At the beginning of the year, record stores big and small started noticing a difference between what they ordered and what they received in the mail. This became all the more noticeable when stores were shorted important and highly sought after titles for Record Store Day in April. Since then, the problem has only gotten worse according to some, and bands have missed their street dates entirely in the process, costing them countless dollars, but also chart positions, which means losing out on radio and television opportunities.
Record stores have long been an integral part of the music industry — not only as a place to purchase albums, but as a symbolic gathering space for music fans. While the development of MP3s, streaming and other digital technology has disrupted music retailers, some contend that the vinyl resurgence has all but made up for lost revenue. Yet, with countless popular and iconic record stores closing, it’s clear there’s more to the issue.
In this episode, we speak with three different musical gatekeepers about what gets them to lower their guard long enough to allow a band safe passage to the next level in their career. Joining us for the discussion is the founder of Kill Rock Stars, Slim Moon, Ken Cheppaikode of Dirtnap Records and Green Noise record shop, and Theo Craig, a well respected booking agent in Portland. Slim tells us how he was won over by Elliott Smith, Ken Cheppaikode tells us how White Wires ended up on Dirtnap, Theo speaks to the beauty of La Luz, and Portia and Slim co-tell the story of how Thao Nguyen made her way onto Kill Rock Stars.
At the height of the vinyl industry, over a billion units were being pressed per year in the United States. But, after the advent of the cassette and compact disc, vinyl production numbers dipped down into the hundreds of thousands. Now that vinyl “is back”, and production figures are back up in the millions, what does this mean for the music industry, exactly? For major labels, and their high-dollar re-issue box sets, its been a welcome source of “new” revenue, but for many of the independent labels, that kept the format alive throughout the downturn, this vinyl resurgence has resulted in longer wait times and lower quality product — at a time when demand for their product has never been higher.