Amazon To Kill Off Independent Record Stores In 3 YearsFrom Ethical Consumer.

One of the UK’s leading independent record stores has predicted the death of independent record stores in the UK within three years.

Independent record stores are currently involved in a desperate battle for survival and one of the key issues is that Amazon is able to offer shoppers lower prices because of their aggressive tax avoidance policies.

Within the last nine years more than 60 per cent of the UK’s independent record stores have closed and now just under 300 remain.

Doug Anderson from Coda Records in Edinburgh which has been selling Scottish, Irish and English folk CDs and records since 1997, and who predicts the death of the independent record store including his own, said:

“Shoppers compare independent record stores like us us to Amazon on price which is a completely unfair comparison. We make no profit to speak of but we pay tax and VAT on everything we buy.”

Anderson also warns of the consequences when the last independent record stores closes:

“Do people seriously think that Amazon are good guys and will keep their prices cheap when they’ve no competition? When the last store closes prices will shoot up and people will then have no choice but to shop at Amazon.”

This dire warning comes as Ethical Consumer magazine publishes its latest Amazon-free buyers’ guide to shopping for CDs, MP3s and streaming.

With the majority of music now being bought online, the buyers’ guide reveals that many online music businesses are now adopting tax avoidance policies similar to those of Amazon.

The two biggest players in the online music business are Amazon and iTunes who each control around 30 per cent of the market. Both companies are aggressive tax avoiders.

Ethical Consumer researcher Tim Hunt said:

“There are obviously many factors which are causing the crisis for independent record stores. However the fact that Amazon is unfairly undercutting the independents on price is the single biggest factor.

“The situation is complicated in that Amazon have now created a culture of dependency as many independent stores now rely on Amazon Marketplace which further entrenches Amazon’s market dominance.”

“We’re now calling on shoppers to think hard about shopping at Amazon and instead support their local record store.”

Pip Piper, the director of Last Shop Standing, the film which chronicles the fortunes of the indy record shop said:

“It is important we support our independent record shops as they are the people who support their own local music scene and champion new music. Without them music will stagnate.”

Ethical Consumer recommends that the ethical alternative to buying music from Amazon is to buy second-hand CDs from Discogs, MusicStack and Oxfam.

For new music Ethical Consumer’s recommends that shoppers support their local independent record store.

To find their nearest independent record store Ethical Consumer recommends that shoppers visit:

The following are also recommended for CDs:

Propermusic for buying CDs online; Crochet, MDT and Presto Classical for classical music CDs.

For downloadable MP3s Ethical Consumer recommends Fairshare because of its charitable donations.

For new CDs and MP3s Ethical Consumer also recommends buying directly from the artist or label rather than through Amazon.

Ethical Consumer currently cannot recommend any company for streaming.

See more at Tax Research UK

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  1. Bullshit, I buy from the cheaper sellers on amazon, when the independents go, the online sellers will still be in competition. Music has been devalued by easy access. Paying a few quid extra in an expansive shop isn’t going to prevent anything.

  2. I personally feel there are actually reasons to start to feel positive about the state of independent record shops. I believe many people have returned to the shops and away from Amazon due to the negative press they are receiving (tax avoidance etc). I also believe shop owners are wiser and not so ‘set in their ways’. The shops are diversifying and stocking much more variety than ever before. It is a struggle butt there has also been a distinct improvment and upsurge in young people buying vinyl (last year the biggest buyers of vinyl were 18-25yr olds) so I think it’s a bit rash to say there’ll be none left in three years.

  3. In January I needed to buy an Orbital CD as a gift for a friend. Sadly Nottingham’s wonderful Selectadisc closed its doors for the last time some years ago, so my first port of call was HMV owned Fopp. This was the day that HMV announced store closures, so unsurprisingly they were unable to help. They would not be able to order it in, as the whole future of the chain was, at that time, unclear. Next I tried HMV itself: still no joy for a CD that I really had not anticipated would be so hard to find. Finally I tried a CD clearance outlet to no avail. Frustrated I ordered the CD from Amazon using my phone’s 3G whilst still in the shop. No P&P and delivered in 2 days. The bittersweet irony did not escape me. There are a couple of independent record stores left in Nottingham, but they cater for specific niche markets. Since I was not looking for Jazz or Metal or Vinyl House and Hiphop I’m already out of options. I do feel a sense of loss for the passing of the independent record store and I am of the generation that only feels comfortable with a physical album in my hand – mp3 is practical, but not collectible. Sadly though, I fear it is already too late.

  4. The internet is A Good Thing. It does very good things very well. One thing it is not good at however is personality, particularly with music.

    If you want something online, boom, it’s there. And that’s great. Until you get everything you’ve been looking for on iTunes or eBay or whatever. Then it’s not like an independent record shop where you can just browse and accidentally see something that looks interesting and then you buy it on impulse and it turns out to be great.

    Even if it turned out to be crap, you still had that experience, that social experience, of going to a record shop and not knowing what was there and picking up something anyway. The internet is great but it can be too precise sometimes.

  5. I deliberately haven’t bought anything from an independent record ‘store’ since 2006, when the dick behind the counter at the Record Collector in Sheffield ignored me for 4 minutes while continuing to read the NME. Oh, you don’t want to sell me this 35 quids-worth of 2ndhand cds? Fine, fuck you. You’ll never sell me anything again, either. I will laugh when the last of these wankers goes bust.

  6. People have been happily sleepwalking into losing what they value most for generations, why would this one be any different? Apple tookadvantage of the music iindustry’s complacency of impending change – sad to say that one set of greedy business people was swapped for another


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