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Independent record shop numbers reach 10 year high as total number of stores selling music hits new low

Independent record stores have shrugged off competition from supermarkets and streaming services with numbers reaching a 10 year high, according to figures published today in the 2024 ERA Yearbook, the definitive statistical guide to the music, video and games sectors from digital entertainment and retail association ERA which is available free to download here from Wednesday March 6.

ERA research confirms that the number of indie record shops in the UK hit 461 in 2023, compared with 339 in 2014.

In contrast the total number of physical outlets which sell music in the UK has declined over the period from 10,391 to 2,486.

It means that indies have dramatically increased their share of a shrinking physical music market which now only accounts for 8% of overall music sales. In 2014 indies represented just 3% of music outlets; in 2023 they represented 23% of the total.





Number of stores


Number of stores

% change

Indie record shops




Specialist chains

















ERA CEO Kim Bayley said, “In an entertainment market always full of surprises, this is in a class of its own. Despite largely being run by owner managers, indies have seen off competition from some of the largest and best-funded companies in the land. Indies have found their niche and they are here to stay.”

“Couple this with the remarkable return of HMV, now back in its Oxford Street home, and it shows that despite the overwhelming success of music streaming, many music fans remain committed to the high street physical music buying experience.”

A key factor in the resilience of high street stores has been the vinyl revival. The ERA Yearbook reveals that vinyl sales reached £177.3m in the UK in 2023, nearly seven times higher than in 2014.

“It was high street stores who first identified resurgent demand for vinyl,” said Bayley, “and they have succeeded in holding on to a disproportionate share.”

A particular factor for indie stores has been the rise of Record Store Day – controlled by indies themselves and run by ERA – the annual celebration of indie record shop culture. This year’s edition of Record Store Day takes place on Saturday April 20, 2024.

Elsewhere in the ERA Yearbook are the facts and figures behind music, video and games in a 2023, in which revenues grew by 7% to £11.9bn. Among the insights it includes are:

• Barbie was the most popular film to enjoy at home in 2023 with 770,000 retail and rental transactions;

• Digital formats – everything from music streaming to Netflix-style video services to downloaded games – accounted for 92% of revenue last year, with physical formats on 8%;

• Video is the largest sector in entertainment accounting for 41% of revenue;

• Entertainment’s 7% growth was more than four times that of the market for reading (which includes books, magazines and newspapers) which was up 1.5%;

• A massive 82.5% of streaming-video-on-demand viewers use Netflix;

• EA Sports FC 24 – the successor to FIFA – was the biggest selling game of the year, selling 2.39m units.


The ERA Yearbook is available to download for free here from Wednesday March 6.

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