Business News Labels & Publishers Retail

Labels instigate social media campaign to support record shops during COVID-19 crisis

By | Published on Wednesday 25 March 2020

Record store

A global initiative will launch on Thursday to help support independent music stores around the world, which – like grassroots music venues – are now under huge strain as measures increase to restrict and delay the spread of COVID-19.

The people behind the initiative say that “with many of these stores now experiencing a catastrophic drop-off in footfall or having already closed their doors there are fears that some may not survive if something is not done urgently to stimulate sales”. Artists and labels are being encouraged to take part in a social media campaign to help put the spotlight on music retailers, and to encourage fans to support those record stores online.

At the core of the campaign will be a series of videos featuring artists and celebrity music fans talking about their favourite independent music stores, and the acts, tracks and albums they discovered there. The videos will be used to encourage fans to continue to support their favourite and local record shops by ordering stock from their websites.

Jason Rackham, MD of [PIAS], who is leading what is being called the #loverecordstores initiative, explains: “Independent record stores have played a key role in supporting and developing artists and their music for decades, so now it is time for music companies and the artists they represent to step up and give something back”.

“We must support these small businesses if they are to survive this crisis”, he goes on, “and at the same time we can still play a big part in helping them to continue to introduce their customers to new music. By speaking directly to their audiences about the importance of record stores and encouraging music fans to continue shopping with them online, artists can play a big part in helping secure the survival of this vital part of our industry”.

The boss of the Beggars Group, Martin Mills, is also supporting the initiative. He says: “I started life in a record store. Record stores are incubators for great music, and for musicians. In these incredible times they can still serve up what you need, so please ‘visit’ them online, patronise them, support them and help them survive. We’ll need them on the other side”.

Among the retailers welcoming the campaign is Laura Kennedy, co-owner of Piccadilly Records in Manchester, who says, “Piccadilly Records has been around since the late 1970s and over the years we have faced lots of challenges, but nothing on the scale of what we face at the moment. It’s with a heavy heart therefore that we have closed our doors this weekend and it’s going to be tough”.

“Our website and mail order department are going to keep going as normal while the shop is closed and there are still plenty of records being released”, she adds. “We’ve all got difficult times ahead but if we all stick together I’m sure we’ll get through”.