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Hooray for Vinyl: Number of Indie Record Stores in the U.K. Highest in a Decade

In addition, the demand for vinyl records rose for the 16th consecutive year.

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Both Paramore and Kate Bush are ambassadors for Record Store Day this year.

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As unimaginable as it might’ve been a few years ago, the number of indie record stores in the U.K. is higher today than it has been at any point in the past decade.

The data, which was reported in a BBC article, comes from the Digital Entertainment and Retail Association (ERA), which said that there are – as of this writing – 461 indie record stores in the U.K., which is 122 more than there were 10 years ago. Interestingly, the number of stores physically selling music has actually fallen by 8,000, but that’s because the figure includes stores that don’t exclusively sell music, such as specialist chains or even grocery stores.

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Record Store Day Afters will allow participating record stores around the world to sell exclusive items online.

Mind you, the association also determined that a mere 8% of all music sales occurred in physical form, with 84% being attributed to streaming subscriptions, but it also indicated that the demand for vinyl records rose for the 16th consecutive year, with 6.5 million sold and 2.2 of those being purchased through indie stores.

“Whilst supermarkets and other large retailers have gradually shifted focus from physical music, independent record stores have picked up the ball and ran with it, adapting to meet the market gap and capitalizing on growing fan demand,” said Drew Hill, Deputy CEO of Utopia Music, which oversees the U.K.’s largest distributors of physical music. “Record stores provide a unique space for music lovers to listen, collect and engage with their favorite artists in a way that taps into superfandom, and co-exists alongside digital streaming. It remains crucial that we continue to provide unbeatable service to thriving record retailers to maximise potential and ensure their bright future.”

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It's fair to say that one of the biggest - or certainly one of the most consistent - reasons for the significant sales figures when it comes to vinyl is Record Store Day, which takes place annually in April, and its sister event, Record Store Day - Black Friday, which takes place on the last Friday in November.

As it's described on the event's official website:

"This is a day for the people who make up the world of the record store—the staff, the customers, and the artists—to come together and celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role they play in their communities. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day. Festivities include performances, cook-outs, body painting, meet & greets with artists, parades, DJs spinning records, and on and on. In 2008 a small list of titles was released on Record Store Day, and that list has grown to include artists and labels both large and small, in every genre and price point. For several years, 60% or more of the Record Store Day Official Release List came from independent labels and distributors. The list continues to include a wide range of artists, covering the diverse taste of record stores and their customers."

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