Defunked: only 10% of vinyl record stores remain in the UK


VINYL record stores in Scotland face extinction as 90% of stores have closed under pressure from digital downloads.

Glasgow council is now being asked to help save the industry by publicising a day to celebrate record stores’ contribution to the music world.

Figures show there were around 2200 independent record shops in the UK in the 1980s but now there are only around 280.

Only around 10% of the UK's record stores remain from their popularity in the 1980s (pic: Knipsermann)
Only around 10% of the UK’s record stores remain from their popularity in the 1980s (pic: Knipsermann)


Iconic stores such as One Up in Aberdeen have already been forced to close its doors with the Avalanche store in Edinburgh just managing to cling on to survival.

Even huge chains such as HMV not been immune to the problems facing record stores.

Campaigners are now calling for more publicity of Record Store Day on April 20 – supported by Sir Paul McCartney and Damon Albarn – to save Scotland’s vibrant music culture.

Later this week Green councillor Liam Hainey will ask Glasgow bosses to support Record Store Day.

He said publicising the event would “support the city’s independent record stores and their valuable addition to our city and recognises the significant benefits more generally that small local business brings to the culture and economy of Glasgow”.

In a motion to the full council Mr Hainey also called on his cross-party colleagues to “recognise and applaud the contribution independent record shops throughout the city have made to the music scene for which Glasgow is world renowned and celebrated, as recognised by our status as a Unesco city of music”.

Stephen McRobbie – frontman of Scottish indie band The Pastels – is part owner of Monorail Music in Glasgow.

He said: “It’ll be good if the city council gets on board and recognises the event and what we do.

“It’s our busiest day of the year – a real family event and gets people coming back into record shops.

“What’s different about us is you get a good level of expertise, we’re friendly and approachable, the shop’s nicely curated and we pay our taxes.”



Sandy McLean, owner and manager of Love Music Glasgow, said: “It’s gratifying to be noticed by the city council for our hard work in a challenging market.

“With the music business going through such huge changes, only the shops that were strong enough, and clever enough to adapt to the changing conditions have managed to survive.

“A large part of our business is focused on local artists; we actively encourage their releases and promote them as a priority. We’ve shifted some decent quantities of local acts too.”

Stuart Braithwaite from rock band Mogwai said: “The independent stores in Glasgow have had a massive impact on the life and culture of the city.

“People travel to Glasgow specifically for them. And they’re not just shops but cultural hubs. It would be wonderful if the council and Marketing Bureau could publicise the event.”

Among those supporting Mr Hainey’s motion will be former culture minister and administration councillor Frank McAveety.

He said: “We’re a weekend destination city. Our record stores could be marketed alongside the west end, gig venues, vintage clothing shops as something which we offer.

“There’s no doubt about it, record stores are a community, they even foster talent and are worthy of our backing.”