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News |  02 Apr 2020 12:01 |  By RnMTeam

Campaigns done by artists, labels amid COVID-19 shut down

MUMBAI: With the shutdown and outbreak due to COVID-19, a number of artists and labels are using their platforms in social media by doing campaigns to help protect the sector’s survival.

According to the report, the most high-profile campaign so far is #loverecordstores, a global, social media-led initiative that’s asking musicians, actors and celebrity music fans around the world to post short video messages about their favorite record shops and encourage their followers to buy vinyl and CDs from shuttered shops' online stores.

Elton John, Paul Weller, Keane, Rick Astley, Peter Gabriel, Franz Ferdinand, Kurt Vile, and Brittany Howard are among the artists that have already backed the campaign. Indie labels Matador,
Heavenly Recordings, Acid Jazz, Domino, 4AD and Mute have also posted messages of support on Instagram and Twitter.

“I’ve been really taken aback by how people have embraced it,” says Jason Rackham, managing director at PIAS U.K., who was behind the idea for the campaign while working from his London home. “In the past few days, it’s really grown wings."

“Record stores have been under pressure from the growth of online physical sales and streaming music. Nevertheless, due to the continuing demand for physical music formats -- particularly vinyl --, U.K. indie record stores remained at a 10-year high in 2019 of 425, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association, a U.K. trade organization. Independents were the only physical music store category not to see a decline in numbers last year”, the association said.

Although devised and launched in the U.K., Rackham tells Billboard that #loverecordstores has a global focus. Since the campaign’s launch on Mar. 26, he says he’s been inundated with messages of support from managers and labels from across the international music industry and that many more big-name artists -- “some in the upper echelons of global superstardom” -- have vowed to post personal #loverecordstores messages in the coming days.

“Record stores are often local, cultural and social hubs in many towns and cities around the world,” he says. “People have relationships with record stores like they have relationships with friends or their favorite radio station... They’re a really important part of the overall global music economy that, like a lot of small businesses, are very vulnerable at the moment. This felt like the right time to fire off a flare and see if people took the warning.”

Beggars Group founder and chairman Martin Mills has voiced his support for the scheme, calling record stores incubators for great music, and for musicians. He is calling on music fans around the world to continue supporting their local store online throughout the coronavirus shutdown. “Help them survive. We’ll need them on the other side”, Mills said.

Also launched Monday (Mar. 30) is #recordstoreoftheday, a separate U.K.-focused campaign backed by trade bodies British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the Association of Independent Music (AIM) and Entertainment Retailers Association, which will shine a daily spotlight on one of the country’s many indie record stores on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Starting Monday with Banquet Records in Kingston, around 30 stores are lined up to take part, including Brighton’s Resident Records, Newcastle’s Reflex and London’s Sister Ray.

The #recordstoreoftheday initiative has been devised by a consortium of U.K. music distributors, including Cargo, Forte Distribution, Kudos Records, Little Amber Fish, Nova Distribution, The Orchard, PIAS, Proper Music Distribution, Republic of Music, Shellshock and SRD.

Indie record shops have faced the double blow of the postponement due to coronavirus of Record Store Day from April 18 to June 20, and now the closure of their stores, says Record Store Day U.K. marketing manager Megan Page. “Now more than ever we should be finding ways to support them.”

“We will get all our shops back open as soon as it is safe to do so. But in the meantime, stay healthy, and settle for the second-best option of online ordering” adds Nigel House, co-owner of Rough Trade.