Indie record stores hit ‘10-year high’ as physical music sellers shrink 80%

Independent record stores across the UK have hit a 10-year high, according to new research.

The Digital Entertainment and Retail Association (ERA) said indie record stores had “shrugged off” competition from supermarkets and streaming services, finding that indie record shops in the UK hit 461 in 2023, compared with 339 in 2014.

ERA research also found that the total number of physical outlets which sell music in the UK has declined over the period from 10,391 to 2,486.

The association also noted that a key factor in the resilience of High Street stores had been the vinyl revival, with its ERA Yearbook revealing that vinyl sales reached £177.3 million in the UK in 2023, nearly seven times higher than in 2014.

“Despite largely being run by owner managers, indies have seen off competition from some of the largest and best-funded companies in the land,” said ERA chief executive Kim Bayley. “Couple this with the remarkable return of HMV, now back in its Oxford Street home, and it shows that despite the overwhelming success of music streaming, many music fans of committed to the high street physical music buying experience.”

HMV returned to Oxford Street last November after a 24-year absence. The retailer has since partnered with tech firm FIS to support its expansion in Europe by rolling out new omnichannel technology.

At the time, HMV said the partnership would support the retailer in improving its omnichannel strategy across 34 countries and provide a “consistent customer experience across the retail landscape”.

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