||The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (January 2011)|
A record shop or record store is an outlet that sells recorded music. Although vinyl records and audio cassettes are no longer sold in all music stores (despite the comeback of vinyl), in favour of compact discs and home video recordings products, people in some countries, like the UK, still use the term "record shop", in conjunction with "CD shop" or "music shop".
Originally record shops were privately run and independent businesses, meaning that prices could differ greatly from town to town, store to store. Today music shops are largely chain owned and thus prices are fairly similar regardless of the wealth of the town. In the United Kingdom the national chain style of selling records and tapes took off with Our Price, itself originally a small independent business founded in the early 1970s that expanded nationwide.
Competition (like any major business) is fierce, proven by the closure of Our Price in 2004 after several rival chains emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, including HMV, Virgin Megastore and Music and Video Club. Around the world, the traditional record stores (chain or independent) are currently suffering from mail order (most notably on the Internet), as well as supermarkets and box stores selling recorded music at prices way below the recommended dealer price as a loss leader, thus devaluing the product to a damaging degree, and digital downloads.
Because of the above factors, All major chains in the UK and North America have closed or shrunk in recent years. In addition to Our Price, Andys Records, Music and Video Club and Media Play have ceased trading.Tower Records,Virgin and Sam Goody have had to close all stores in America and Europe. Virgin and Tower Records are only present in the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf States and in Asia. Rough Trade is, however, currently expanding, with two shops in London and one Megastore in New York. The only major record shop chains in Europe are now HMV (UK, Ireland) and Free Record shop (Netherlands).
In addition to shops that sell new product, many record shops specialize in second hand or used collectible records, which they purchase from the public or other dealers, and sell for a profit. It is not uncommon for such shops to contain several items priced in the hundreds or thousands of US dollars (or local equivalent) due to their rarity, as well as items that are fairly common for much less. This type of record shop has also faced fierce competition from Internet sites like eBay, where people can sell their own records and avoid "the middle man".
Spillers Records in Cardiff, Wales, founded in 1894 by Henry Spiller, is reputed to be the oldest record shop in the world. It originally specialised in the sale of phonographs, cylinders and shellac discs. In 2006 it was reported that it could be forced to close by a sharp increase in the rent for its premises, but later moved to another location nearby. Rinehart's Music & Video in Kirksville, Missouri holds the title of Oldest Record Store in America They have been in the business of selling music recordings since 1897, when Edwin S. Rinehart started selling wax cylinders and Edison Phonographs, it remains in the family to this date. Over the years, they expanded their inventory to include all music and movie formats. They recently have branched out into video games. While most would agree that George's Song Shop in Johnstown, Pennsylvania is the oldest true record store in the United States, that specializes in only music, which was opened in 1932. They have millions of records on 5 different floors.
Independent record store numbers are dwindling with many major cities limited to just a handful of stores e.g. Plugd Records in Cork is the only independent store left in Ireland's second largest city.