Tag Archives: independent record stores

Record Store Day 2013 – Rise Music Shop Bristol

Well another record store day has passed and what a day it was.  More releases than ever before and the most well attended by music fans and those who wish to support independent record stores.

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This year I chose Rise Music store in Bristol for the 3rd year running and it was an even better experience than usual due to the excellent staff and organisation of the large queues that inevitably are formed so early in the morning.

Rise has recently had to branch out and diversify its product range in order to keep the integrity of it’s core activity, namely being an independent record store.  They now have a partnership on the ground floor of the premises with Friska, bringing a high quality independent Cafe and a stage for in store gigs.  This works remarkably well and in someways adds to the record store ambiance rather than taking away from it.

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So for record store day rather than waiting in the freezing cold for hours we were able to spend some of it in the warmth of the cafe while waiting for the fun to begin.

This year I ended up getting to the shop for 4:15am, yes – 4:15!!!! unbelievably I was still 20th in the line!

It was a 2 hour wait before the cafe opened at 6am and slowly allowed the queue of people to enter.  The lucky first 20 in the queue get their items picked for them and a goody bag with some freebies for making the effort.  This is an excellent way of doing it and avoids the scrum for the very rare items that people are after.

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Lawrence (owner of the store) sporting his red fez for the day was constantly looking after people making sure they got the help they needed to find what they wanted.

It’s an exciting time to get your hands on the limited edition items, however, it is easy to forget what the day is really about.  To bring people into the independent record stores all over the country that have been going out of business at an alarming rate.

The record stores still around are excellent and have had to up their game by diversifying and essentially giving people a much better experience.  Rough Trade, Sister Ray and soul jazz records to name a few I have been to recently are all excellent.  One of the great pleasures is talking to the staff who are enthusiasts for new music and are extremely knowledgeable.  Rise Music is excellent at this, and many are in bands themselves such as Olo Worms in Bristol, adding to the live music vibe of the store.

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The much hullabaloo about HMV recently brings into focus how good independent record stores are.  People cry that HMV is the last music store on the high street.  My beef with this is that I don’t think that it has truly been a music store for 20 years.  It lost it’s soul a long time ago and became a bland entertainment store, charging too much on the whole, with little support for local bands hiding vinyl in a corner somewhere if you were lucky.

Whoever has the pleasure of re-organising the HMV business model would do well to look at the independent record stores for inspiration.

So what were my picks of the RSD 2013.  I was extremely fortunate to get my hands on all 3 of the Caribou albums – of which rise only had 3 copies of each in store.  Tame Impala, Paul Weller, David Bowie and Nick Cave were all highlights for me.

Apparently the day became the best in Rise music’s history so far.  The interest generated by the event and the entertainment provided by Rise was superb.  The bands that played all day were excellent and I met many like minded music lovers from as far away as Swindon who will be back next year.  More importantly, they will be back between now and the next RSD supporting their independent record shops.

As if to stress the point – I was back at Rise the next day for an in store free gig by Mathew E White.  A lunch time beer and a free gig is not a bad way to spend a Sunday.  Mathew E White was amazing.  The band played for about half an hour, the ground floor was packed and the music was superb.  Their rhythm section blew the house down.

I couldn’t recommend Rise music highly enough.  Remember to support our local record stores!

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Independent Record Store Day 16th April 2011

Today’s the day all record collectors and vinyl junkies, and general music lovers having been waiting for, record store day. 189 independent record stores around the UK along with many in the US and around the world open their doors to crowds of people hoping to pick up the odd limited edition item specially released for the day.

I got up at 5:45am for the occasion, originally intending to get to Rise Records in Bristol by 7am, but ended up going a bit earlier at 6:20am.  To my surprise there were already 13 people ahead of me!  By 7am there were nearly a hundred, and by 8am, when the shop was opening the queue stretched almost to the end of the street, over 150 people.

Luckily for me, they let in about the first 15 people and stopped the queue to avoid the “scrum” that would inevitably ensue if everyone was let in at the same time.

The excitement had been building for some time as people were drooling at the window seeing what copies they were stocking.  Bar a few frantic moments it all went very smoothly and other than one item  managed to pretty well lay my hands on the copies I wanted.

The staff were incredibly well organised and helpful and were helping people find that special copy they were after.

After queueing for an hour and 40 minutes, I was pretty much done, and spent out within 15 minutes!  It was like being a boy in a sweety shop and I could have easily spent double the amount of money that I did.

I managed a big haul which my partner I’m sure will appreciate!!:)   –   Big Star 3 Test Pressing; Doors Mono re-issue; Radiohead 12″; Esben and the Witch 12″; Black Mountain 7″; Badly Drawn Boy 7″;  Clash 7″; Toots and the Maytals 7″;Vaccines album; Grinderman 12″ and the Gorillaz album.  All in all a pretty good day, or 15 minutes!  Sadly I was unable to enjoy a leisurely day hanging around due to work commitments but, maybe next year I will have more time. . . . . . . just waiting for the credit card bill!

Looking at the response from the good humoured crowd of people queueing I am sure the record store day this year will have gone down a storm.  Can’t wait to get around to playing some of my finds.

RECORD STORE DAY : A Great Day for Music

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.