PIAS MD Jason Rackham has told Music Week that the Love Record Stores retail promotion can give the sector a much-needed boost.
Love Record Stores is an online-focused promotion that takes place on Saturday, June 20. Rackham launched the initiative with support from fellow indies and retailers including Drift Records, Resident Music and Friendly Records. HMV is also part of the initiative.
“The event on June 20 is about helping drive revenues in the stores,” said Rackham. “There's over 130 stores [plus HMV] involved in the event and we have 91 limited edition special releases now confirmed to come out on the day, including artists such as Oasis, Radiohead, Nirvana and Arctic Monkeys.
“Some really significant global acts have contributed to the event. So, yes, it's about driving revenues and helping the stores.”
The promotion include a 24-hour virtual in-store featuring live performances, DJ sets, interviews, readings and more from a wide range of artists and music industry figures. The line-up includes Fontaines DC, Craig David, Circa Waves and John Grant, as well as event ambassador and current Music Week cover star Tim Burgess.
“He just felt like a completely culturally natural person, so we reached out to him,” said Rackham. “Tim was incredibly enthusiastic, he's just a tour de force. He said, ‘Let me know what I can do for you, I really want to help.’ Record stores are genuinely important to him. He has a history and credibility, he has relationships with stores all over the world. It felt completely natural that he would be our ambassador for the event.”
The retail initiative has evolved from the #LoveRecordStores social media campaign, which launched in March featuring posts and footage of artists including Elton John, Paul Weller and Kate Tempest discussing their favourite record shops.
“There’s a movement of altruism now, where people want to help each other,” said Rackham. “It felt like we were in a very positive place, and it really gathered pace.”
Labels and trade bodies then came out in support of the campaign.
“It really felt that we had gone from being an artist-driven, quite punk rock social media activation to having the backing of all of the industry’s trade parties,” said Rackham. “We felt vindicated with what we were doing.”
Labels will also benefit from the boost for physical music. Indies involved include Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, Dead Oceans, ATO Records, Heavenly Recordings, Transgressive, Mute, Play It Again Sam, Speedy Wunderground, Partisan Records, Memphis Industries and Chrysalis.
“It has given them a campaign and a movement to mobilise behind, which is then giving a platform for their artists and for them as label brands,” said Rackham. “They are curating a whole day of online music activity and audiovisual content, which is going to be pretty spectacular. And, again, from a revenue point of view, it’s hopefully helping support their business as well.”
Make sure to check out our latest blog posts! Find out stories of the record stores. Let’s support these stores as they provide a vital role in the global music ecosystem. Click here to read more https://t.co/pbvwFT8na4 ?? #LoveRecordStores pic.twitter.com/zpdEuTTqte— Love Record Stores (@LoveRecsStores) May 19, 2020
With the postponement of Record Store Day for a second time until later in the year, Love Record Stores stepped in with the retail plan for June 20.
“It’s obviously a little confusing that it’s happening on the same day as the originally rescheduled RSD, but we’re not going to sniff at anyone motivated to drive sales to record shops,” said Natasha Youngs, co-founder of Brighton-based Resident Music.
“[Love Record Stores] were already geared up to support this day and rather than just let it go, they have got behind it as a way of keeping up momentum behind our shops and keeping customers engaged, like the RSD Fill The Gap campaign did so successfully on the original April date.”
Youngs said the limited edition product on offer was a “very welcome surprise and one that us indies will certainly be able to get behind”.
“My take is it's positive,” said Jon Tolley, co-owner of Kingston-based Banquet Records. “The more people talking about record shops and these releases, the better. We saw a huge spike on the date for which RSD 2020 was planned from bands and labels shouting about supporting record shops. We're appreciated, and it's touching.”
Noreen McShane, of Stranger Than Paradise Records in Hackney, said: “I think any campaign that sets out to highlight the importance of record stores across the country and gives further support can only be a good thing. I hope the public won’t find it confusing, but more of an added, urgent message to get behind their favourite stores, as we need their help more than ever. Numerous key album releases have been put back until late autumn or even next year. As a store owner, having the LRSD limited releases in June will be very welcome.”
Rackham is cheered by the embrace from indie retail.
“We've got a really good feel for where the stores are at in the current climate, because they're involved in this campaign and playing a big part of this campaign,” he said. “So it feels like what we're doing is actually making a difference.”
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