Number of independent record shops in UK hits 10-year high

A demand for vinyl is credited with there being 122 more owner-run music shops than there were in 2014.
Number of independent record shops in UK hits 10-year high
A close-up view of a tightly packed rack of vinyl records. Many are covered in a plastic protective sleeve, but some have the dog-eared ends of their cardboard covers exposed. A hand is seen flicking through the different titles. In the background the wider shop can just be made out, with shelves and boxes packed with records visible. The shop has a thrown-together look.Getty Images

The number of independent record shops in the UK is at a 10-year high, according to an industry group.

The digital entertainment and retail association (ERA) said there are now 461 indie record shops in the UK – 122 more than 10 years ago.

By contrast, the number of shops physically selling music – such as supermarkets and specialist chains – fell by 8,000 compared to 2014.

It means just 8% of all music sales are now in a physical form.

The ERA’s 2024 Yearbook, containing statistics on the music, video and gaming sectors, found the UK music market was worth £2.2bn last year.

It attributed a massive proportion of this – 84% – to streaming subscriptions.

But it also found the demand for vinyl records increased for the 16th year in a row, with 6.5 million sold, taking overall sales above £170m.

It said 2.2 million of those records were sold through independent stores, and £110m of the overall sales were generated by older albums rather than new releases.

CEO Kim Bayley said: “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.

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

As part of an effort to focus on independent shops, the ERA holds a Record Store Day in April each year.

Elsewhere, Barbie was the most popular film to watch at home, EA Sports FC 24 was the best-selling console game and The Highlights by The Weeknd was the biggest album of the year.

Other notable findings included:

  • Video was the largest sector of entertainment, compared to gaming and music
  • 82% of people who stream video on demand used Netflix
  • Smartphones were the most common device for listening to music, overtaking in-car radio for the first time
  • The best performing song of the year was Flowers by Miley Cyrus

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Source: bbc.co.uk

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