Published Apr 09, 2009As Record Store Day gets set to throw its second annual shindig, some rather startling numbers have come out regarding the state of the independent music sector in the UK. According to British trade organization the Entertainment Retailers Association, barely 300 independent music stores are left in the UK, down from 408 in 2007 and more than 1,000 ten years ago.
Of course, an increase in digital download sales are pointed to as a key factor in the closures, as are supermarkets entering the UK music market and the economic downturn in general, the Telegrapher reports.
However, it doesn't appear to be all doom and gloom, and the ERA says that independent retailers are beginning to see a revival, due to picking up sales once captured by now-defunct chain stores. Stephen Godfroy, a director at Rough Trade Retail, told the newspaper that the independent record store sector is "going through a process of renewal," and that the Rough Trade shop in London's East End has seen sales climb ten percent compared to last year.
"Like any other sector, music has a number of outdated outlets that have not moved with the times and are caught between two ends of a polarised market," Godfroy said, adding that music retail has become too "commoditised" over the years. "[In Rough Trade] we are celebrating music culture. When you walk into the store you are not hit by a price message, you are captured by an exciting atmosphere."
It's unclear just how many independent record retailers remain in the U.S. and Canada but it's hard to imagine them faring much better than their UK counterparts.