Universal Music U.K. is taking an innovative approach to boosting its sales of vinyl product.
Launching May 24, the label is to partner with British fashion company Pretty Green - the clothing label and retail chain set up by former Oasis, now Beady Eye singer Liam Gallagher - to host a U.K.-wide chain of virtual shop-front record stores, whereby customers can use their smart phones to scan and purchase a range of vinyl albums displayed in shop windows.
The virtual 'shop-front' stores will be open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and will be located in ten Pretty Green outlets throughout the United Kingdom. Records due to be displayed include the Rolling Stones' albums Exile On Main Street, Let It Bleed and Beggars Banquet, along with Elbow's 2008 Mercury Prize winning album The Seldom Seen Kid and Ian Brown's The Greatest.
Paul McCartney solo albums McCartney and McCartney II, Paul Weller's most recent solo outing Sonik Kicks, and two albums from the Who, Who's Next and Quadrophenia, will also feature in the temporary promotion, which utilizes Mobile Money Network's instant mobile checkout app "Simply Tap," and ends Sunday June 10.
Customers who purchase albums via "Simply Tap" will be sent a vinyl copy of their chosen album in the days following the mobile transaction. Although vinyl remains a niche interest in the United Kingdom, the format has enjoyed a steady renaissance in recent years. According to figures from British labels trade body the BPI, 337,000 vinyl albums were sold in the United Kingdom in 2011 - a 43.7% rise on the 234,000 units moved the previous year, and the highest tally of vinyl albums sales since 2005.
"We are seeing continued passion as well as new enthusiasm for vinyl through our online store Uvinyl and the great support the format gets from those indie music shops which are still flourishing," said Universal Music U.K.'s commercial division managing director Brian Rose in a statement. "By harnessing the latest technology we hope this partnership with Pretty Green will lead to much wider opportunities for selling music on the High Street," Rose went on to say.
Pretty Green's brand director Nigel Grant adds: "As music is a large part of Pretty Green's heritage the collaboration with Universal Music and Simply Tap is in perfect synergy with our brand values. Through our label we strive to bring style, culture and music from past decades firmly into the future."
John Milliken managing director of London-based Mobile Money Network, meanwhile, said that the Pretty Green initiative was "the first in a series of ways we are planning to support Universal Music and help them roll out a really smart, cool way for people to buy the music they love."
The full list of available titles:
The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street
The Rolling Stones - Let it Bleed
The Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet
The Who - Who's Next
The Who - Quadrophenia
Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
Paul Weller - Sonik Kicks
The Jam - All Mod Cons
The Cure - Disintegration
Ian Brown - The Greatest
Paul McCartney - McCartney
Paul McCartney - McCartney II