Vinyl ‘exclusives’ becoming bane of music sales - Kevin Buckle

Taylor Swift - The Eras TourTaylor Swift - The Eras Tour
Taylor Swift - The Eras Tour
Avalanche hosted the Scottish regional Record Store Day debrief on Monday attended by shops, record companies and the Entertainment Retailers Association who organise Record Store Day.

Rather than going over old ground of complaining there are too many releases and they are too expensive, the main point I wanted to make was that RSD was meant to be a day to bring people into shops and was not meant to be linked to limited vinyl.

My idea was to have limited edition T-shirts and prints that could be ordered in advance and collected on Record Store Day.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This meant that not only would the customer visit the shop more than once but the shops would know what were definite orders and could then add extra stock as they felt necessary.

Both shops and ERA seemed to genuinely like the idea, while the record companies were more wary as it would generate more work for them, and given they do not always own the rights to the images, it would not always be straightforward.

There is, however, a much bigger problem with just focusing on vinyl and that is that every week now sees limited edition vinyl “exclusive” either to independent shops or retail, and that will only be the start of it, with the artists and labels then having their own versions.

To compound the problem a shop or online site will be given their own special version that will become the preferred version for many fans.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Online sellers often talk of building up a community, which is disingenuous to say the least. All they are doing is building up a mailing list of fans that already exist and were in many cases created by shops.

This, of course, is also what happens with newer shops who build up an online presence, not by introducing new people to an artist but by stealing fans from other shops.

In the old days shops could try to build up business physically and online by being competitively priced, but now strangely pricing is not seen as very important. It is not unusual to see some shops selling for £5 or more than others, when in the Nineties, for instance, selling a new release CD for £8.99 rather than £9.99 would make a huge difference in the number of sales.

Bizarrely what came out at the meeting is that record companies still really care about chart placings at a time when the public and especially younger customers have lost all interest.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Having a number one single used to be huge and now since the inclusion of streaming and downloads it means nothing.

Giving a chart-registered online seller a limited format that will sell out will certainly boost initial sales, but in reality it does no more than take sales away from elsewhere.

Consequently, now with just a few high-profile exceptions Record Store Day is record companies and labels raiding their archives, while anything current is saved for themselves to release over the course of the year.

Record Store Day has had the Taylor Swift single and then the Taylor Swift album. A Taylor Swift T-shirt next year would do the trick.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.