BY eight o’clock tomorrow morning there will likely be about 150 people queuing up outside Love Music Glasgow, ready to take their pick from 500 limited releases being distributed for the tenth Record Store Day.
Shop owner Sandy McLean said that if it wasn’t for the success of Record Store Day over the last decade, and its role in what he calls the “great vinyl revival” his business would not have survived.
The event was launched in 2007 in the US to celebrate independent music shops who faced the huge threat of the emerging ecommerce market, which was beginning to dominate sales of compact discs (CD).
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It quickly became a global success, a celebration of the very culture of buying music, and each year collectors eagerly await the limited releases distributed specifically to independent shops.
“Without Record Store Day I don’t think we’d be here,” said Mr McLean. “It came along at a very good time and it is a very big part of getting the vinyl revival going. It made people appreciate collectability and taught a new generation the excitement of coloured vinyl or a picture disc.”
Love Music is one of 200 shops across the UK officially involved with the event, but it is not just retailers which have benefitted. East Renfrewshire-based hi-fi business Linn has sold £8.5m worth of record players in the last three years.
The company’s managing director, Gilad Tiefenbrun, said this is the highest sales volume the company has ever seen from record players.
Mr Tiefenbrun’s father Ivor is celebrated around the world for the creation of the Linn Sondek LP12 turntable.
Having initially launched in 1973, Linn has already sold £250,000 worth of LP12 players in its current financial year.
And thanks to the recent upsurge in popularity of vinyl, turntables now account for more than 20 per cent of Linn’s global revenues, the highest level for 30 years.
According to figures from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), 3.2 million vinyl records were sold in the UK last year, up 53 per cent on 2015. It was the highest number in 25 years.
Back at Love Music, Mr McLean is getting preparing for what is comfortably the shop’s busiest day of the year.
He is expecting high interest in a 7” single from The Beatles, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Penny Lane / Strawberry Fields Forever double A side; and three new releases from David Bowie.
But Mr McLean said that while major record labels and their artists had embraced Record Store Day 75 per cent of the limited releases came from independent record labels.
When asked what was behind the vinyl revival, Mr McLean said: “MP3s have zero presence, literally. There’s no sexiness and you can’t look at someone’s MP3 collection. The whole physicality of vinyl has been tremendous at opening people’s eyes.”
Last year the first person in the Love Music Glasgow queue arrived at 6am on the Friday morning, a full 26 hours before the doors opened.
“We went through 1,500 carrier bags last year, which tells you how busy it is,” said Mr McLean. “There are five of us serving constantly until the queue goes down, which won’t be until around 2pm.”