One of the bright spots in music sales is the still growing love of vinyl. Events like Record Store Day fuel the boom as does the desire for tangibility in an age when digital media feels as cheap and insubstantial as tap water. Examples of the boom include the success of Jack White's Third Man Records, the growth of London's Independent Market Label and the emergence of one of many LA record stores Origami Vinyl.
Creative musicians, indie labels and record stores are all benefitting from the vinyl resurgence. Record Store Day is now both a symbolic and bottom line emblem of success for indie record stores that have dominated vinyl sales as well as for independent labels and related events.
The Third Man Rolling Record Store
Jack White's Third Man Records is both an instigator and successful recipient of vinyl love. Third Man's YouTube channel reveals their creativity while "600,000 pieces of vinyl" sold indicates their success. Says White:
"They're massively selling for vinyl...We have sold 600,000 pieces of vinyl since we opened three years ago. That's a lot of vinyl. The new singles, the 7 inches of my new singles from Blunderbuss — over 12,000 copies a piece so far, in the first month. The first White Stripes single, it took us two years to sell 1,000 copies."
London's Independent Label Market
Record Store Day's success in England along with rising vinyl sales likely helped inspire the Independent Label Market. Currently taking place in London but "taking over the world," the record fair features vinyl along with a wide range of unique merch.
LA's Origami Vinyl
Origami is a "Vinyl Record Shop + Label" based in Echo Park, California. The shop was founded by Neil Schield in the wake of his unwilling ejection from the music industry via Sony's CONNECT. Selling some of his parent's old vinyl to a yard sale, he was surprised at the response:
“I was shocked by the number I sold...Partly because I didn’t know how many people would still be interested in [vinyl]. So I started joking around about owning my own record store, and that joke sort of became a rekindling of the dream.”
Launched in 2009, Origimi has found a solid 400 square feet niche. Schield does all the buying and the store represents not only his love of vinyl but that of an impressive array of customers.
Going Beyond Vinyl
Of course, for some people, the glory days of the vinyl resurgence are over and it's all mainstream from here. For some, even the cassette revival is stale. Good thing Nintendo Cartridges and Fisher Price Toy Records are making a comeback.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith blogs about business at Flux Research: Business Changes and about dance at All World Dance: News. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.