Despite the dramatic revival and upsurge in vinyl sales recently, there’s still no arguing that it’s a tough time to be an independent record store.
Heck, its even been difficult for the massive retail chains like HMV, so it’s no surprise to find the unfortunate increase of local record shops going under – what is surprising, is the form in which they’ve got to clear their wares.
Case in point: UK record store The Vinyl Emporium – formerly known as Liverpool’s famous music destination, Hairy Records – which is offloading its entire stock through online auction.
The defunct retailer has put up the store’s entire record library of approximately 15,000 titles for a starting price of £1,500 (about $AU 2,810) following an unsuccessful rebrand of the Liverpool store, as NME reports.
The eBay listing says that the 15,000 titles of ex-shop stock includes LPs, 12” singles, and used records from all genres “including Rock, Pop, Prog, Metal, Alt, Reggae. 50s, 60s, Beatles, Rolling Stones. Not a lot of dance,” and even throws in some old shelving.
The record treasure trove comes from Hairy Records, a former music haven that had drawn celebrity shoppers such as Noel Gallagher, Quentin Tarantino and The Zutons’ Dave McCabe, but underwent a rebrand to become The Vinyl Emporium in February 2012. [do action=”pullquote”]The defunct retailer has put up the store’s entire record library of approximately 15,000 titles for a starting price of £1,500[/do]
As a statement from owner and founder Spike Beecham on the store’s official website last year detailed the store’s closure.”As many of you are aware, Hairy Records was a haven for vinyl junkies in Liverpool and all around the world. We at The Vinyl Emporium were happy to keep that tradition going and loved every minute that we did just that,” read the statement, which arrived just weeks before the successful Record Store Day 2013.
“However the truth is, even though we were doing alright financially, circumstances concerning the property were beyond our control. This meant that we had to make the difficult decision of quitting whilst we were ahead,” the statement continued.
“The closing of any independent store is a sad day and a reminder of just how important it is to keep supporting them. When you believe the records on your shelves have their own unique tale to tell – not just about the music contained on it but the story of how it got there in the first place – then hopefully you will understand what an honour it has been to take on the legacy of one of the oldest record stores in the country.”
The eBay listing for what remains of the Vinyl Emporium has seen the reserve bid price for the record stock rising to £5,000 (approx. $AU 9,367) ahead of bids closing tomorrow (Tuesday 4th February) and urges that “you will need a truck to move” the record collector-worthy payload from the Liverpool shop’s storage lock-up.
It’s not the first time that a record store’s worth has appeared for sale online. Late last year Tim Derbyshire, the London proprietor of On The Beat Records, put his entire store – bricks, mortar, stock, title, and deed – up for sale on eBay, offering “a unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live the High Fidelity life.”
Despite offering £300,000 for his store, Derbyshire found it difficult to find a serious buyer for his record store, recalling the case of Pittsburgh resident Paul Mawhinney, who had been been struggling to offload his historic 3 million plus collection for years, but “basically, no one gives a damn.”
While such huge vinyl collections may be struggling to find a home, they’re not struggling for relevance. Sales of vinyl across the world have been booming, in the UK alone, it’s been at the highest they’ve been in a decade, with indie record stores experiencing a 44% boost in sales as a result, while Australian sales have nearly doubled in recent years as the US shows similar growth even as CDs and other formats experience a decline in sales.
(All Images: ruedevamp . Source: eBay)