Tomorrow the 16th April 2011 is Record Store Day, and one of the most exciting days of the year for all music lovers.
This is the day when music labels and bands old and new from around the world release special limited edition music on Vinyl and CD, attracting fans from around the world to independent record stores to pour through the new releases.
In recent years there has been a sudden growing interest in vinyl and specialist music with the vinyl market now over 4% from a point of almost extinction a few years ago. It is a niche market but one that is greatly satisfying and growing.
In the UK there are more independent record stores today than there were 12 months ago. A reverse of a trend that has been on going for the past decade.
The key to the success of these stores is the specialist nature of them and the enthusiasm and localism of the stores. Supporting new bands and liaising with acts on promotions and having in store band performances.
When we look at the performance of stores like HMV and compare them to these independent stores it is clear how HMV have got it so wrong. They have not really been a record store for some years, being a sanitised entertainment store, ignoring the profitable niche markets and alienating music fans. Try picking up something out of the ordinary or on vinyl in most HMV outlets and you will be sadly disappointed. Even their support of the Mercury Award Nominated acts has been poor over the past few years.
The success of record store day has been clear to see. Last year it was the day of a massive increase in foot fall and sales, with around 9% increase in album sales and nearly 500% in single sales.
The record store day began in 2007 and has steadily picked up momentum. Music fans have taken to it, and so have sadly the ebayer money maker. Yet the 2011 record store day seems to be set to be an even bigger success.
This is a welcome day for the music industry as CD sales keep falling and yesterday Spotify announced another cut in its free service.
The Music industry is still reeling from the decline in physical sales and the flux in their economic model. It does seem clear though that much of this decline has been largely their own making, ignoring new technology; crying wolf too many times (remember tapes are killing music??); and profiteering from the fan base that sustained record companies unhealthy profits.
The niche market though is alive and well and growing again. Those interested in unusual and interesting music, on quality formats, appreciate the amazing sound that is produced on vinyl and modern CD formats. Vinyl still has the warmist sound of any format, something many of us knew back when the music industry abandoned it on mass for higher profits in the early 1990’s.
I will be ready to queue early tomorrow morning, in keen anticipation. 300 people were queueing at the rough trade stores in London an hour before they opened last year, so a long cold wait will be awaiting me! But it will be worth it.
For a list of exclusive releases click here.