Record Store Day’s Behind The Counter documentary peeks behind the vinyl store curtain

Behind the Counter series four
(Image credit: Record Store Day)

Vinyl has continued its startling comeback to become one of the most popular media formats around. Despite a low point in sales during the dark days of 2013, vinyl is once again the music aficionado’s medium of choice, outselling physical CDs in the UK for the first time in 35 years according to the ERA.

To celebrate the format’s continuing mainstream popularity, online documentary series Behind the Counter, produced as a collaboration between Record Store Day, Classic Album Sundays and Bowers & Wilkins, has returned for a fourth series looking at the finest independent vinyl distributors facilitating this continued resurgence.

The 12-part series returned this year on January 31st, celebrating once more the vendors and enthusiasts who continue to push the startling rejuvenation of a once-threatened format. New episodes have already been released, with the twelve-part series running weekly ahead of this year’s Record Store Day on April 22nd. Dropping every Tuesday at 10am GMT, each instalment can be watched on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube.

Series four features the following diverse array of stores: 81 Renshaw, Liverpool; The Vinyl Whistle, Leeds; Voxbox, Edinburgh Music From Big Blue, Glasgow; Sister Ray, Soho; Sound Records, Stroud; Vinilo Record Store, Southampton; Ventnor Exchange, Isle Of Wight; Winyl, Manningtree; Soul Brother, Putney; Starr Records, Belfast; Truck Store, Oxford.

Behind The Counter clearly demonstrates that the appetite for a personal connection to the music we buy has only grown during this impersonal age of limitless streaming, digital downloads and other non-physical formats. “I don’t think a community exists unless it’s got a record shop in it,” claims Ian Smith, owner of Music From The Big Blue in Glasgow, one of the stores showcased in the series.

The show’s official partners, British audio heavyweights Bowers & Wilkins, are firmly in agreement: “We have loved watching the popularity of vinyl continue to grow,” said Giles Pocock, Vice-President of Brand Marketing at B&W. “It’s such an important format and we deeply value the unique role that independent record stores play in bringing these records to music fans.”


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Harry McKerrell
Staff writer

Harry McKerrell is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi?. He studied law and history at university before working as a freelance journalist covering TV and gaming for numerous platforms both online and in print. When not at work he can be found playing hockey, practising the piano or forcing himself to go long-distance running.