Record stores

It’s Record Store Day 2014 !

A great day to go out and visit your local independent record stores to nab either a great deal or the latest albums from one of your local indie artists. Maybe both ?

Click here for additional information.

An App For Vinyl Hunters

Have you ever been to a new city and wondered where you could find vinyl records ? Do you have a mobile device that uses GPS ? Then try “The Vinyl District” app :

Click here to download the iOS version from iTunes
Click here to download the Android version from Google

Happy International Record Store Day !

It’s Record Store Day ! Don’t forget to browse your local independent stores today. Click here for a list of your local participants.

Retail News – Future Shop/Best Buy/HMV U.K

Eight Future Shop and seven Best Buy stores are set to close though-out Canada as the company restructures their retail operations.

According to a January 31st, 2013 press release smaller retail operations will replace these stores :

Best Buy stores in Queensborough, Nanaimo, Victoria, Langford (Westshore Town Centre), and South Surrey, British Columbia; and Lachenaie, and Sherbrooke (SmartCentres Sherbrooke), Quebec.

Future Shop stores in West Kelowna, British Columbia; Montreal (Forum Entertainment Center), Laval (First Pro Ste-Dorothee), Quebec; Regent, Manitoba; Macleod, Calgary; as well as Ancaster, Barrie South and Erin Mills, Ontario.

Best Buy Mobile locations will expand whilst smaller Future Shop “web stores”.

On the other side of the pond, HMV U.K is also restructuring and is not currently taking online orders via their site.

Sixteen stores have been closed in Ireland and half of the 223 U.K stores are expected to close shortly.

He Said It, He Did It

Sam Sniderman, the founder of Sam The Record Man, has died at the age of 92.

The Sam The Record Man chain was founded in 1937 and had become Canada’s largest chain of record stores by 1982, which enabled the chain to be a major promoter of Canadian music.

In 1961, their flagship store at 347 Yonge Street in Toronto opened and had become a landmark due to its pair of rotating neon signs, which were prominently featured in film and television including Marvel’s “The Incredible Hulk” and one of my favorite music videos, Alphaville’s “Big In Japan”.

Unfortunately, the chain and flagship store closed by mid 2007 due to competition and advancements in music distribution technology. But Sam The Record Man will be remembered for his contributions to the Canadian music industry, including the independent scene, which flourished in the 80’s and 90’s because of his support.

Sam The Record Man RIP 1920-2012

A Vinyl Comeback ?

It appears that more and more consumers are choosing vinyl over compact disc when if comes to purchasing physical copies of their music.

According to Soundscan, Americans had purchased just over 330 million vinyl albums last year and over 76 thousand new record albums were released in the United States that year.

Apparently many audiophiles are purchasing mp3s for their portable players and purchasing vinyl for their home stereos instead of compact discs because they believe vinyl has a richer sound. And although many bloggers have claimed that this opinion was subjective, the sales of vinyl records continue to rise.

Regardless of the technological debate, consumers have not dropped vinyl as a physical format like the magnetic tape formats (8 track/cassette tape). And compact disc sales are dropping so dramatically in the United States that many major retailers have either reduced or eliminated the retail space they had dedicated to the format.

On the other hand, many online retailers have created vinyl stores to fulfill the demand, including Amazon.ca & chapters.indigo.ca in Canada, and Amazon.com, Barnes & Nobleicon, CD Universeicon, DeepDiscounts.com & JR.comicon in the United States.

Yes, compact disc sales were still substantial at $225.5 Million dollars in the United States in 2011. But sales have slipped by 5.7% from 2010 whilst sales of LPs, digital singles and digital albums have grown.

LPs will not likely not surpass compact discs in sales anytime soon. But it obviously remains a niche product that is fashionable in certain circles, who also prefer the artwork found on LPs and 45s.

Compact disc inserts may be adequate to some but I personally prefer framing a LP for display if I am unable to find a poster of an album cover’s artwork. And I doubt that I am alone in finding the LP album cover more aesthetically appealing.

Many home audio systems and compact stereo units still include turntables but record players are available as separate components in Canada from Amazon.ca, Sears.ca, and Sony.ca.