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Sainsbury’s to launch record label

By | Published on Thursday 2 November 2017

Sainsbury's Own Label

Having already proclaimed itself to be the UK’s biggest seller of vinyl records, Sainsbury’s is now launching its own vinyl-only record label. V.I.N.Y.L.R.E.V.I.V.A.L!

Launching in partnership with both Universal Music and Warner Music’s Rhino division, the new company will be called Own Label. Which seems like a shit name at first, then quite clever, then shit again.

But whatever you think of the name, the supermarket chain’s record company has managed to get itself going with a bit of credibility. It will launch with two compilations put together by Saint Etienne member and pop historian Bob Stanley, titled ‘Coming Into Los Angeles – A Taste of West Coast’ and ‘Hi-Fidelity – A Taste Of Stereo Sound’.

Using his pop history brain, Stanley told the FT of his involvement: “Growing up, one thing I loved about the record shopping experience was the number of high street shops where you could buy new releases – not only Virgin or Our Price but Woolworths, Boots, WH Smith’s. The opportunity to put new compilations in branches of Sainsbury’s was irresistible to me”.

Speaking to the BBC, he added: “I remember buying ‘Dusty Springfield’s Greatest Hits’, the one with a striking high contrast black and white cover, at Woolworths in Croydon. I knew a few of the hits, but that was the first place I came across songs like ‘Goin Back’ and ‘The Look Of Love’, life-changing songs. Those kind of compilations – where some of the songs are familiar, and the rest of the album is a revelation which can shape your tastes – I think are just as important as classic standalone albums like ‘Pet Sounds’ or ‘Parallel Lines'”.

I think the notion that teenagers are going to have their formative musical experiences buying his compilations at a supermarket might be getting a bit rose tinted about the whole endeavour. It was nice when people bothered going out to buy records though, wasn’t it?

Sainsbury’s Head Of Music And Books, Pete Selby, said of the plans to launch a label: “Our customers’ love of vinyl shows no sign of abating, so alongside the classics albums, we want to offer our shoppers something they won’t find anywhere else. Our exclusive Own Label records have been carefully tailored towards the inquisitive, cultured tastes of our customers, so we’re confident that they’ll love the sound of our new releases and our ever increasing vinyl range”.

Sainsbo’s began selling vinyl in March 2016, quickly claiming that it had gained an 8% overall market share (now reportedly down to 5%). It also claims just under 70% of the ‘grocery vinyl market’, by which it means it sells more records than Tesco. To date, the retailer has sold over 300,000 vinyl LPs. As we know from all and any press coverage of the vinyl revival, the wider market for sales of vinyl discs is around 600 billion per day and said sales are single-handedly saving the entire music business.