"Last Shop Standing" DVD Celebrates Independent Record Stores

The documentary "Last Shop Standing", subtitled "The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the Independent Record Shop" consists of a series of interviews with UK record store owners and fans, some of them famous like guitarist Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Paul Weller and Billy Bragg.

The film, based on the 2009 book of the same name by Graham Jones, tells its tale through the eyes and mouths of more than twenty record store owners—an older and somewhat forlorn bunch, but also a bunch of engaging characters— who have been through the toughest times imaginable as techology and tastes shifted rapidly in the 20th century's waning years.

But there's more to the downfall of the Indie record store that the interviewees document: the corruption of the sales reporting system by unscrupulous salesmen that put the final nail in the coffin of the "old guard" record stores. Hearing what actually happened makes even more amazing that any store survived.

Ironically, the system's corruption may remind you of the corruption created by the "No Child Left Behind" educational reform in America, with its emphasis on uniform test results.

Here, the record charts substitute for uniform test results. Desperate educators anxious to get good test scores were willing in some cases (like in Atlanta, GA) to erase and "fix" answers on tests. Record salesmen, anxious to turn in good sales figures and to help songs climb the charts were willing to engage in all sorts of shenanigans that will leave you mouth agape.

Also leaving your mouth agape are the statistics: in the 1980s the UK had 2200 indie record stores. By 2009 only 269 were left.

But all hope is not lost as you know and the film delves into what's saving the remaining stores and how more might be coming on board as the vinyl resurgence gains strength. In fact of late, more new stores have opened than old ones have closed. The two hour film (50 minutes plus 74 minutes of extras) was in part sponsored by Rega and includes a short clip of Rega founder Roy Gandy as well as by the British audio magazine Hi-fi News.

While the film is short on analysis or even a thread of a story line, the footage in the shops and the comments made by the participants—particularly the older ones— produce a rich historical tapestry and rich visuals.

Obviously this is not for everyone, but it certainly is for everyone reading this on analogplanet.com. Don't expect to come away wildly optimistic though. The movie makes clear that the stores that have survived were the ones that adapted to the biggest change of all—bigger than CDs—the Internet. Stores with an Internet presence held on. Oh, and it didn't hurt to own the building too!

Watch the trailer.

dleonard's picture

Michael - The movie trailer and website do not provide a USA distributor for the DVD (perhaps I overlooked it).  Who do we contact to buy?

Also, sad to report that Intoxica Records in London recently closed shop.  The store (and Debbie, one of the sales staff) are both featured in the movie trailer.

lonndoggie's picture

It was for sale during Record Shop Day all over the US, in limited quantities.  It's for sale on  Amazon US, but is listed as currently out of stock.  I went to Lou's Records in Encinitas on RSD, and it was out there.

So, visit your local shop, or order and wait.

dleonard's picture


radolf lincon's picture

It's unique title "Last Shop Standing". 

Thanks for sharing this.


vinyl listener's picture

I remember seeing the trailer in HD but have yet to see a full HD release.

Jamesd's picture

If you love music and vinyl, this DVD is a must watch. Great look at the history of vinyl. I will be gifting a copy to a friend of mine who is obsessed with record collecting.


FTereshkov's picture

I am currently looking for records of John Lennon. If by chance you have any information, please let me know. - Casa Sandoval