Tesco is convenient. We've all been in one at some point or another, even if it was a little begrudgingly, opting for it over the local businesses for ease of life. Once they start offering up convenient and cheap records for the masses, record stores won't be able to compete. We've seen this sort of thing time and time again. Remember in 2011 when Bristol locals incited a riot over the opening of a new Tesco in the area for fear of what it would do to local business? And there's no reason to think it will be any different for the vinyl market. Even if you think you'll never be pulled in and always remain true to your local record store, many won't. Tesco will continually undercut them on price, because they can, leaving people to pass by in look for a cheaper deal.
Records are 'cool' again and people's interest in them is great. Many are flocking towards them, but not always towards particularly decent ones. No one cares about your obscure Ethiopian jazz 7" from 1993, they want the big hits. (Urban Outfitters is already proving that one for us.) And what Tesco can't offer us is uniqueness, individuality or variety in their products. As anyone who has been in the CD section of a supermarket should know, it is a graveyard of dullard indie bands and forget-me-now soul singers.
If Tesco's plan works they will try to force-feed us the dreariest music imaginable. They won't offer us the specialists with a vast musical knowledge behind the counter, the small run releases from the DIY labels, or the intimate in-store performances. All the things we could lose if the supermarkets try to bully the competition into deterioration and a distant memory. But, the one thing that they will never have is loyalty. There is stilll a thriving community of vinyl buyers who will always shop local, using the record stores as a place to meet, talk and celebrate music both new and old, and it might just be strong enough fend off the coming onslaught from Tesco. Every little helps indeed
Check out our 100% Vinyl series to watch DJs playing in the record store that means the most to them. Apollonia below, more here.
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