CDs, vinyl, and record stores are under COVID-19 stress. Can they survive?

In my world (albeit a very small one), record stores perform an essential service. But in the interests of crushing COVID-19, we’re on a war footing when it comes to retailers that need to stay closed.

Record stores are among the many businesses that are getting eviscerated by the current economic conditions. What can be done to help them ride out the storm?

There’s a new initiative called “Love Record Stores,” an international campaign that urges fans to go online and share a post tagged with #LoveRecordStores to explain what indie stores mean to them.

This obviously won’t bring enough money through the doors, but it will help some via mail order. And at the very least, it’ll offer moral support. Read more here.

A knock-on effect is the overall decline in physical sales. CDs and vinyl are already running more than 30% behind where things were last year–and 2019 was lousy.

People are starting to ask the question: Can CDs and vinyl survive all this? From Billboard:

“Most music retailers that spoke to Billboard said that they can continue to cover their payroll and rent for weeks — but not months. And if too many physical stores are wiped out, will labels continue to manufacture physical products? ‘That is the great unknown,’ says Dean Tabaac, who runs Alliance Entertainment’s indie distribution arm, AMPED. ‘We are all in new territory.’

Before the weekend of March 21, at least 120 U.S. record stores had closed because of a government mandate or social concern about spreading the virus. Some are selling music online, and a few others are offering curbside pickup.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “CDs, vinyl, and record stores are under COVID-19 stress. Can they survive?

  • March 27, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    One local store in Nanaimo asked for lists of items people are looking for, and offering delivery during these times.


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