The Story of Ian Tunstall and ChangesOne Record Shop and Label
Until the 1990s, record stores could be found in most towns providing the community in which it was situated with the latest music releases and catalog product. The people who worked in the store were usually local teens who found the job to be rewarding due to the fact that most of their paychecks went back to the stores to pay for product purchased and concert tickets. Working at the local record shop gave you some street cred because you were in the know about new product and upcoming concerts, you received promos of the latest releases, and finally, you were guest listed for most of the local clubs. I was one of these record shop employees for the local chain called Turtles. I refer to those days as the salad days. By the late 80s, smaller chains were being snapped up by the conglomerates like SuperClub and Blockbuster, sales were being hurt by huge retailers like Best Buy, and by the mid-90s, the writing was on the wall with the internet revolution and merchants like Amazon.com coming into existence. While the local record store is becoming extinct in its original form, except for hip alternative stores like Wax n Facts in Atlanta, there is a new breed of record store developing on the internet. No longer are music buyers tethered to what is available locally or nationally, but instead, you can now look for product from overseas. I regularly purchase product from Amazon.co.uk in order to find imports that were otherwise unheard of unless you were willing to pay the exorbitant prices charged for import material sold in local specialty shops. The cost of shipping has dipped to the point that I can buy sale product from overseas that is not available in the states for a price that rivals those of CDs locally. It is especially fun to get a CD from a band you like weeks or more ahead of its US release date. Also, DVDs from overseas provide a good buy because of the incredible selection of product that they have, and unlike the VHS format, regional coding, PAL and NTSC, is no longer a consideration due to DVD players that are able to play DVDs from any region.
One example of this new breed of music store is ChangesOne Records located in Tyne & Wear, England. ChangesOne is run by Ian Tunstall. At one time, Ian sold records on location and on the internet. Over time, Changesone became an internet only retailer. Ian also runs a bargain cd store at a separate web address, and he has his own record label. In other words, instead of fighting the big guys, Ian chose to become a music mogul on his own terms with his two music retail sites and the label.
Why do I like to do business with Ian? Well, if I have a question, he emails a response in a timely manner. His prices are not outrageous, and he provides you with the ability to purchase CDs and DVDs that will never be released over here or will be released at a later date. Ian also has made sure that he promotes the up and coming acts from his country, which provides customers like me with needed information. He also sends out weekly sales emails telling you what he has on special and what product is moving that week. Every once in a while, I splurge and give Ian a call at the store. It's informative, good conversation, and it only costs a dollar or so for a 10 minute call using one of those 10-10 international dialing rate discounter numbers. Otherwise, his products are easily purchased over his web site. So let's celebrate the existence of Ian Tunstall and ChangesOne Records. As we watched the concept of the local music store die a sad death, Ian shows how the concept of the local record shop might be dead, but the creation of the international local record store is only beginning.