This Saturday (April 13), over 200 independent record shops across the UK will celebrate Record Store Day 2019 with a host of one-off special releases, artist performances and events. Even The Mighty Boosh and Pearl Jam have signed up to be official ambassadors of this year's blockbuster event. Suffice to say, then, that life for its official co-ordinator, Megan Page, is about to get extremely busy.
In our new issue, Page speaks exclusively to Music Week about a host of key issues – including the growth of both the event and vinyl format itself.
“We have 250 lined up which is the highest in the event’s 12-year history,” Page told Music Week. “The fact that Record Store Day is still helping the independent sector grow in size is the most important barometer of success to me. In terms of improvement, it’s always a work in progress but one key thing we’d like to achieve is having fewer releases. Ultimately, that’s about asking our record label partners to think more carefully about only putting forward their strongest and most compelling titles.”
One key thing we’d like to achieve is having fewer releases. Ultimately, that’s about asking our record label partners to think more carefully about only putting forward their strongest and most compelling titles
Megan Page, Record Store Day
Rewind to 2008 – one year after RSD launched – and there were just over 75,000 vinyl albums sold in indie record stores the UK. Last year, however? Sales reached 1.2 million units in indie stores. Moreover, the total spend on vinyl surpassed £91m in 2018, up 4.1% year-on-year. While recent studies have suggested growth is slowing down due to capacity issues, Page remained bullish about the future of the format…
“Vinyl has had more than 10 years of steady growth so I don’t think it’s a surprise that at some point things would start slowing down,” said Page. “If you compare the capacity issues and bottlenecks at plants only three years ago, you will see how far the manufacturing industry has come in bringing new presses on stream to alleviate the pressures. I’m not concerned. We are seeing more retailers entering the vinyl market and a younger generation engaging with the format which are two very reassuring signs.”
One of the other things Page addresses was the potential role CD and cassettes could have going forward in RSD.
“We’d definitely welcome the idea of more CDs being a part of RSD,” added Page. “Yes, CD sales are declining but there is still a big chunk of the population who buy CDs and I think it would be a shame if the industry did not to cater to those. The media and music industry have done a pretty good job of declaring the CD dead that it may well just become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Let’s make the product cool again and it might just co-exist quite happily alongside vinyl and streaming.”
You can read Music Week’s round-up of some of the key RSD 2019 vinyl releases here.
The new issue of Music Week takes an in-depth look at the world of physical music. For our cover we speak to new HMV owner Doug Putman about the future of the high street retail giant. Elsewhere, we speak to Record Store Day co-ordinator Megan Page to get the lowdown on this year’s event, Frank Carter stresses the importance of indie record shops and small venues to artists, we take the pulse of the vinyl market and look at the growth of cassettes.