01.05.10 Music Week 3
Third annual event buoyed by a host of live activity and exclusive releases
Record Store Day hailed a success as indie takings rocket fourfold Retail By Ben Cardew
Saturday superstore: 800 fans queued outside Rough Trade East to secure their RSD exclusives…
ENTERTAINMENT RETAILERS ASSOCIATION director general Kim Bayley has called on record labels to support independent music stores with exclusive releases throughout the year, after the success of Record Store Day 2010.
The third Record Store Day took place around the world on April 17, with more than 150 stores in the UK taking part.
High-profile exclusive releases from acts including Blur, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles led to an 800-strong queue outside London’s Rough Trade East before the store opened, while physical singles sales through the indie sector were up 450% weekon-week and 96% on last year’s RSD week. Physical album sales though indie stores were up 9% week-on-week and up 11% on last year’s RSD week.
Rough Trade East store manager Spencer Hickman, who coordinates Record Store Day in the UK, says these figures may actually understate the surge at the tills, with sales at his store up 633% week-on-week. And this was by no means limited to London: the Drift Record Shop in Totnes, Devon, reported sales up 300% on the average Saturday, while Avalanche in Glasgow said it had its second-highest takings in its 13-year history.
“RSD has grown so much over three short years,” says Hickman. “It could end up being one of the biggest music celebration days on the calendar. It is about engaging the customers and getting them back in the whole year round.”
“Record Store Day has grown so much in three years… it could end up as one of the biggest music celebration days on the calendar” SPENCER HICKMAN, ROUGH TRADE EAST
This ripple effect will be key for Record Store Day in the future. Hickman says some punters from last year’s RSD have now become regular customers at Rough Trade East, while Bayley says she would like to see the achievements of RSD replicated throughout the year.
“As ERA we would like to see something more than one day of the year,” she explains. “There is a great enthusiasm for collectible vinyl, for example. There is the potential for labels to do this for more than one day a year. We are
Best intents US retail giant comes to UK
Best Buy has confirmed it will offer “a substantial music section” when it launches in the UK. The US company, which is an important music retailer on the other side of the Atlantic, opens its first UK store in Thurrock, Essex, this Friday (April 30). Stores in Southampton and Merry Hill will follow, with the company predicting it will create 5,000 jobs in the UK over the next five years. The company says it does not wish to give specifics on what will be on sale in Thurrock “but there will be a substantial music section”. Napster could also be set to benefit from Best Buy opening here: the US company bought Napster in 2008 and also owns a 50% stake in Carphone Warehouse’s retail interests.
…while at Rough Trade West, bands including The Magic Numbers entertained the public
thinking about how we can get people coming back to these stores on other days.”
Hickman says he will also start talking to labels about offering exclusive releases all year round when he gets back from holiday. However, the question remains as to who would manage these releases: Hickman oversees RSD on a voluntary, unpaid basis, while the Coalition of UK Indie Stores – a group of 25 leading independent record store across the UK which has previously shared exclusives – has been less active of late.
“A lot of people don’t live near [The Coalition] stores,” Bayley adds. “The plan is to introduce what The Coalition does across more stores.” Bayley explains ERA could lead this initiative – but only if indie stores want them to.
Despite the undoubted success of Record Store Day there was grumbling from consumers about some of the exclusive releases ending up on eBay: the limited Blur seven-inch Fool’s Day (pictured) is currently available on the site for up to £250, despite being made available as a free download from the band’s website blur.co.uk.
Hickman says customers reselling releases is very difficult to control. However, organisers have acted against stores who put stock directly on eBay, with three UK stores now banned from future Record Store Days for “diverting stock from regular sale”.
“The whole point of Record Store Day is to highlight the close relationship between indies and music fans. Any stores which abuse that relationship have no place in Record Store Day,” Hickman says.
Attention now turns to next year, with possible plans including sponsorship for the UK event; introducing ways to reward shops’ regular customers and a website where customers can swap RSD releases in a bid to beat eBay. firstname.lastname@example.org
THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC www.musicweek.com
NEWS SATURDAY SUPERSTORES Record Store Day 2010 hailed a huge success as sales at indie shops rocket
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Cautious optimism as BPI publishes first rise in annual trade income for seven years
Music’s revenue slump turns a corner
Figures By Ben Cardew
DOWNLOAD SALES, THE SUCCESS OF MUSIC DVD and the proliferation of new digital music services helped the UK’s music industry to turn around a lengthy slump in trade income last year, with revenue up 1.4% to £928.8m.
The newly-published BPI figures represent the first rise in annual trade income since 2003, when revenue increased by just over 1% to £1.223bn. However, BPI CEO Geoff Taylor strikes a note of caution about the increase, which he says should be considered in context.
“Obviously it is encouraging that after several years of decline we have some growth,” says Taylor. “But it would not be appropriate to look at this and think it signals anything other than a stabilisation
Against this, revenue from download sales was up 51.7% to £154.0m. In value terms, this was a yearly increase of £52.5m, far outstripping leaps of £29.9m from 2007 to 2008 and £46.4m from 2006 to 2007
track downloads was up 52.5% yearon-year, while income from digital albums grew 54.2% to £67.3m. Download video sales were stable at £3.0m.
Among the physical formats, trade income declined 6 1% to
“We have gone from being a one-product business to being a business that has many tens of different revenue streams...” GEOFF TAYLOR, BPI
from Michael Jackson and Take That led income from music DVDs to a surprise increase of 16.1% to £33.1m.
One key factor in the resilience of recorded media was price: while the BPI figures do not go into this area, recent research from the competitive market out there. The supermarkets and the online retailers are very aggressive in their pricing. Consumers benefit from a competitive market for music, but it means that margins are very tight for labels.”
New digital services such Spotify dominated the headlines in 2009 and this was reflected in the BPI figures, with income from adsupported services up 247.0% to £8.2m, while revenue from subscription services increased 37.2% to £11.8m. Combined, however, the income from both is still little over 2% of total revenue.
Taylor explains that, while these figures may be modest, they show how the music industry is diversifying its revenues. “We have gone from being a one-product business to being a business that has many tens of different revenue streams ” he says
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