UK-based supermarket giants Sainsbury’s have raised a few eyebrows today, as they have announced that they will be setting up it’s own record label.
Beginning this week, the market moguls will be releasing a series of vinyl albums in 168 of their stores nationwide. The first two of these releases are to be 20 track compilations, curated and overseen by Saint Etienne member, and music journalist Bob Stanley.
Enjoying a prominent music career in the 1990s, Stanley revealed to the BBC that he was collaborating with Sainsbury’s in an effort to bring pop music back to the high street.
“Growing up, one thing I loved was the number of high street shops where you could buy new releases,” he explained.
“I remember buying Dusty Springfield’s Greatest Hits, the one with a striking high contrast black and white cover, at Woolworths in Croydon.
“I knew a few of the hits, but that was the first place I came across songs like ‘Goin’ Back’ and The ‘Look Of Love’, life-changing songs.
“Those kind of compilations – where some of the songs are familiar, and the rest of the album is a revelation which can shape your tastes – I think are just as important as classic standalone albums like Pet Sounds or Parallel Lines.”
The album titles and tracklists have been unveiled too, as they seek to blend the classic and the obscure. Stanley’s first two compilations are titled Coming Into Los Angeles – A Taste Of West Coast, and Hi-Fidelity – A Taste of Stereo Sound. A notable inclusion on one of the albums is The Flying Burrito Brothers’ cover of The Rolling Stones’ Wild Horses.
The renaissance of vinyl sales has doubtlessly influenced this collaboration; in 2016, vinyl sales hit a 25-year high, with over 3 million LPs sold nationwide. 2017 looks to improve further on this, and sales are up a staggering 30%, year-on-year. Sainsbury’s themselves began stocking vinyl in March 2016, and have since accounted for roughly 5% of the UK’s total market sales.