It was a very nice surprise to have the BBC ring me earlier in the week for some views on the whole Record Store Day thing and where music retail is heading, and we’re name checked in the subsequent article. Check it out here:
Interestingly it also mentions the new ‘That’s Entertainment’ chain which if I’m not mistaken has risen from the ashes of Music Zone and has a few branches opening up mainly in retail parks or towns which don’t have much else in the way of Record Shops. (Nearest one to here is Macclesfield). They’re mainly doing refurbished second hand CDs (along with DVDs and Games) which they refer to as ‘Replay’ although they do also carry some new stuff. Not much interest to you Vinyl fans but certainly one to watch as HMV continues to please neither its shareholders or serious music lovers.
It goes without saying that Record Store Day 2011 was a roaring success again. It did what it set out to do again, it sold lots of records, it created a bit of a Christmas rush in April and most importantly it once again brought Record Shops into the spotlight with lots of articles in the mainstream media and Twitter and Blogs alight and buzzing with Record Shop talk. I hear 800 queued at Rough Trade East, and according to Piccadilly Records they had people outside the shop from 12am onwards!
According to Spencer Hickman at Rough Trade, sales of physical singles through Indie stores were more than double last years figure, sales of albums were up 20% and almost all of the physical single and Vinyl album sales in the charts this week are RSD exclusives.
As we’ve said in the past I hope this translates into some increased footfall for Record Shops generally, and perhaps record companies (both large, small and operating out of back bedrooms) will remember that there is a great network of shops still around and give them more exclusives all year round and not just on Record Store Day. Grass roots is where it’s at.
Interestingly, I’ve heard from several folk over the weekend some confusion about the fact that nearly all the RSD exclusives were Vinyl. These are people who still buy CD, but increasingly buy from Amazon or Play because HMV simply doesn’t have the ‘deep catalogue’ or Independent releases it once had. I surprised these people by telling them about the fact that, for example, it’s not uncommon for new releases to be available in Piccadilly Records for £8-£10 which isn’t much more than Amazon, or indeed an iTunes download (new releases are typically £7.49). There is clearly a market there which HMV (other than via Fopp) are increasingly disinterested in, who are happy to come out to Record Shops. It’s clearly time for the independent sector across the country to start connecting with people who think there is no alternative to Amazon.