Discogs, the website that has become the primary online spot for the buying and selling of collectable physical music, might be thought of by many as being part of a move away from traditional music retail. But the site is emphasizing how many of its sellers are, in fact, traditional brick-and-mortar stores by starting up International Record Store Month, an initiative that will roll out on Discogs.com in June.
The month-long event is described in an announcement as “a series of virtual events connecting music fans to independent record stores across the globe and recognizing the importance of independent brick-and-mortar shops and their contribution to vinyl culture.”
Most of what the initiative aims to do will continue on a year-round basis, including creating a global directory of ma-and-pa record stores that the site’s habitues can visit in the flesh if they aren’t getting their fix via mail order. The subsite will also gather “a curated collection of stories and guides for music lovers to dive deeper into the people and places that define these record stores.”
According to Jeffrey Smith, director of marketing and partnerships for Discogs, the new store directory is “an evolution of our site VinylHub that’s been around for years. This store directory vision is that it will be inclusive of all record stores, from all parts of the world.”
Moreover, Discogs is amending its web sales listings to create a digital badge that identifies which sellers in the Discogs Marketplace are physical record stores.
At the end of June, Discogs is planning a virtual record store conference that will be for participating shop owners and operators, not the general public, The site says details on that conference’s topics, panels and dates will be forthcoming.
Discogs’ Independent Record Store Month is unrelated to Record Store Day, an event for independent retailers to hold parties and sell exclusive releases that takes place each mid-April and Black Friday.
Says Smith, “What’s unique about the month is the launch of a new record store badge that verifies which independent sellers in the Discogs Marketplace are physical record stores, in addition to the launch of the annual IRSM virtual conference for record store owners, created to connect and educate shops from around the world. As we progress, Discogs will share exclusive insights and data with record stores designed to help grow their business. Ultimately the month celebrates the stores that continue to sustain vinyl culture, which many have done over the past two decades side-by-side with Discogs.”
The Discogs site has become invaluable to collectors as a database for releases and their many vinyl and CD variants, as well as a place to buy and sell. The site says it contains information on over 15 million releases by over 8 million artists, contributed by 628,000 contributing users to date.