A.Topping: Just for the record: music shops that refuse to die

Rough Trade records, on Brick Lane. Photograph: Sarah Lee
Rough Trade records, on Brick Lane. Photograph: Sarah Lee

With his ears cocooned in huge shell-like headphones, Ewald Dupan bobs his head to the beat while flicking through 12-inch vinyls in Rough Trade Records in east London. Having saved for months, the 24-year-old teacher is here for two days from Brussels with the sole purpose of trawling independent record stops in search of hard-to-find gems. “You just can’t find records like this in Belgium,” he says. “Shops like this are for people who love music – the staff are knowledgeable and the records are rare.” But newly released figures reveal that Dupan – young, passionate about music and still prepared to pay for it – is one of a dying breed of people who still regularly go to record shops. Over a quarter of the UK’s independent music stores went out of business last year, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association. In the record store heyday of the 1980s there were 2,200 stores; by 1994 there were 1,200. Today only 305 remain. The shops, and their dwindling number of committed owners, are, however, refusing to go quietly. This Saturday, more than 50 independent record shops from across the UK, and thousands more worldwide, will team up with top independent labels for Record Store Day. With free in-store performances, signing sessions and exclusive buy-it-now-or-regret-it-later compilations and singles from bands such as the Smiths, Sonic Youth, Beck and Franz Ferdinand, it is a music junkie’s dream come true. The aim is to celebrate independent stores and highlight the role they play in finding, encouraging…

continue reading from source by Alexandra Topping

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