D-day for London’s record stores

And the date is 25th of November, next Monday.

What happens? Rough Trade, “the iconic London music retailer that spawned Rough Trade Records and served as a cradle for post-punk music in the late 1970s” (as says Billboard), is opening a whopping, 15,000-square-foot music store in New York City. Yes, 15,000 square feet! It is massive, three times bigger than its biggest store in London.

RTW_SHOP

Façade of Rough Trade West / Image from the Rough Trade website

On the other hand, that is the last day to make an offer to buy On The Beat Records shop on eBay. Tim Derbyshire opened it in 1979 in central London, just off Oxford Street, and he has now put his whole business up for sale, including the vinyl records in it. Its price is £300,000, in case you’re interested and have got a spare change in your pocket. It has got 46 offers as I write these lines.

So, what’s going on with record shop owners? Why are they going in such opposite ways?

Rough Trade says that between 2007 and 2012 record sales increased by 88% in Britain and that vinyl is more popular in America too, with sales going from $23 million to $163 million in the same period. They are hugely enthusiastic about taking their brand overseas.

Derbyshire says his store, a place where you can find from ’60s psychedelia to ’90s grunge, needs new blood, someone younger to take it on, and not particularly worried about profit. His eBay description specifies it: “If you’re at the stage in your life when you don’t have to worry about making money but can live the bohemian life, meet interesting people every day and the occasional pop or rock star, here’s your chance to take over the oldest record shop in the centre of Swinging London”.

$T2eC16JHJF0FFZ317BzNBSb!YlNFNQ~~60_12

Façade of On The Beat Records / Image from the bid page on eBay

Is it about marketing strategies? Management? Being up and running in the World Wide Web? Is Derbyshire too low profile? Or is Rough Trade too confident?

Let’s see what comes next… In this meantime, if you are a record fan as I am, don’t miss the RECORD STORE DAY! It’s next Friday! Get a new needle for your record player and put your records on!

(If you wish to experience different music, the Portuguese version of this post presents links for Brazilian songs.)

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