Record Store Day: Can Vinyls Save Music Stores?

Today marks the sixth, and according to reports, biggest annual Record Store Day around the world. Artists including Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, Marc Bolan, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix are among the 400 special vinyl and CD releases today, along with hundreds of live performances and special sets by DJs, giving a giant boost to sales at independent music stores.

Despite a steady decline in sales between 2008-2011, in 2012 sales of music in music shops reached $680 million compared to only $583 million on digital downloads, according to Official Charts Company. One of the major areas helping the music store revitalization is vinyl, which is more expensive to produce but also charges premium prices. Many prominent bands are releasing special vinyl albums today, as reported by New York Times:

- David Bowie’s new single, "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)," on 7-inch vinyl;
- a new 10-inch live recording from Mumford & Sons, "Live at Bull Moose";
- a reissue of the 1964 Rolling Stones EP Five by Five;
- a 12-inch repressing of "Maybe I’m Amazed," by Paul McCartney and Wings that includes alternative versions of the song;
- limited edition, two-album set of the White Stripes' Grammy-winning Elephant, made of colored vinyl (Jack White is also the official ambassador of Record Store Day);
- and Grateful Dead's Rare Cuts & Oddities 1966, offered for the first time on vinyl. 

Paul Quirk, the Chairman of the Entertainment Retailers Association, explained this phenomenon to Sky News:

"Digital will always be there now, and it will develop and it will get better, but it will never ever completely replace buying a CD or buying an album. I think what may happen is we may get to the stage where you've got an album and you've actually got the download code as well available, so you're getting two things together."

After nearly a decade of dominance by digital music, the vinyl revival has helped refocus music fans on the experience of buying and listening to a full album. But that has not slowed down all music establishments' demise. On Monday, the legendary West Village music shop, Bleecker Bob's Records closed its doors after 46 years.

What do you think music fans? Can the reemergence of vinyl, and even cassette tapes, help save independent music stores or are we just moving towards a fully digital music listening experience?

Share your thoughts below or discuss with me on Twitter: @shwetika.