Give us a brief history of Record Collector… A brief history of the store is really a brief history of me. I was manager of, I think, the sixth Virgin shop to open in the UK. That was in around 1972 and I ran it for five years. We did a good job for Virgin but I never lacked the belief that I could run a successful record store and that I was capable of doing it on my own, which is what happened. I opened Record Collector in
the summer of 1978 and I’ve been here for a third of a century. We have a history of having celebrations at certain points in the shop’s life. For instance, our 20th
celebration happened to coincide with Gomez being discovered in the shop. They were students in Sheffield, they dropped off their demo tape with a guy who worked for me, we saw their potential, he believed in them, went on to become their manager and they
went on to win the Mercury Prize. There must be something in
the water in Sheffield, particularly in an area near us called Crookes. Obviously The Crookes came from Crookes, along with Joe Cocker and Paul Carrack. Soon after I opened, one of
our first customers was an 18- year-old Joe Elliot, the singer of an unknown local band called Def Leppard. He was looking to send a cassette to record companies and I advised him to make his own single. He followed that suggestion and they went and pressed their first EP.
When everyone talks about the decline of the indie record retailer, those kind of stories are what people are trying to preserve… That’s what outlines my beliefs on the value of record shops. They’re not just places that sell records, they’re hubs and
magnets for fans and musicians in the immediate area. Had we not existed, there’s a possibility that a band who weren’t quite confident about whether they were any good or not might have ended up with something like the Gomez story going in a different direction. We have aided and abetted millions of pounds going through the industry because we did our job of attracting and spotting the good guys and going on to help them with our taste and knowledge of music. We do like to help people along as well as earning a living.
How was Record Store Day for you this year? The same thing happened this year as happened last year. I turned up early and found a queue snaking down the road. There was about 400 people in the queue.
“Record shops aren’t just places to sell records,
they’re hubs and magnets for fans and musicians in the immediate area”
BARRY EVERARD, RECORD COLLECTOR
That kind of image is a thing of the past for a lot of the store owners that we talk to… If you get the stock in, they’ll come. With Record Store Day, everyone knows it’s limited and a one-off. I love the buzz, it reminds me of the olden days at Virgin when Led Zepplin or Yes would have an album and you’d see a similar queue of people waiting to get the first copy. Back then, the only way to get something like that was from a store. A lot of record store guys just
run off enthusiasm. We’re worried about the cultural loss that would come with music
Owner: Barry Everard
disappearing from the High Street. We’re willing to take a risk financially in the hope that there’s a turning point for physical music retail.
Is there anything else that the industry could be doing to help independent record stores? Warner recently had a campaign where they put people like Neil Young and Little Feet to budget. We racked them on the wall and suddenly they sold like they were chart titles. We could do a lot more on
back catalogue if there were more campaigns like that. If we became more budget and mid- price back catalogue stores where people could find a bargain, companies could get volume turnover and we could make a living and get happy customers, I think we’d have a way of keeping music on the High Street.
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