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Independent record shop numbers rise to 10-year high

‘Indies have found their niche and they are here to stay’

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Marc Wathieu / Flickr & Mick Haupt / Pexels

The number of independent record shops in the UK have risen to a 10-year high, according to an industry group.

Those were the days; when you’d lose a couple of hours just browsing through music, old and new, and buying some of the best songs created by great artists to add to your collection at home. Especially when the shop assistant seemed impressed by your music of choice and would even strike up a knowledgable conversation about it.

Well, despite the changes that come with technology and modern times, it seems independent stores have managed to brush aside the competition from streaming services, supermarkets and chains, according to the digital entertainment and retail association (ERA).

Marc Wathieu / Flickr

It confirmed there are now 461 indie record shops in the UK which is 122 more than there were 10 years ago. In contrast the total number of shops physically selling music in the UK has declined over the period from 10,391 to 2,486.

It means that indies have dramatically increased their share of a shrinking physical music market which now only accounts for 8% of overall music sales.

The ERA’s 2024 Yearbook, containing statistics on the music, video and gaming sectors, found that in 2014 indies represented just 3% of music outlets, whereas in 2023 they represented 23% of the total. It also revealed the UK music market was worth £2.2bn last year.

Jimmy Broklesby, 24, works at an independent music store in Frome, Somerset.

Mikey / Flickr

He told the BBC: “The sales of vinyl are pretty consistent and [have] obviously gone up for us over the few years. But in the week for us CDs are our predominant selling product.

“More of it gets released than I think people are aware of: reissues, anniversary editions, special variants, and all these kinds of things do bump up the quantity that we sell.”

He said the store gets many customers who’ve been buying vinyl since the 60s, but it also saw ‘a much younger crowd that are really into artists like Olivia Rodriguez and The 1975’.

Mick Haupt / Pexels

Also speaking to the BBC was TikToker Bethan Currie, 28, who creates videos showing off her collection of vinyl records. On why she prefers to shop for music in this form, she said: “It’s not about just listening to music, it’s about the actual act of going out to find that album that you really want to find.

“There’s a really big vinyl collecting community on TikTok and it’s really lovely. I think it’s also a social thing, people want to show off what they’ve got and talk about music that they like on TikTok.”

ERA CEO Kim Bayley said: “In an entertainment market always full of surprises, this is in a class of its own. 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.

PxHere / stock photo

“Couple this with the remarkable return of HMV, now back in its Oxford Street home, and it shows that despite the overwhelming success of music streaming, many music fans remain committed to the high street physical music buying experience.”

A key factor in the resilience of high street stores has been the vinyl revival. The ERA Yearbook reveals that vinyl sales reached £177.3m in the UK in 2023, nearly seven times higher than in 2014.

Ms Bayley added: “It was high street stores who first identified resurgent demand for vinyl and they have succeeded in holding on to a disproportionate share.”

@bethanlikesvinyl / TikTok

A particular factor for indie stores has been the rise of Record Store Day, which is the annual celebration of indie record shop culture. It’s a national day controlled by indies themselves and run by ERA – with this year’s edition of Record Store Day taking place on Saturday April 20th.

Elsewhere, Barbie proved the most popular film to watch at home in 2023 with 770,000 retail and rental transactions. EA Sports FC 24 was the best-selling console game and The Highlights by The Weeknd was the biggest album of the year.

Other insights included:

  • Video was the largest sector of entertainment, compared to gaming and music
  • 82% of people who stream video on demand used Netflix
  • Smartphones were the most common device for listening to music, overtaking in-car radio for the first time
  • The best performing song of the year was Flowers by Miley Cyrus

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Man arrested after mum pushing pram stabbed and killed in broad daylight

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder

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West Yorkshire Police

Police have arrested a 25-year-old man wanted for the fatal stabbing of a woman while she was pushing her baby in a pram in Bradford.

Police have arrested a suspect, following the murder of Kulsuma Akter, 27. Akter was stabbed several times in the Westgate area of Bradford city centre on Saturday afternoon. 

The mother was rushed to hospital, where despite the best efforts of medics, she sadly succumbed to her injuries. Her baby was unharmed in the incident.

It has also emerged that suspect, Habibur Masum, was on bail for assaulting and threatening to kill her at the time of the attack.

West Yorkshire Police

Masum was conditionally bailed by Manchester Magistrates’ Court in November, despite prosecutors objecting to his release, it is understood.

Court documents show Masum, whose address was listed as Oldham, Greater Manchester, was charged with assaulting Ms Akter on November 23rd and threatening to kill her on November 24th.

Both incidents are alleged to have happened in Greater Manchester. Police had previously confirmed the couple were known to each other but have not confirmed their relationship. 

Masum attended a hearing on November, 27th 2023, where he pleaded not guilty to both offences and was ordered not to contact Ms Akter, it is understood.

West Yorkshire Police

His bail conditions also prevented him from contacting a second person, or visiting a particular address.

Greater Manchester Police has said it is supporting West Yorkshire Police with the ongoing murder investigation.

Both forces have referred themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct watchdog over previous contact with Masum and Ms Akter.

Detective Superintendent Jude Holmes, from GMP Oldham district, said: “We share the shock and concern that our communities feel in the wake of this tragic incident, and our thoughts are with Kulsuma Akter’s family at this truly distressing time.

“Habibur Masum is wanted by West Yorkshire Police on suspicion of murder. Due to his links to Greater Manchester, we have our specialist officers following several lines of enquiry to locate him.

“I urge members of the public to remain vigilant, and if you have any information on his whereabouts, call 999 as a matter of urgency.

“Due to previous police contact with Habibur Masum and Kulsuma Akter, Greater Manchester Police has made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.”

Police have arrested a 25-year-old man on suspicion of murder. A 23-year-old man was also arrested in Cheshire on suspicion of assisting an offender.

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Hunt for murder suspect after mum pushing pram killed in broad daylight

It is not clear whether is Masum is armed as police warn not to approach him

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West Yorkshire Police

Police are searching for a man from Oldham after a mum was stabbed to death in Bradford while pushing her baby in a pram.

Habibur Masum, 25, is wanted over the attack which took place in the Westgate area of Bradford at 3.21pm on Saturday (April 6th).

The victim, a 27-year-old woman, suffered multiple stab wounds and was taken to hospital where she sadly died of her injuries, West Yorkshire Police said.

West Yorkshire Police

The force also confirmed the baby was not harmed in the attack as the public is warned not to approach Masum.

It is understood Masum was known to the victim although police have not confirmed their relationship at this time. A knife was found at the scene but it is unclear if he is armed.

Masum was pictured on CCTV wearing a grey hooded, zip-up coat with three large horizontal lines of grey, white and black on it, grey tracksuit bottoms with a black logo and burgundy trainers. 

West Yorkshire Police

A witness also reported seeing him wearing a grey hoodie with the hood up shortly after the incident on Westgate, at the junction with Drewton Road.

Masum is from Oldham and is believed to have links to Burnley and Chester. He is described as an Asian man, of slim build.

Detective Chief Inspector Stacey Atkinson said: “We have had significant resources following up a number of lines of inquiry to locate Habibur Masum but at this time his whereabouts are unknown.

“I would urge anyone who does see him not to approach him but to call 999 immediately.”

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She said the death of such a young woman in the ‘most awful circumstances’ will ‘understandably cause concern in the local community’.

Detective Chief Inspector Atkinson Added: “I would like to reassure the wider public that we are working tirelessly to investigate this horrendous crime and bring the person responsible to justice.

“To help us with this we are urging anyone who was in the area who may have dashcam footage or seen or heard something, however small it may seem, to please come forward.

“A scene remains in place which includes some road closures and I thank the public for their patience while we conduct our enquiries.”

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Man arrested in murder investigation after human torso found in Salford nature reserve

A man in his 20s is being questioned by police

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@gmpolice / X

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a human torso was found wrapped in plastic in a nature reserve in Salford.

As detectives continue to investigate the discovery of human remains found by a passerby on Thursday, April 4th, a man in his 20s from Salford was taken into custody on Saturday evening for questioning, Greater Manchester Police say.

DNA testing is being carried out to determine the identity of the victim, who is believed to be a male ‘likely to be aged older than 40’ and ‘has only been deceased for a matter of days’, officers say.

@gmpolice / X

GMP says it is conducting a thorough search of the area by utilising local officers and specialist branches including search dogs and assistance from underwater search teams, to help comb the site.

The force says although it has ‘not found anything else that is of interest to the investigation’, ‘work will not stop’ until it is certain the area has been thoroughly searched.

Chief Superintendent Tony Creely, of GMP’s Salford district, said: “The arrest we made yesterday evening is an important step for our investigation, but we must keep an open mind and a big part of this is speaking to anyone who may have crucial information.

“As we continue to work in the area, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the public for their concern and cooperation so far, and we are mindful this is a disturbing incident for the local community, but I can assure you that since we were made aware, we’ve been pursuing every single line of enquiry to help us find out what has happened.

“I cannot stress the importance of people contacting us with information if they know anything at all. You may have information that you don’t feel is of importance, but it could be to us, please pass it on, it could be the key piece of information we need to progress this investigation.”

Anyone who thinks they may have witnessed something suspicious in the Kersal Dale area over the last few days is urged to call GMP on 101 and quoting log number 2695 of April, 4th 2024.

A dedicated portal for anyone to submit images or video footage which could help police can be found HERE.

 

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