Number of UK independent record shops hits 10-year high

Aprilia Rine

Number of UK independent record shops hits 10-year high

The number of independent record shops in the UK has hit a 10-year high, according to new industry findings.

The digital entertainment and retail association (ERA) has said that there are now 461 indie record shops in the UK, which is 122 more than 10 years ago (via BBC).

The ERA’s 2024 Yearbook (published today, March 6), which contains statistics on the music, video and gaming sectors, also found that the UK music market was worth £2.2billion last year. 84 per cent of this was attributed to streaming subscriptions.

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The number of shops physically selling music, however – like supermarkets and specialist chains – fell from 10,391 to 2,486 in that period.

The demand for vinyl records, meanwhile, continued to increase for the 16th year in a row. With 6.5million sold, it took overall sales above £170million.

People attend the annual Record Store Day events in London on April 13, 2019.Record Store Day is an annual event inaugurated in 2008 and held on one Saturday every April, to celebrate the culture of the independently owned record store. The day brings together fans, artists, and thousands of independent record stores across the world (CREDIT: Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

2.2million of those records were reportedly sold through independent stores. Other findings included that £110million of the overall sales were generated by older releases.

CEO Kim Bayley said in a statement: “Despite largely being run by owner-managers, indies have seen off competition from some of the largest and best-funded companies in the land.

“Indies have found their niche and they are here to stay.

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“It shows that, despite the overwhelming success of music streaming, many music fans remain committed to the high street physical music buying experience.”

The findings come after UK vinyl sales reached their highest levels since 1990 in 2023.

Taylor Swift‘s ‘1989 (Taylor’s Version)’ was the best-selling album of the year, followed by The Rolling Stones’ ‘Hackney Diamonds’.

In the US, meanwhile, one in every 15 vinyl records sold in 2023 was by Swift.

This year’s Record Store Day will take place across the UK on Saturday, April 20, giving fans the chance to buy special one-off collectable releases on vinyl, cassette and more from hundreds of artists.

The 1975, David Bowie, Daft Punk, Blur, Lily Allen, Gorillaz, Elton John, Paramore and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds are among artists taking part. You can check out the full list of releases here.

This week David Byrne also announced that he is covering Paramore’s ‘Hard Times’ for Record Store Day 2024.

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