It’s fair to say that the last year has continued to be turbulent for everyone – not least record shop owners. However, the inspiring resilience and dedication shown by record shop owners and staff has really shone through bringing music lovers (and people in general) closer together in their local communities at a time when they needed it most.
Last year, the magnificent resurgence in vinyl popularity showed no sign of slowing down, with UK vinyl sales hitting their highest point in over 20 years. And in the US, vinyl became the most popular physical format for the first time since MRC Data/Soundscan records began, making up more than 50% of all physical sales.
This unprecedented growth is a testament to the commitment of independent record shops in championing the art of the physical album format.
This month, Behind The Counter returns for a third series to celebrate the unique culture and heritage of independent record shops from across the UK and United States. The new series visits twelve of each nation’s best loved independent record shops, shining a light on the passionate and committed owners playing a vital role in bringing music fans together in their local communities.
The new series transports you into stores across the UK and US, meeting store owners and staff from Glasgow to Manchester, New Orleans to New York City to discover how the record-loving community has adapted and rallied together to play their part in the vinyl revival.
From store owners championing local music heritage, to shops asking regulars what they want to see on the shelves, the series uncovers how record shop culture has become “a collaboration between hundreds of people” (Ben Soothill, Wax & Beans) to help the scene thrive in the face of challenging times.
The community spirit displayed in the new series of Behind The Counter is constantly reflected all over the world and is a consistent thread throughout the whole series, and an important reminder of the instrumental role that independent record shops play in their local community.
What is abundantly clear is that independent record shops are much more than simply a place where people come to buy music. Rand from Fingerprints Music in Long Beach put it best, record shops “act as a cultural epicentre” for people to come and connect through a shared passion for music and culture.
Over the past two years, the global pandemic has forced people across the world into lockdown, staying inside and being cut off from friends and family. But according to Rand, with people turning to the solace of their music collection there has been “so much rediscovery of music as a place to comfort yourself.” This rediscovery of music has led to an explosion in interest from people “wanting to broaden their music collection at home.”
New episodes of Behind The Counter will premiere every Tuesday (UK) and Thursday (US) in the build-up to Record Store Day on 23rd April on our YouTube channel and across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The first three episodes of the new series are now available to watch here.