The Canterbury Hub

Latest news from CCCU's Journalism course


Independent record store numbers reach a 10-year high

The number of independent record stores in the UK has increased to a level not seen in 10 years.

It shows that record stores can still be successful even with streaming platforms dominating the way music reaches fans.

The figures were released earlier this week by the ERA, the digital Entertainment and Retail Association.

According to the research conducted by ERA, the number of independent record stores nationwide increased from 339 in 2013 to 461 at the end of 2023. That is a 36% increase.

Despite this increase, the number of stores selling physical copies in the UK has hit an all time low. In 2013 there were 10,391 outlets that sold music; today, there are just 2,486 – that’s a 76% decrease.

Nick Pygott, owner of Vinylstore Jr in Canterbury, believes vinyl is being ‘accepted’ again and the business is very ‘healthy’.

Vinylstore Jr, Canterbury

“It’s a positive and it goes to show how far vinyl has come in terms of just being mainstream and normal and accepted again. It no longer feels like a niche enterprise or a labour of love.”

He added; “There are record shops still cropping up anywhere and that has to be a sign that the industry is healthy.”

Chains such as WH Smith and Urban Outfitters have included selling records in their shops as well as the resurgence of HMV back in Oxford Street.

A worker at Sounds Records believes that selling physical copies of music “takes away from the grimness.”

He added; “It’s a form of realness and escapism, a ritualistic approach not a fast-food approach.”

Sounds Records, Canterbury

It was also revealed that 2023 was the 16th consecutive year of vinyl sales increasing in the UK. This was aided by the fact that pop stars such as Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey promote their physical copies of work heavily to their fans.

A particular reason that independent stores are on the rise is because of the growing popularity of Record Store Day, that is happening on the 20th April 2024.


Feature image: Unsplash