soul Jazz, Honest Johns and all the other independents. “Let’s all keep them all going in this very strange time. Music will lift our spirits and soothe our souls. Love to everyone.”

16 ways to support the musicians, record stores, venues and music shops you love: With coronavirus causing chaos in the world of music, we’ve come up with the best ways you can help support your favourite musicians, record stores, venues and shops during the current lockdown. Participate in the Love Record Stores campaign: The Love Record Stores initiative is calling on fans to help promote their favourite stores on Twitter and Instagram. Use the hashtag #LoveRecordStores and tell the world what your local store means to you and help give them a boost. Use photos or videos to get your message across. The drive is also backed by artists and the music industry so keep your eye on the hashtag to see what they’re saying… Buy from Bandcamp: While we encourage people to use record stores if they can, don’t forget about Bandcamp. The website is a goldmine of fabulous music. And the best bit? They only take 15% of the profit from digital sales and 10% from merchandise, meaning artists get a larger chunk of your hard-earned cash.

Kingston, UK | Banquet Records’ Jon Tolley on how you can help your local indie store during the coronavirus pandemic: …Another key area that has been effected is the retail world. One of the high street retailers to offer insight is Kingston’s Banquet Records. Before Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that all non-essential shops will have to close for at least the next three weeks, the store pre-emptively closed its doors to the public on March 16 in order to focus on its online operation. “Banquet is stable and has a good online presence, so I appreciate it’s an easier decision for us than it is for some others,” said Banquet co-owner Jon Tolley. “It’s at some cost to us, but the health and community issues take priority at this time. We are now entirely focused on the online side of what we do, and that will run better than ever.” Tolley added: “I think, at this point, I speak for all record shops when we’re saying we’re more worried about the healthcare system first. Then we’ll provide the soundtrack to your isolation afterwards!”

Los Angeles, CA | ‘A grinding halt’: Record stores struggle to stay afloat amid coronavirus crisis: The city permit that Amoeba Music had been anticipating came on March 18: After a years-long search to finally lock in a new home for its 31,000-square-foot Sunset Boulevard location, the city’s Department of Building and Safety approved construction applications for a new space a few blocks away at the corner of Hollywood and Argyle. Little could Amoeba have known when its owners submitted the paperwork that a pandemic of Slayer-esque proportions would prompt the company, which as the country’s largest independent record store employs about 400 workers across its three California locations, to close the same day it got the go-ahead to start work. “What would have been a moment of celebration,” Amoeba Music co-owner Jim Henderson says, “was just a further entrenched moment of, ‘Now what?’” Across Los Angeles and the country, similarly baffled music retailers await word of how the $2-trillion relief package approved by Congress will aid their plight. In the short term, prospects seem dim. Record retail’s most profitable day, April’s annual Record Store Day, has been postponed.

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In rotation: 3/27/20

Several Artists Push Back Release Dates Due to Coronavirus Uncertainty: HAIM, Jarvis Cocker, Hinds, Willie Nelson, and more reschedule their album releases for more certain time. The effects of the coronavirus on the music industry have generally led to more immediacy—albums have been surprise-released, demos have been pushed live, live streams have been a plenty—though this week things have shifted a bit in the opposite direction. Both yesterday and today we’ve been hearing news of artists pushing back the release dates for their forthcoming records so as not to coincide with the anxieties we’re all facing—and instead, ideally, to coincide with a tour. You know, like, with an audience in attendance. Among these anticipated releases are new records from HAIM, Jarvis Cocker, Kelly Lee Owens, Willie Nelson, Hinds, DMA’s, and Grey Daze, and the posthumous revitalization of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington’s ’90s post-grunge band.

High profile coronavirus initiative #LoveRecordStores hits social media: The music community has rallied together to support independent record stores amidst this time of concern. Record stores have seen some uncertainty in the wake of COVID-19; Bristol-based Idle Hands issued a plea to music fans and the annual celebration of vinyl, Record Store Day, was forced to postpone this year. #LoveRecordStores is a new initiative supported by the likes of Paul Weller to help independent record stores through this time of uncertainty. More than just a hashtag, #LoveRecordStores is encouraging artists, companies and labels to coordinate new ideas and resources to support record stores using all forms of social media. Musicians, artists, actors and celebrities across the world are filming short video clips of themselves talking about their passion for record stores. This might be discussing topics like what independent record stores mean to them, what stores have helped them discover new music, and, most importantly, reasons why fans should continue to use them to get their vinyl fix.

Nederland, CO | Boogie Records Celebrates One Year Anniversary: Elisabeth Grove, Nederland. Boogie Records is celebrating its first anniversary with a month long, storewide sale. Everything in the store, including over 3,000 new and used vinyl records, turntables, and hundreds of CDs, will be 10% off the entire month of April. “My first year in business was better than I expected and I’ve met some incredibly interesting people this past year” says owner Ryan Blackwell. Blackwell continues, “with vinyl records now outselling CDs for the first time since 1986 and Record Store Day, a national “holiday” celebrating independent record stores, taking place on Saturday, April 18, now is the perfect time to get back into vinyl. It just sounds better.” Boogie Records is located in downtown Nederland at 34 E. 1st Street, #3. He is temporarily closed because of the COVID-19 virus. They hope to reopen soon. In the meantime, they are still able to take payments through email and/or over the phone and mail records via USPS.

Spokane, WA | The owner of Resurrection Records talks about the challenges of closing a storefront amidst a pandemic: t was only a couple weeks ago that Resurrection Records, the small vinyl shop on Northwest Boulevard, was packed all weekend, both with local customers and out-of-towners who were here for Tool’s nearly sold-out Arena show. Now the city’s musical landscape looks totally different. Music venues have closed and concerts have been canceled, and it’s possible that brick-and-mortar music stores could be next. Resurrection owner Mike House had planned on business continuing as usual, but now he’s wondering if he should close the doors completely. (On Monday, when Gov. Jay Inslee announced a stay-at-home order, that debate became moot.) “I’m kind of reconsidering what I should do,” he says. “I’ve been really careful about sanitizing every surface after someone leaves. I sanitize the whole counter and the pens I touch and the phone people use to sign for their credit card transactions.”

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In rotation: 3/26/20

A NOTE TO OUR READERS: We’ve suspended our regular content this week to afford our team time to readjust to a new normal. We’ll continue to publish regular morning news updates this week as to be a resource for the vinyl and record store community during the Coronavirus pandemic.

As we wrote last week, continue to share the status of your record shops’ mode of operating at this time and we’ll share from our platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—and you can also share within our Record Store Locator app under the “social” tab. We’ll return to our regular content on Monday, March 30, 2020.

Music community launches ‘Love Record Stores’ initiative: The music community is launching a high-profile, global initiative on Thursday (March 26) to help independent record stores during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. With many of these stores now experiencing a catastrophic drop-off in footfall or having already closed their doors there are fears that some may not survive if something is not done urgently to stimulate sales. With that in mind many music companies have already pledged their support for this new campaign which has been named #loverecordstores. Companies are coordinating ideas, resources and mobilizing the artists they represent to record messages of support for record stores that can be used across all forms of social media. Musicians, artists, actors and celebrity music fans around the world are being asked to film short video clips of themselves talking about, for example: what independent record stores mean to them, where their favourite store is, what records and artists those stores have helped them discover and most importantly to encourage their fans to continue to shop online with their favourite stores wherever possible.

COVID-19: Global music community launches campaign to support record stores: The initiative will run under the hashtag #LoveRecordStores and seeks to support independent record stores around the world that are experiencing a drop in sales due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign is aimed at mitigating losses by garnering support and promoting online purchases from the stores. As part of the campaign, record labels are mobilising artists whom they represent to record messages of support for record stores on social media. Other celebrities, such as actors, are being asked to film short video clips of themselves talking about the significance of record stores in their lives, and to encourage their fans to continue to shop online. “Independent record stores have played a key role in supporting and developing artists and their music for decades, so now it is time for music companies and the artists they represent to step up and give something back,” Play It Again Sam managing director Jason Rackham, who is leading the campaign, said.

Can the Vinyl & CD Business Survive Coronavirus? Facing the COVID-19 pandemic, music shops are shuttering — and struggling to survive — and Amazon is focusing on household goods. What’s in store for physical retail? In the week ending March 19, Niall Horan sold 26,000 physical copies of his album Heartbreak Weather — which made it both the most popular physical album of the week and a sobering sign for the future of physical music. Stores are shutting down to stop the spread of the coronavirus, and in mid-March Amazon announced it would not re-stock records and CDs until at least early April. As CD sales continue to decline and the high-margin vinyl business faces manufacturing and distribution problems, can the physical business survive? Retailers were already having a rough year. Problems at Direct Shot Distributing have made it hard for stores to get releases promptly, and in February a fire destroyed the Apollo Masters plant, one of two facilities that make the lacquer plate needed to press vinyl. “It’s hard not to be a conspiracy theorist and wonder if the powers that be in the music industry are trying to get rid of physical music,” jokes one indie label owner.

Louisville, KY | Local record shops find ways to safely get you vinyl: It isn’t possible right now to walk into your neighborhood record store, comb through bin after bin and strike up conversations and arguments about all things music, but there are still ways to buy vinyl from those Louisville businesses. For example, Guestroom Records shut its doors to the public a week before the ordered closure of “nonessential” retail stores on Sunday, but the Frankfort Avenue shop has been selling albums through curbside pickup, delivery and shipping — options that are all currently still allowed. “I made the analogy that we are a very, very slow pizza place, with some of the most obscure toppings that you can ask for,” Guestroom Records co-owner Travis Searle said. “Bon Iver and Tame Impala, those are pepperoni. Art Blakey double LP audiophile jazz reissues, that’s artichoke skin that has been cured in Spanish olive oil, brined in the sun. You can call in your toppings and maybe we have them and maybe we don’t. Maybe we can get them and maybe we can’t.”

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In rotation: 3/25/20

A NOTE TO OUR READERS: We’ve suspended our regular content this week to afford our team time to readjust to a new normal. We’ll continue to publish regular morning news updates this week as to be a resource for the vinyl and record store community during the Coronavirus pandemic.

As we wrote last week, continue to share the status of your record shops’ mode of operating at this time and we’ll share from our platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—and you can also share within our Record Store Locator app under the “social” tab. We’ll return to our regular content on Monday, March 30, 2020.

NJ | Record Store Day in NJ moves to June: It’s springtime in New Jersey. For me, National Record Store Day, in New Jersey, is a rite of spring. And, while the novel coronavirus has caused numerous cancellations (to put it mildly), it is merely postponing this day that means so much to those of us who love vinyl. The new date to keep in mind is Saturday June 20th. 36 independent New Jersey record stores are expected to participate…including stores in Trenton, Princeton, Marlton, Red Bank, Jersey City, Belmar, Bayville, Summit, and Asbury Park. I’ll be writing more about National Record Store Day in New Jersey, in the coming weeks, as details become available. Stay tuned.

Austin, TX | Vinyl Saved My Life Tonight: Record Stores Deliver in a Crisis: Local media emporiums maintain online shipping during C-19 lockdown. When local schools shut down suddenly on Friday, March 13, my wife swiftly descended on H.E.B. – along with half of Austin. Personally, I’d already begun hoarding earlier in the week: Waterloo Records, Antone’s Records, Half Price Books. When I walked into Breakaway Records around 4pm that day, not a soul stood in the front room. Cascading forth as unto Howard Carter in Tutankhamun’s tomb, treasures long sought materialized as if sent by the gods: a near mint Powerslave – one never, ever, ever finds vintage Iron Maiden, let alone for $19.99 – not one but two near mint LPs of Pink Floyd’s Meddle, and the haul’s dark horse, a $1 near mint-vinyl (but slightly beat cover) copy of Paul Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years. Its Simon & Garfunkel reunion, “My Little Town,” is a freakin’ chip off “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” “…We’ve been adding things to Discogs and our site as fast as we can. We’re shipping everything now, except for gear which we are arranging a drop off locally.”

Victoria, BC | Retired Victoria record store owner pens a poem for these ‘strange times’: Joey Scarfone offers his creative commentary on the scenario wrought by a pandemic. Joey Scarfone is a Victoria resident, retired goldsmith and author of Vintage Cars of Victoria – a beautifully illustrated book on just that. For a while he also owned his own record and music store, Lazy Joe’s Vinyl Emporium in Fernwood Square. Scarfone is also an amateur musician and photographer/ videographer who has a way with words and he’s sent Monday a heartfelt poem based on the “strange times” we’re in right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “These times are unprecedented,” he says of his motivation for writing the verses. “It’s how I deal with my anxiety, to be honest. As a human race we’re pretty helpless right now, we’re on the ropes.” A regular jammer at The Loft Pub on Gorge Road, he also worries about working musicians who are out of work. He notes that even busking on the street is not very effective given the lack of passersby – let alone those willing to use cash. Despite his misgivings about what the future holds, his poem does have an optimistic ending.

Fort Dodge, IA | Sweet Sound: At Greg’s Custom Shop, Hammen creates environment made for music. There’s a blue canvas chair that’s carefully situated in front of a turntable and in between two speakers at Greg’s Custom Shop, 2372 170th St. That blue chair is what owner Greg Hammen calls the sweet spot. That’s where the sound equilibrium exists. When the needle catches the groove of the black vinyl record, the music by “Heart” amplifies and fills the space. The guitar thumps, the drums kick. And Nancy Wilson’s voice carries. Cold late night so long ago. When I was not so strong you know — A pretty man came to me — never seen eyes so blue… It’s the closest thing Hammen can get to without actually being at a live concert. Move the chair a little bit to the left or to the right and you’ve lost the sweet spot. “I am introducing those frequencies into my real-time environment,” Hammen said. “If I’m listening to an album and I want to be totally taken in by it, the only way that can truly happen is if the sound engulfs you and takes you into that false environment and makes it real.”

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In rotation: 3/24/20

A NOTE TO OUR READERS: We’ve suspended our regular content this week to afford our team time to readjust to a new normal. We’ll continue to publish regular morning news updates this week as to be a resource for the vinyl and record store community during the Coronavirus pandemic.

As we wrote last week, continue to share the status of your record shops’ mode of operating at this time and we’ll share from our platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—and you can also share within our Record Store Locator app under the “social” tab. We’ll return to our regular content on Monday, March 30, 2020.

St. Louis, MO | Vintage Vinyl closed until further notice for coronavirus: The coronavirus is causing more St. Louis businesses to close. Vintage Vinyl, the iconic record store on the Delmar Loop is closed until further notice due to the outbreak. The store’s owner, Tom “Papa” Ray, posting online that the best way to avoid the coronavirus is to stay home and listen to records. “Hey Now, It’s Tom ‘Papa’ Ray. After 40 years of being in business, I know that no one has ever seen or experienced anything like this. So, I wanted to let you all know that safety for our customers and our staff is our number one concern at Vintage Vinyl. At first, we thought a 7,000 square foot store would allow people to be safe, but we don’t want to take any chances. Because of this, as of 6pm tonight, Vintage Vinyl will be closed until further notice. In the meantime, stay home and listen to LP’s, and as always, remember that Music is the Healing Force. Stay Safe, be nice to one another

New York, NY | Rough Trade NYC temporarily shutting down online sales due to COVID-19: All branches of independent record store chain Rough Trade — UK and NYC — have been closed for over a week due to COVID-19 but all have still been doing online orders. The NYC store, however, is temporarily shutting down its online store too: “In response to Coronavirus, we have temporarily shut down all our operations in North America, including orders on our website. We will update again on or before April 6, 2020. Many thanks for your loyalty and patience. Although our NYC store is closed, please follow us @RoughTradeNYC on Instagram and Twitter, as will be sharing content from our artist community friends, and keeping you all informed of releases that are being postponed due to the virus. Stay safe. Be well.

Rockford, IL | Local shops going online to increase sales amid COVID-19 shutdowns: It’s not only bars and restaurants that are feeling the impact of the stay-in order. Smaller stores in the Stateline that didn’t have an online presence in the past are now dipping their toes into the digital world. Culture Shock has no online website to sell their items. But after shutting its doors to the public that might change. “I mean this is a completely new challenge I mean even outside of flooding and other near-disasters we’ve had this is totally new,” explained Skyler Davis, the owner of Culture Shock record store located at 2239 Charles Street. Stores like Culture Shock and Rockford Art Deli are using the tools at their disposal. For most, that means getting active on social media…Overall, owners say it’s important for the community to stick together and continue to shop local. “Now it’s really good for small businesses to step up and kind of join together and figure out how we can help each other out so that you know once we get back to our normal pace everyone is still strong and open and available to operate…”

UK, AU | “I don’t know what will survive”: Australian record stores grapple with coronavirus: Business is bad for record stores around the country, and expected to get worse. All corners of the Australian music industry are suffering during the coronavirus crisis. On their part, record stores around the country tell NME Australia their sales are dropping, with business looking set to spiral down over the next few months. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Australia’s live industry is by this point well-documented; government bans on public gatherings have led to scores of concerts and festivals being cancelled or postponed, with millions of dollars of income and thousands of jobs affected. Record stores have also been hit, but by the more widespread pressure on the public to stay indoors and avoid crowds so as to cut the risk of coronavirus transmission. That has led to reduced foot traffic and sales for record stores. Nic Warnock and Damien Arkins, owners of Repressed Records in Sydney, closed their store indefinitely on March 17. They estimated takings were down 20 per cent in the days preceding closure.

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In rotation: 3/23/20

A NOTE TO OUR READERS: We’ve suspended our regular content this week to afford our team time to readjust to a new normal. We’ll continue to publish regular morning news updates this week as to be a resource for the vinyl and record store community during the Coronavirus pandemic.

As we wrote last week, continue to share the status of your record shops’ mode of operating at this time and we’ll share from our platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—and you can also share within our Record Store Locator app under the “social” tab. We’ll return to our regular content on Monday, March 30, 2020.

New York, NY | Record Stores Offering Curbside Pickup, Delivery, Shipping Amid Coronavirus Pandemic: The ongoing novel coronavirus has caused a global economic downturn, leaving many businesses with no other option but to close their doors and wait for the pandemic to die down. Like many other subsections of the music industry, local, state, and national shutdowns have decimated record sales. Record stores around the country recently began taking matters into their own hands, offering pickup and delivery options amid these trying times. “The weekend prior was by far our biggest of the year,” Strictly Discs store owner Angie Roloff told Billboard. “But this last weekend was where we felt things start to change.” …“We’re trying to goose it however we can and just let people know we’re there,” said Waterloo Records owner John Kunz. ” Waterloo has not yet offered delivery services, due to more pressing needs, but Kunz is hopeful that the company will do so soon.

UK | ‘I’m trying to keep the panic down’ – the coronavirus impact on music: From singers to a record shop owner and a festival organiser: people in the music business on their struggles in a time of crisis. …We’ve been here 17 years. CDs have died, so it’s mostly vinyl. The cafe and records feed off each other. It’s such a small town that I need both for it to make enough money. Record Store Day being postponed until June was a massive relief. There was a suggestion that it could have gone partially online, which would have been a disaster: competing with Rough Trade, Resident, record shops with really good online facilities. RSD is basically a month’s worth of sales in one day, so if you’re doing it it has to work. We could probably last a month without me having to put some money in, and I don’t want to put money into a failing business. The shop can only survive with big financial help from the government. The difference between Boris and Macron’s responses was worlds apart. In France, they said no business will go under and we’ll put €45bn into supporting them. That’s the scale of what has to happen. And it can’t be loans

AU | Record Store Day announces replacement event, The Great Australian Warehouse Sale: “We went to the record companies and asked them to venture into the dim and dusty corners of the warehouse and then get sharp and hot with the prices. They came to the party.” The team behind Record Store Day have announced a new event to tide vinyl lovers over, after the original was postponed. The Great Australian Warehouse Sale is a two-day event happening in April, which sees Independent record stores receive stock marked at the lowest price possible. It aims to give indie stores a financial boost and make music more accessible for fans. Record Store Day Australia took to Facebook, saying “we went to the record companies and asked them to venture into the dim and dusty corners of the warehouse and then get sharp and hot with the prices. They came to the party.” Participating record labels include Sony, Universal, Warner and Inertia, along with companies Rocket Distribution and MGM Distribution. Lists of exclusive marked down items – vinyls, cassettes and CDs – will start appearing on Record Store Day’s official website as of March 23.

New Orleans, LA | Louisiana Music Factory Closes Its Doors: The Louisiana Music Factory, after 28 years in business, is closing its doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of the increasing cases of the coronavirus in Louisiana, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell today called for non-essential businesses to close by Monday. Consequently, Barry Smith, the owner of the Louisiana Music Factory, announced that the bricks-and-mortar store, which has been a fixture at 421 Frenchmen Street since 2014, will shut down immediately. Smith said that he had laid off employees to comply with the city’s requirement and for his staff’s and customer’s safety. Smith noted that he only had two customers all day Friday and that Frenchmen Street was empty…The store will continue to service mail order sales, for the time being. “And we will re-open in the future,” said Smith.

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In rotation: 3/20/20

UK | Amazon ‘still very much business as usual’ for record labels in the UK, says distributor Proper Music: …Things, aren’t working out quite as bleakly for the record business as first feared. At least not in the UK, where we’re told that “Amazon are still ordering from music suppliers” – and not just honouring previously agreed orders, but also replenishing stock for new orders. That’s according to Drew Hill, Managing Director of Proper Music Group, which distributes for nearly 1,000 independent labels, represents around 10% of the UK physical recorded music market and handles over 1 million titles at any time. Proper handles logistics in the UK for companies such as Epitaph, Ingrooves, Redeye, Concord, The Orchard, Believe, Absolute and AWAL. As such, the firm has recently managed the physical releases for artists including BTS, Lauv and Nick Cave. “Amazon UK is still very much business as usual,” Hill told MBW today…

Wilmington, NC | As ’Rona rages, Gravity Records plays on: The revered Wilmington record shop has added delivery and pick-up options to help maintain business during the coronavirus crisis. Owning a record store in 2020 was already a challenge. Then, the coronavirus hit. But if Matt Keen, who founded the Wilmington shop Gravity Records 16 years ago, wasn’t a survivor, he would’ve been gone long ago. He’s already lived through the death of CDs and the rise of digital. So, with the COVID-19 crisis threatening to wreck the entire economy and make things that much tougher for independent record stores, an idea “just popped into my head,” Keen said. “Whatever I can do to make a sale.” Gravity is now offering “porch drop offs” of the vinyl records that are its bread and butter, as well as curbside pick-up at its 612 Castle Street location and, of course, mail-order. (To place an order, call 910-343-1000.) “I’m trying not to allow people in the store,” he said. “But if someone wants to come in and look at the jazz records? We’re a pretty big space.”

Bangor, ME | Bull Moose continues to pay employees despite closures: Bull Moose Music has closed all its physical locations until at least March 28th. The annually celebrated “Record Store Day” has also been rescheduled until June 20th. A representative from the store said both dates are subject to change, depending on future developments with the coronavirus pandemic. Despite sending most of its employees home during the closure, Bull Moose has opted to pay its employees for the shifts they’d normally be scheduled. “They’ve always treated their employees right,” said Bangor assistant store manager Jesse Giroux. “I know the decision came kind of late on Sunday. None of us were really expecting this- to be closed or that we would be get paid for the closure too. But it’s nice having them look out for us like that.” Bull Moose says while the physical stores may be closed, their online store is still very much open for business.

Los Angeles, CA | Curbside Pickup at Amoeba Hollywood Available Through March 22: In response to the ongoing COVID-19 concerns, Amoeba Hollywood is now offering curbside pickup! Call the store and ask to do a phone order for curbside pickup. Our staff will pull your order for you and bring it out to your car! Curbside pickup will be available 11am – 6pm through Sunday, March 22. 1. Call us at 323-245-6400 and ask to do a curbside pickup. 2. Pay over the phone by credit card. We accept Visa, Mastercard & Discover. Store credit, gift certificates, and coupons may not be applied to curbside pickup purchases. 3. When you arrive, park on the Ivar side of the store at a meter. If none available, park in front of the Ivar loading dock entrance. Call the store and let us know you are ready for pickup. 4. Items must be picked up by 6pm each day.

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In rotation: 3/19/20

Record Labels Take Another Hit as Amazon Stops Accepting Vinyl and CD Shipments: Although probably no one will begrudge Amazon prioritizing essential goods and services during a pandemic, the company’s decision to put a temporary halt to incoming shipments of physical media is subjecting record labels — particularly independent imprints that do a good deal of business in vinyl and CDs — to yet another blow. Amazon has announced that its warehouses has “temporarily disabled shipment creation” for discretionary items through at least April 5. That doesn’t have to do with the outflow of product from Amazon, but inflow. Amazon is declaring an immediate emphasis on the kind of household and medical supplies that have been quick to sell out, and which customers are having a hard time finding in person. Their message to record labels and distributors: Please stop sending us anything, until further notice.

Bandcamp Will Forfeit Its Share Of Sales Friday, Urges Direct Support Of Musicians: Bandcamp, the digital storefront and streaming music platform used by hundreds of thousands of artists and thousands of record labels, will forgo collecting its share of revenue from sales on the site made this Friday, March 20, the company announced on Tuesday. The initiative will be active from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m Pacific time. The global coronavirus outbreak has put many musicians in a state of extreme financial precarity as their main source of income, live performance, has been suspended while the world struggles to contain the pandemic. “For many artists, a single day of boosted sales can mean the difference between being able to pay rent or not,” Ethan Diamond, the CEO and co-founder of Bandcamp, writes. “Still, we consider this just a starting point. Musicians will continue to feel the effects of lost touring income for many months to come, so we’re also sharing some ideas below on how fans can support the artists they love and how artists can give fans new, creative ways to provide support.”

Covid-19 Music Industry Update: Proper Music Distribution. MD Drew Hill has given an update on how the company is responding to Covid-19. You can read it here: “I would like to update you on the steps Proper Music Group are taking in response to the latest advice on COVID-19. Our Dartford warehouse remains open for business as usual, with all precautions being taken over the health of our staff. While at present stock is moving smoothly, some disruption may be inevitable down the line as the situation continues to develop. From today, the team at our Surrey Quays office (sales, marketing, label management and international business) will work as normal from home, for an initial two week period. Meetings planned with our team in person can proceed by video conferencing – we will be in touch on how to connect in such instances. As a reminder Record Store Day has been postponed until Saturday June 20, a sensible move in view of the safety of the music buying community. That aside, it’s very much business as usual, and while events are upon us that we could never have predicted, the Proper can-do spirit will continue to prevail!”

The lost art of deep listening: Choose an album. Lose the phone. Close your eyes. What’s your favorite album? When was the last time you listened — actually listened — to it from start to finish? With intention, like you were watching a movie or reading a novel. Clear your schedule for the next three hours. Choose three full albums, whether from your collection or your streaming service of choice. Put them in an ordered queue as though you were programming a triple feature. Because, listen: Musicians spend years making their albums. They struggle over syllables, melodies, bridges and rhythms with the same intensity with which you compare notes on the “Forensic Files” reboot, loot corpses in “Fortnite” or pound Cabernet during pandemics. But most of us are half-assed when it comes to listening to albums. We put on artists’ work while we’re scrolling through Twitter, disinfecting doorknobs, obsessively washing our hands or romancing lovers permitted within our COVID-free zones. We rip our favorite tracks from their natural long-player habitat, drop them into playlists and forget the other songs, despite their being sequenced to be heard in order.

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In rotation: 3/18/20

UK | UK record labels annual trade income hits £1.1bn in 2019: The trade income of the UK’s record labels has reached its highest level for more than 10 years. According to the BPI, trade income rose by 7.3% in 2019, reaching £1,069.8 million, thanks to investment in new music, the growth of streaming and vinyl sales. Trade income covers revenues generated through streaming, physical and download sales, public performance rights, and sync. “Watching British artists such as Stormzy, Celeste, Dave and Harry Styles at the BRIT Awards was a reminder of the fantastic contribution music makes to our national life. The music industry’s success is powered by record labels’ up-front investment and shouldering of risk, so it is important to the sustainable health of the music ecosystem that label revenues grew on last year’s results,” said BPI & BRIT Awards chief executive Geoff Taylor of the latest results.

Kettering, UK | Kettering record fair cancelled for “safeguarding.” Another cancellation amid the coronavirus pandemic. Record fairs planned in Kettering for March and April have been cancelled in light of the current coronavirus crisis. Kettering Vinyl and CD Fairs posted a statement on their Facebook page to announce the decision. They said: “Very sorry to inform you that March and April fairs have been cancelled as a safeguarding measure for record dealers and the public.” The fairs on March 28 and April 25 were due to be held at the Parish Hall in Kettering. The remaining fair dates will be reviewed in mid April. Kettering Vinyl and CD Fairs said they and many record dealers have an online presence and urged customers to send a message if they want to get in touch with any regular dealers.

Kingston, UK | Covid-19 Music Industry Update: Banquet Records. Kingston’s independent record store Banquet has announced that, due to the coronavirus, its staff will now be working in the shop with the front doors closed, and will be focusing on mail-order services only until further notice. “With the recent Social Distancing measures advised by government, we can no longer in good faith have our physical shop open,” they explained in a statement. “While music is essential, and new music is brilliant, it can’t be argued that travelling to the store is essential travel. Our doors will be closed, until the time we feel it’s right to re-open. Some of our staff are working from home, others’ hours and roles will change. We have hundreds of thousands of pounds of stock, with deliveries arriving daily, and we expect minimal disruption to supply chains. We will not lay off any staff over the coming months and expect records and CDs to get out to you in good time, with no sign of a change to the Royal Mail service…”

Austin, TX | Coronavirus in Austin: Waterloo Records temporarily closing, will have curbside service: Waterloo Records, winner of the Austin Music Awards’ best record store category every year since it opened in 1982, is closing its doors to the public through March 29 amid the coronavirus pandemic but will offer curbside service via online and phone orders, the store announced Monday… “Curbside service will be provided by a small crew at the store each day from 10am-7pm Mon-Sat and 11am – 7pm on Sunday. Simply call us at (512) 474-2500 to place your order and a staffer will bring your LP/CD/Video out to your vehicle. For this service we are only accepting credit card payments. In addition you can shop us at WaterlooRecords.com where orders over $35 ship media mail for free. You can also shop with us through our Ebay, Amazon, and Discogs stores. Links to those stores can be found on our homepage www.waterloorecords.com.”

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In rotation: 3/17/20

Why the music biz needs to work together, not isolate during the coronavirus crisis: Working in the music business last week felt like being in the first 20 minutes of a disaster film. You knew something bad was coming, it was just a question of when. And then rapidly, the dominoes started falling: South By Southwest, Coachella, MUSEXPO, C2C, Big Weekend, Record Store Day, countless live shows, big and small. All postponed, with varying degrees of fallout for organisers and participants. As I write, the UK has yet to enact a formal lockdown, although it may well happen soon enough. But everywhere you look, the potential impact of the pandemic on almost every aspect of the music business is already looking very serious indeed. On the financial markets, companies from Live Nation to Vivendi have seen billions wiped off their market cap. Indie acts and labels have had their 2020 plans and finances thrown into disarray by the loss of SXSW. The loss of footfall will hit physical music retailers hard.

Anderson, GA | The vinyl experience: Anderson business rides wave of hobby’s resurgence. Australian entertainer Peter Allen gained fame in the 1970s with a song called “Everything Old is New Again.” The title of that vinyl classic is an appropriate way to describe the philosophy that Bob Bantz and his son, James, have applied to their business. Elusive Disc, an audiophile company that specializes in hard-to-find titles in a variety of media, is among the hundreds of warehouse retailers capitalizing on a resurgence in the popularity of vinyl records over the past decade. In the first half of last year alone, sales of vinyl records outpaced those of CDs for the first time since 1986, according to data from the Recording Industry Association of America. And vinyl is proliferating online, with approximately 5.7 million such items listed on Discogs, a database of information on audio recordings, and an additional 2.5 million used vinyl recordings available on eBay. “There’s just a tactile experience” with vinyl, Bob said.

Philadelphia, PA | Fans hope Sound of Philly studio can become music museum: What’s the most significant Philadelphia music landmark that needs to be saved? …On a recent Wednesday, a group of Sigma Sound veterans from the studio’s glory days joined a younger generation of Philly music lovers and preservationists for a #SaveSigma brainstorming session, to mull the future of the gutted building that has been owned by real estate developers since 2015. The meeting was called by Max Ochester, the mover-and-shaker owner of the Brewerytown Beats record store and label, an impassioned advocate for the preservation of Philly music. Ochester wants to not only save the Sigma Sound building, but also turn it into a museum. “Not a Sigma museum,” he said. “But a Philadelphia music history museum” — an institution sorely lacking in a city that has been home to Marian Anderson, Billie Holiday, Eugene Ormandy, Hall & Oates, Schoolly D, and the War on Drugs. Speakers at the Sigma summit, held at the Spring Arts Building in Callowhill, included David Ivory, who engineered Erykah Badu’s 1997 album Baduizm at Sigma, as well as several by an up-and-coming Philly band called the Roots.

These Wooden Record Dividers Let You Sort Your Collection By Feelings: Anyone who collects records has one main gripe about their collection, and it’s not that some of their LPs skip (that’s just part of their overall charm!). Records are notoriously hard to organize and store in a way where specific albums are easily found. The lack of spine and thin shape often leaves collectors sifting through their stash in search of the perfect LP. So, Kate Koeppel of Koeppel Design decided to do something about it, and her record dividers are the perfect storage solution for any record junkie. Made by a team of “organization-obsessed craftswomen” based in San Francisco, California, Koeppel’s wood divider sets come in an array of different organization options. For example, if you like to sort your record based on genre, there’s a divider set for that. If you prefer an alphabetical organization system a la your favorite record store, there’s also a divider set for that. Koeppel even designed a divider set that will help you sort your collection by feelings.

Isle of Wight, UK | The first cut is the deepest: Isle of Wight musician Paul Armfield’s new album has lino prints as part of package: A new vinyl release by Isle of Wight musician Paul Armfield will come packaged with a collection of original linocut prints depicting scenes of ‘native’ plants, complementing the ten songs. Paul said: “My last album, Found, came boxed with a CD and postcards and was such a success, the 1000 copies selling out very quickly, with people really appreciating that they had something special. “As music becomes more and more devalued in the digital age, I want to give back a sense of worth to my music, to demonstrate that there is a lot of love, care, thought and consideration behind it. “I also want the packaging to enhance the experience of listening: the inks and the papers I have chosen have a feel and a smell, and the images I’ve created offer a further context to the lyrics, and it all works together to create a greater and more personal experience.” Paul is running a crowd-funding campaign to finance the project, as he does not feel a record company would agree to it.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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