Number of physical music stores reached all-time high in 2014

According to a new report, supermarket and generalist retailers stocking CDs and vinyl for the ‘impulse market’ meant the ways customers could access music hit an all-time high last year

News stories may often emphasise the rising popularity of streaming services and the decline of the CD sale, but according to a new report, there have never been more ways to access physical copies of music in the UK.

A study published in the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) Yearbook on 24 February claims that 2014 saw record highs for outlets selling CD and vinyl products. The association stated that the number of physical outlets selling music increased by 20.4% to 10,391. It also reported that stores selling video grew by 18.8% over the previous year to reach 10,500 while the number of games outlets grew by 1.3% to 5,665.

“This is an extraordinary result which means that UK consumers have a greater choice of outlets from which to buy music, video and games than ever before,” ERA CEO Kim Bayley said. “From specialist chains and independents, through to supermarkets and fashion stores, to internet retailers, download and streaming services we can all now access music, video and games wherever or whenever we want.”

However, it’s not quite time to celebrate the great revival of the independent record store: the study states that the key reason for the growth in the number of physical outlets selling entertainment is “an increase in the number of supermarket convenience stores and generalist retailers like Wilko, BHS and Matalan selling limited ranges of music and video aimed at the impulse market”.

As well as vinyl sales rising, subscription-streaming sales climbed 65%, from £106m to £175m, according to BPI estimates.

“Ever since the birth of UK entertainment retailing in 1921 with the opening of the first HMV in London’s Oxford Street, entertainment retailers have proven themselves to be innovators,” says Bayley. “Thanks to the groundbreaking technology and heavy investment of a new breed of entertainment retailers offering access services, we are witnessing a revolution in the entertainment industry, benefitting consumers, creators and content owners alike.”

ERA acts as a forum for the physical and digital retail sectors of music, and represents over 90% of the of the UK’s entertainment retail market.


Harriet Gibsone

The GuardianTramp

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