Record Store Day: A beacon of hope for retailing

Friday April 22, 2016

We have grown accustomed to newspaper headlines describing the "death of the High Street".

If shopping centres are not dying, they are said to be "faceless" or "bland" or "anonymous".

More and more retailing is conducted online, which is, by definition "faceless" and "anonymous".

How refreshing then to experience the fun, the unpredictable joy and sheer human interaction of Record Store Day.

Over 230 independent shops participated in last Saturday's event. Early indications are that it was more commercially successful than ever - with stores reporting sales up on average between 10 and 25% on last year's event - and that is of course vital for a sector which has seen so many store closures over the past decade. For many indies today  it has been a lifeline.  But more than that, I believe Record Store Day exemplifies in a particularly dramatic way the very essence of entertainment retailing at its best.

It is about stores rooted in their local music community. It is about stores and fans united in a love of music. And it is about the diversity and individuality of an incredibly entrepreneurial sector.

It is a curious fact that for the past decades the wider music industry has tended to dismiss independent stores as old-fashioned, conservative, an anachronism.

And yet it is independents who week-in, week-out discover and nurture and find audiences for new music. It is independents , precisely because they have been marginalised, who have innovated, most notably by identifying an appetite for vinyl none of the big players had noticed.

ERA is proud to support Record Store Day. We salute our independent record shops. In their resilience, imagination and individuality they are a beacon of hope for retailing as a whole.

Share with