Free Record Shop in Belgium said that its one-day price drop, intended to mirror a cut in sales tax from 21% to 6%, increased CD sales significantly.

Free Record Shop reported a boost in CDs sold of 37 % in units, accounting for a raise in turnover of 26% for June 25, compared to sales on June 18.

There are around 80 of the music stores in Belgium. Free Record Shop cut prices as part of an industry campaign to lower the VAT (value added tax) rate for CDs to 6%, in line with other cultural products and events including books, concerts and movie tickets.

The price cut was part of an overall "Respect for Musicians" campaign. Some 35 Free Record Shop stores welcomed domestic artists in support of the campaign in stores on June 25. The stores were showing support for a charter issued by the Belgian record industry, collecting society Sabam and artists, appealing for more respect for musicians.

"By signing the charter we want to commit ourselves to support young and new talent," said Erik Lejeune, managing director Free Record Shop Benelux. "The best example is the recently launched FRS Live Sessions where we offer new domestic talent a platform to present the album releases, organize showcases and dedicated concerts for the press and public."

Singer songwriter Stijn Meuris launched the day's events at FRS Ghent, and 34 other artists - including Customs, Belle Perez, Laura Lynn, Tom Dice, the Sunsets and Yevgueni - got involved and acted as FRS shopkeepers in various stores over Flanders. N8N closed the 6% day at Antwerp's Free Record Store.

"The response was great, from both the public and the artists," said Lejeune, "Free Record Shop wanted to give a clear signal to the government and consumers."

The trading results will be passed to Belgian politicians to show the potential impact of a rate cut.

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