Amazon Celebrates Vinyl Store by Giving Away Records, Here's One Indie Store's Response

records vinyls in crates at a record store
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Since last Friday (Oct. 23), Amazon has been celebrating its newly redesigned vinyl store with 13 days of vinyl record giveaways with titles that include the Grateful Dead's The Best of The Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers

Amazon's webpage redesign includes a vibey photo of a home stereo system with a minimalist aesthetic and mid-century modern furniture, giving a visual to that experience of putting on a vinyl record and listening to the long-player all the way through -- a semi-spiritual experience in the modern singles culture. Meanwhile, anyone can enter their name, email and phone number for a chance to win the record of the day with winners chosen at random. (On Friday (Oct. 30) a Grateful Dead giveaway was for three records total.) 

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Last year, Billboard analysis showed that Amazon is the largest seller of vinyl in the U.S., with about 12.3% market share. If this marks a new focus on vinyl, that market share may soon see some growth. 

But not everyone is excited at the prospect of Amazon further investing itself in vinyl sales. One Los Angeles independent record store has started its own campaign to compete against the tech giant and encourage customers to support indie retailers like itself. 

Origami Vinyl in LA's Echo Park neighborhood is launching its own giveaway initiative starting Monday with the hashtag #shopindie. Store owner and founder Neil Schield said he has been surprised with the quick response it has received from independent labels such as Secretly Canadian, Captured Tracks, Saddle Creek and more, all of whom have donated several albums to the cause. 

"To Amazon, your $20 is chump change. To us, your $20 helps us buy 2 more really awesome records that we want to expose you to," the store states in a blog post. "We're all about introducing you to music that we love and supporting the local music scene."

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Schield said he understands the appeal of buying music on Amazon -- he himself is an Amazon Prime member -- but he hopes this initiative can remind customers that a record store is more than just a place to buy things. 

"The heart and soul of what we all do and what record stores are important for is we are all community centers," he said. 

Schield said with more than 20 indie labels onboard -- all of whom also rely on Amazon for income, he pointed out -- the store will likely continue its campaign much longer than Amazon's 13 days. At this point it could last a month or longer, he said. 

As for the bigger issue of Amazon starting to further target his business, Schield just said it's not unexpected but just seems odd. 

"As if selling toilet paper and these other things aren't enough for them, they're going after these niche markets now," he said. "It's just interesting to me that they're creating this whole store and trying to make it seem lie that's the cool place to buy records."

Schield added, "What I care about is raising the flag and waving the flag about indie retail and why indie record stores are so important."