Keith Ingram

As Scots spend more time indoors, many have turned to new, or old hobbies to keep themselves busy. One independent Scottish record shop says that its sales of CDs and vinyl have grown significantly over the past two months, as more people embrace music during lockdown.

Assai Records has two record shops in Dundee and Edinburgh but sells the majority of its products online via Amazon marketplace. Its owner Keith Ingram says that online sales have grown significantly on the platform since lockdown began in Scotland in March, as more people make the most of their turntables.

Despite needing to close both of its shops due to the coronavirus pandemic, Assai has managed to continue safely trading by using an internet fulfilment location to package and ship records around the world.

Keith, who employs 17 staff across Scotland, said: “Around 70 per cent of our customers are online. We ship a lot of our stock to Europe – mainly Italy, France and Germany as well as the United States.  However, we’ve noticed a significant increase in Scottish customers.

“A big reason for the spike is the fact that many of us have much more time at home to enjoy music. I’m a firm believer that music can bring huge benefits for mental health and can be a source of companionship and normality for those who are more isolated.”

Keith admits that being a retailer in the UK is tough, even pre Covid-19. He added “Margins are tight and administration can be enormous in this industry. But Amazon offers vast opportunities to reach bigger markets, allowing us to grow our business, employ more people and contribute to the UK economy. Aside from our Amazon income, we have seen increased business to our own website as people continue to support our indie record stores. Although, this alone would not be enough to ensure the business’ survival.”

During lockdown, Record Store Day organisers and BBC 6 Music encouraged people to “Fill the Gap” in their collections to support independent record stores.

Assai Records, which also has its own record label, has continued to support the Scottish music scene despite the lockdown.

Keith said: “We have helped with two recent releases which entered the Scottish Top 100 album Charts. stmartiins are a young Dundee-based band who reached number 14 in the charts, and we reissued an archive release from another band, The Swiss Family Orbison – originally released in 1997 on CD.  We reissued this record on vinyl for the 1st time on the 1st May 2020 and it reached No. 11 in the Scottish Album charts.”

Assai sell CDs, vinyl records, band merchandise, DVDs, toys and games as well as its own brand suitcase style record players, vinyl carry cases and accessories.

Kate Buckle
Article by Kate Buckle
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