'We're certainly not short of ideas': Bob Stanley on Sainsbury's vinyl ambitions

'We're certainly not short of ideas': Bob Stanley on Sainsbury's vinyl ambitions

Sainsbury’s has expanded its exclusive vinyl range including its first artist release following the “overwhelming” reaction to the supermarket’s imprint.

Saint Etienne member and music writer Bob Stanley has curated the LPs in partnership with Warner Music/Rhino and Universal Music.

“Universal and Warner have both been great,” said Stanley. “I just come up with a dream tracklisting and they usually come back and say, ‘No, you can’t have Fleetwood Mac or Madonna!’. We’re certainly not short of ideas, so maybe we’ll start looking at different catalogues – that’s down to other record companies.”

Stanley said last November’s launch compilations of classic songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s on Sainsbury’s Own Label imprint each sold out their 1,500 run within weeks.

“They did really well, it kind of caught everyone by surprise,” he said of Sainsbury's contribution to the vinyl revival.

The latest batch of Own Label releases, which appeared in stores in time for Father’s Day (June 17), includes Videosyncratic (A Taste Of Synth Pop).

“That stuff was formative for us,” Stanley said of the 20-track, double vinyl synth pop compilation he curated with Universal. “OMD have always been a big influence, the first two Human League albums were very important for us. It was a very adventurous period that I still go back to a lot.”

We’re delighted with how well the initial Own Label releases were received last year

Pete Selby

Sainsbury’s has also released an exclusive Hank Marvin collection, Throw Down A Line (A Taste Of Hank Marvin).

“That’s the first time we’ve done a single artist,” said Stanley. “It’s going across his career and picking out things that aren’t just The Shadows’ greatest hits again. It’s a lovely opportunity that’s not the obvious stuff – and it looks great.”

Pete Selby, Sainsbury’s head of music and books, told Music Week that the positive reaction to the range benefits the entire physical music market. Supermarkets had an 8% share of the vinyl market compared to last year, according to ERA.

“We’re delighted with how well the initial Own Label releases were received last year – both from a sales perspective but also the nationwide media interest that they generated,” he said. “It was quite overwhelming. We don’t look at these things in isolation – any positive PR we can generate for either vinyl or CD formats can only be a good thing for us and the market.”

The vinyl revival has also been helped by initiatives such as Record Store Day.

Sainsbury’s has plans for further releases through to 2019. “We’ll keep expanding the series as long as customers want them,” said Selby.

“We’ve got enough titles to take us up to Christmas,” added Stanley.

The supermarket has also expanded its vinyl footprint with 380 stores now stocking a range of popular and enduring LPs. Its biggest-selling title is Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours with more than 12,000 copies sold.


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