Record Stores Aren’t Dead Yet

For those that may not be aware, actual buildings still exist where one can enter and shop for music, hold the medium in their hands, and ask for helpful suggestions by the human that’s being paid to work there.

We are living in a time of transition, no doubt. Physical sales of music are dropping at astronomical rates and it makes sense that a lot of record stores (or record shelf-space) is going away. But I’m not here to spout off 37 different statistics about said decline. I’m here to remind that said stores are not dead.

This past Saturday, April 18 was Record Store Day. Here’s a quick numerical recap from Billboard.com:

“The numbers are in and Record Store Day produced a nearly 1% gain – to 566,000 for the week versus 561,000 from the corresponding week of the prior year – in U.S. album sales for the indie store sector, according to Nielsen SoundScan. While that may seem meager, it comes off as strong considering that U.S. album sales were down 15% last week to 6.3 million from 7.5 million in the corresponding week for the prior year.” Read the full article here.

Record Store Day was the idea of a guy named Chris Brown, an employee of Bull Moose, a chain of 10 record stores in Maine and New Hampshire. 2009 marked it second year, and according to NARM.com, was celebrated by over 1,000 record stores this year.

Here’s a telling video from where I celebrated Record Store Day in Nashville, at a packed-out Grimey’s. This is The Avett Brothers (one of my favorite bands), performing “Paranoia in B Flat Major.”

Record stores are not dead.

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