Page last updated at 23:48 GMT, Friday, 17 April 2009 00:48 UK

Record shops fight for survival

Compact discs
The event celebrates the best elements of independent record shops

Independent record shops have attempted to show they have a bright future with a series of special events under the banner Record Store Day.

The event came despite a year in which a quarter of UK outlets closed.

The Entertainment Retailers' Association said there were 408 independent record shops in 2007, but only 305 remained by the end of 2008.

Around 100 UK shops participated in the events, which included in-store gigs and one-off vinyl releases.

As well as recessionary pressures faced by all retailers, independent record stores have had to cope with the twin threat of the rise of music downloads and of supermarket giants selling music cheaply in recent years.

2005 - 734 independent stores
2006 - 578
2007 - 408
2008 - 305
Source: Entertainment Retailers' Association. Figures are for UK.

Many have survived by finding a niche in the market - appealing to collectors who want to buy music on vinyl or stocking releases from a much wider range of artists than that found in big-chain record stores.

Spencer Hickman, from the Rough Trade store in east London, said: "There is a general thought that record stores will no longer be, but I think the strongest of the bunch and the most forward-thinking will survive."

As well as in the UK, Record Store Day is also being celebrated on Saturday at more than 1,000 independent record stores in the United States and in another 16 countries around the world.

For the occasion, many artists issued special releases for sale in independent shops only. Vinyl singles from Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan are among those that were pressed to mark the event.

And the Rough Trade chain of stores revived the cassette, selling a special 99p compilation tape featuring Jarvis Cocker, Mystery Jets and 13 other acts.

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