Scott Reid: Audio industry hopes records keep spinning

With Record Store Day being held tomorrow, Scott Reid looks at the fortunes of the audio industry. Picture: Ian Rutherford

With Record Store Day being held tomorrow, Scott Reid looks at the fortunes of the audio industry. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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It has been described by one music industry insider as “the single best thing that has ever happened” for independent record shops.

A decade on from its inception, Record Store Day has snowballed into an annual celebration of everything vinyl-related.

Genuine music fans have often struggled to get their hands on exclusive releases

This year’s event takes place tomorrow, with more than 200 record shops across the UK participating in an official capacity, while hundreds more attempt to cash in on the resurgence of interest in a music format that pre-dates the digital era by several generations.

• READ MORE: Kevin Buckle: Record Store Day – the clue is in the name

The initiative has been hailed as a saviour of the music retailing industry, helping to keep alive scores of independent stores and providing a shot in the arm for record labels battling the streaming onslaught.

Others have rounded on the annual bash for becoming too commercialised, while genuine music fans have often struggled to get their hands on exclusive releases that are snapped up by speculators hoping to make a fast buck from an auction website.

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The vinyl renaissance has also seen new pressings pop up in the most unlikely of places, from major supermarket chains to fashion retailers and bargain book stores, despite the venerable format accounting for just a fraction of overall music sales.

Riding on the coat-tails of what could yet prove to be just another fad are the manufacturers of the gear essential for playing back all those lovely 12-inchers. Several British hi-fi brands such as Rega and Scotland’s very own Linn Products owe their existence to the record.

• READ MORE: Boomtime for Scots audio firms catering for the hi-end

So it is heartening to hear of the current success at the latter business, founded in the early 1970s at the height of vinyl’s reign with a single product – the now iconic Linn Sondek LP12 turntable. Thanks to the record revival, the firm has flogged more than £8 million of record-spinners over the past three years.

And there appears to be little sign of a slowdown in the current financial year with the deck continuing to generate strong revenues. Indeed, turntables now account for more than a fifth of the Glasgow company’s global sales – the highest it’s been for 30 years.

Linn’s MD, Gilad Tiefenbrun, son of LP12 creator Ivor, will be hoping the needle stays firmly in the groove when it comes to record buying, though the forward-thinking boss has also positioned the firm at the cutting edge of digital technology. A case of heads you win, tails you win.

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