Independent Music Shops Celebrate Record Store Day Amid Supply Chain Delays
Dec 02, 2021

Independent Music Shops Celebrate Record Store Day Amid Supply Chain Delays

Reporting Texas TV

AUSTIN, Texas — Vinyl record fans celebrated an extra holiday last week as Record Store Day returned for Black Friday.

“It’s really great being able to celebrate the cool, indie-record-store-only releases that come out on Black Friday,” said John Kunz, the owner of Waterloo Records.

Record Store Day started in 2007 to promote the revival of vinyl records and boost revenue at independent record stores. In its 14th year, Record Store Day has become an internationally recognized event that draws exclusive releases from dozens of superstar bands.

This year, 157 exclusive records launched on Black Friday, including work from artists such as Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac and U2.

The revenue generated from Record Store Day does more than support the stores. Kunz said 38% of each dollar spent at local businesses stays in the community. This means sales made on Record Store Day help support Austin’s music scene

He also believes independent record stores contribute more to the city’s music culture, as artist signings, listening parties and music-obsessed employees are standard at indie stores.

“That’s building and fostering the culture and community of music in Austin, Texas, the live music capital of the world,” Kunz said. 

However, some shoppers may have been surprised to find their favorite albums out of stock.

Eve Monsees, the owner of Antone’s Record Shop, said the record industry has been impacted by the supply chain backup, and stores can not restock in-demand records.

“A limited number of record pressing plants exist and there’s materials needed for that. With supply chain issues, it is causing delays, but it’s also because there’s so much demand right now,” Monsees said.

According to Forbes, vinyl record sales spiked to 27.5 million units sold in 2020,  an increase of 10 million units sold over 2019, and the continuation of a decade of rapid resurgence.

Vinyl records sales have increased rapidly over the past 10 years, with 2020 marking the highest sale volume in almost three decades. (Graphic: Statista)

Six months ago, Mike Nikolai opened Love Wheel Records. He said that although he’s new to the business, he has noticed the impact of the supply chain holdups.

“If you get stuff in lately, and it sells out then you want to reorder it, it takes a long time. We just order other stuff, and people find stuff. We’re doing the best we can with it,” Nikolai said.

Shoppers browse the vinyl record selection at Love Wheel Records. Since opening six months ago, owner Mike Nikolai said he’s struggled to keep popular records in stock. (Photo: Jack Starks)

Despite the added stress of high demand, most record store owners are happy to see vinyl records on the resurgence.

“People like to have something physical in their hands,” Monsees said.

“It’s that excitement of holding a record, looking at the artwork, reading the liner notes and knowing that you’re supporting the artists and a local business that’s really helped keep record stores alive.”

Despite the resurgence of vinyl records, physical music sales have been declining as more listeners switch to digital platforms. (Graphic: Angry Mob Music Group)