Independent record shops in the UK are to be given a boost, with the launch of the first chart to reflect their sales.
The Official Record Store Chart will be made up of sales from around 100 independent record shops across the UK, such as well-known London shop Rough Trade, and Eastern Bloc in Manchester.
The new chart is being launched to coincide with Record Store Day, which celebrates the vibrancy of independent record shops in the UK.
Official Charts Company Managing Director Martin Talbot said in a statement: “Independent record shops are more important than ever in helping introduce music fans to new, interesting music. We very much hope that the Official Record Store Chart will serve to harness the focus created by Record Store Day and help maintain it week in, week out, through the year.”
Last year independent record shops accounted for 4.4 per cent of physical albums sold in stores—more than 2.5 million albums—but were disproportionately responsible for 95.8 per cent of all vinyl albums sold.
Vinyl has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, with collectors heralding its “warm” sound and sheer physicality when compared to CDs and MP3s. In 2011, sales of vinyl albums increased by 43 per cent year on year, to a six year high of 389,000 copies. This is, though, a drop in the ocean compared to the pre-CD days of 1975, when vinyl sold 91.6 million albums.
It’s a trend spearheaded by artists like Radiohead, whose “The King of Limbs” was the biggest selling vinyl album in the UK in 2011.
Big sellers so far this year via independent shops include Lana Del Ray’s “Born to Die”, Leonard Cohen’s “Old Ideas”, and Bruce Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball”.
Rupert Morrison, manager of The Drift Record Shop in Devon, said in a statement: “The Official Record Store Chart will be a fascinating insight into the musical identity of these fine independent institutions … and of course the people that frequent them!”
The Official Record Store Chart will launch on Friday, April 20 at 5 p.m. on the Official Charts website, and every week following that at 7 p.m. on Sundays.