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Blighty Beat
INDIE STORES ON THE RISE
3/6/24

Independent record stores in the U.K. have hit a 10-year high of 461 outlets in 2023 as vinyl sales reached £177.3m, nearly seven times higher than a decade ago.

Indies have dramatically increased their share of the physical music market, representing 23% of the total, according to figures in the ERA Yearbook. While the indie sector is growing, the number of physical outlets selling music in the U.K. has declined to 2,486 from 10,391 in 2014.

“In an entertainment market always full of surprises, this is in a class of its own,” ERA CEO Kim Bayley said. “Despite largely being run by owner managers, indies have seen off competition from some of the largest and best-funded companies in the land. Indies have found their niche and they are here to stay.”

Physical formats for entertainment accounted on 8% of revenue while digital formats—everything from music streaming to Netflix-style video services to downloaded games—pulled in 92% of the cash.

“Whilst supermarkets and other large retailers have gradually shifted focus from physical music, independent record stores have picked up the ball and ran with it, adapting to meet the market gap and capitalizing on growing fan demand.

“Record stores provide a unique space for music lovers to listen, collect and engage with their favorite artists in a way that taps into superfandom, and co-exists alongside digital streaming,” said Drew Hill, Deputy CEO at distributor Utopia Music. “It remains crucial that we continue to provide unbeatable service to thriving record retailers to maximize potential and ensure their bright future.”

The ERA Yearbook can be accessed here.