Ten years ago, there were more than 1,000 independent record stores in the UK, although by 2007, there were only 408. The news has only gotten worse in the last two years, with trade association the Entertainment Retailers Association reporting that the number has since slipped to around 300.
The news isn’t all bad, apparently: Because mainstream music retailers in the UK are disappearing quicker than indie stores, there might be some market left to capture. Cue industry rep describing how important her clients are to society!
Kim Bayley, director general of the ERA, said that “anyone who believes in British music must fear for the future” of independent record stores. “Independent record stores are an essential part of the UK’s unique musical culture. They are at their best a heady mixture of unofficial youth club, cultural centre, recruitment agency for musicians and music education centre. They recommend new music and they nurture new artists,” said Ms Bayley.
The count of independent record stores that the ERA provides makes me wonder how many there are in America at this point. It seems like the stores that have made it this far are in for the long haul, finding ways to make their business model work, but who knows how long that will last?
UK independent record stores in a spin [Telegraph]