Celebrate Record Store Day! What can we all learn from the independent comeback?

Paperback Writer (PR is everything)

How many independent record stores have you ever seen an advert for? There's no value in it. We know that every store we've found has come from two things, word of mouth or inventive PR. If you want people coming through your doors, and talking about you outside, make sure you're worth talking about.

"Our mantra is 'Do what Amazon can't do'," Jamie Freeman of Union Music Store told us. "Amazon can't do free in-stores on Saturday, we can. They can't sell union goods, we can. They can't put on a gig for a supporting band that just came off an Elvis Costello tour, we can. They can't put together a space where people can meet up and do the human stuff, so that's what we concentrate on."

All Things Must Pass (Don't give up)

Recently, things didn't just look bad for independent record stores, they looked deadly. In 2006, 900 independent record shops thrived across the country. Then the market was smashed by the brute force of internet shopping and, by 2011, just 269 independents remained.

But, those that persevered are enjoying the return of the independent. As the retail giants stuttered, independents saw profits rise again and any brand that had stayed alive was in the best position to profit.

Can't Buy Me Love (Cheap isn't everything)

The last few years have shown us that, when it comes to music, most customers don't just want cheap products, they want free products. With that in mind, making money in the industry can be very difficult.

On the other hand, the rise of independent record stores is proving that there are people who are willing to pay more for a product they love, and shops are learning how to sell directly to them. If you make something special, you won't have to market it as cheap to be successful.

"People come into the shop and say, I know we could have got this cheaper somewhere else, but I wanted to buy it from a record store," Freeman said. "And that's brilliant."

From Me To You (Sell something people love)

And that's the most important thing to take from this resurgence. People love music. They love music that sounds great and looks great in their house too. If you sell what people want, have passionate staff in your shop and sell in an innovative way, you'll survive on the high street.

Pie & Vinyl Record Cafe in Southsea is the perfect example of this. Guess what they sell? You got it. Pies and Vinyl. Who isn't more likely to buy a record while enjoying great home cooked food?

Penny Lane (Love local)

HMV isn't the only big chain to be suffering lately. Tesco has been smashed with bad PR while Comet was forced into closure. Across the retail industry, consumers in every sector are finding their love of local once again.

All the extra products and events Union Music Store puts its energy into and all the brilliant reviews of Pies & Vinyl Record Cafe are brilliant at creating a reputation for the kind of place people want to go close to home. Every independent shop should feed off this, don't just be a local shop, love being a local shop.

Come Together (Work as a team)

When things were bad for independent record stores, they could have divided and tried to go it alone. Instead, we have Record Store Day. At some point, you have to stop viewing your competitors as the competition and realise that, if you have something great to sell, you'll do it better together. People will love the atmosphere you make in the process.

Record Store Day is a fantastic example of an industry coming together for the greater good. It's provides a platform every independent store to sell itself. This year, there'll be live music events going on in-store across the country, hundreds of exclusive releases and an excuse for everyone to celebrate local stores and dig out some long ignored records.

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