Record Stores Are Facing the COVID-19 Crisis Head-On and Artists Are Stepping Up to Help

#LoveRecordStores campaign launches with Franz Ferdinand, Primal Scream, Paul Weller and more

BY Brock ThiessenPublished Mar 26, 2020

Like so many small businesses right now, the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting record stores hard. Many brick and mortar shops have closed completely in recent years as they struggle to stay afloat in an increasingly tough industry, with self-isolation lockdowns now only making matters even worse. But in times of trouble, people need music more than ever, and many stores in Canada and beyond are going above and beyond to make sure we can get it — pandemic be damned. Now the new campaign #LoveRecordStores has been launched to lend a helping hand.

Despite physical closures of most non-essential shops, many record stores across Canada, as well as the U.S., the U.K. and Europe, are still open for business — though via alternate means. Whether it's though their Discogs pages or via bike delivery, curbside pickup and mail order, stores are doing their best to keep their doors open — at least figuratively.

#LoveRecordStores is now hoping to lend a little more support, with the campaign being led by Jason Rackham of the [PIAS] group, which includes such labels as 4AD, Mute, Warp Records, Thrill Jockey, XL Recordings, Sub Pop and more.

In explaining the initiative, Rackham said the following:

Independent record stores have played a key role in supporting and developing artists and their music for decades, so now it is time for music companies and the artists they represent to step up and give something back. We must support these small businesses if they are to survive this crisis and at the same time we can still play a big part in helping them to continue to introduce their customers to new music. By speaking directly to their audiences about the importance of record stores and encouraging music fans to continue shopping with them online, artists can play a big part in helping secure the survival of this vital part of our industry.

A pile of artists have also already joined the campaign, including Paul Weller, who said, "I'd be lost without my favourite record shops; Rough Trade, Sounds of the Universe, Honest Jon's and all the other independents. Let's all keep them all going in this very strange time. Music will lift our spirits and soothe our souls. Love to everyone."

And while the campaign has so far been focused on the U.K. scene, here's hoping it kicks off here in Canada as well. After all, the message is a universal one.

Down below, you can see a selection of videos posted in the #LoveRecordStores campaign from a variety of artists, such as Franz Ferdinand, Primal Scream, Erol Alkan, the Twilight Sad and more. 

And more importantly, check in on your favourite local store. They need your help now more than ever.

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