This week Ontario based music chain Sunrise Records announced it will move into 70 stores left empty by the closing of all 102 HMV Records.
“We think there needs to be a great outlet across Canada to buy music.” – Doug Putnam, Sunrise Records president
Does Putnam know something the rest of don’t? Compact disc sales fell 19 per cent to 12.3 million units last year, according to data compiled by Nielsen Music Canada. Meanwhile, on-demand audio streams experienced dramatic growth, rising 203 per cent to 22 billion streams, helped by services like Apple Music and Spotify.
However, Nielson figures show vinyl sales jumped 29% last year and growth remains steady this year.
Sunrise plans to add board games, themed toys and pop culture items from music and film to its selection of vinyl, CDs and DVDs to appeal to a wider audience. It also plans to increase its CDs by 50% and carry at least 2000 titles of vinyl at each location.
Personally, I welcome this move by Sunrise Records. I come from the era when buying music meant actually going to the record store and purchasing physical copies -record, cassettes and CDs- of the music you were looking for. I have great memories of going to the record shops. It was a whole experience. You step into the store and get hit with that wonderful aroma of new vinyl and CDs (yes, there really was a distinct smell), you hear music that the staff chose that day pumping through the in-store sound system. And you’d look for your favourite artist or just look and see what catches your eye. That was the best thing, finding something you weren’t necessarily looking for, that rare import copy of a release or maybe a remix you didn’t know existed. Much of today’s shopping has lost that fun and satisfying experience.
“A lot of the younger consumers still love having something tangible” – Doug Putnam, Sunrise Records president
I really hope Mr. Putnam is correct in his vision and that people will support him and return to buying music the way it once was – a fun adventure.