We caught up with Joey, the Manager of Nottingham’s critically acclaimed independent record store, the Music Exchange, where he told us all about the store and what makes it so special to Nottingham. Nottingham is known for its independent shopping and close community, therefore this is the first in our features on bringing you information on Local Independent businesses in Nottingham.
Hi Joey, for someone who has never heard of the Music Exchange can you describe what it is all about?
The Music Exchange is an independent record shop specialising in vinyl. We are a social enterprise who offer volunteer opportunities to all Nottingham residents.
We opened just under 4 years ago and have now grown to become a focal point for the local music scene, this year we have been nominated for independent record store of the year at the Music Week awards and we have been chosen by the Observer as one of the country’s best independents. We have also had an opportunity to collaborate with Sir Paul Smith on pop up shops in his London and Japanese stores.
What can someone expect when they walk into the Music Exchange?
We provide a warm and friendly environment to buy records in, all the staff have a great knowledge of music and love to spread their passion for new music. The team always have time to talk to you about new releases or up and coming gigs.
We stock new releases and classic reissues as well as having a massive local artists section of vinyl and CDs that we stock commission free in support of the labels, bands and artists we work with. We also stock books, fanzines, t-shirts and loads more music related merch and gig tickets for which we don’t charge a booking fee.
The Music Exchange is not just a standard record store as is a vital contributor to the local community as it takes volunteers to work in the shop, as well as being part of the Framework charity. What type of volunteers do you have?
Our volunteers come from a wide range of backgrounds and all share a common love of music. At first The Music Exchange’s volunteer applications came from people who lived in supported housing but we soon realised that there were many unemployed or young people who would also benefit from the experience of volunteering at the shop. Our volunteer pool now covers the broad spectrum of Nottingham’s communities ranging from students, unemployed, part and full time workers who are all united by their love of music.
How does someone go about volunteering?
Anyone can volunteer in the shop, there is a form available to download on our website or you can just email us directly for a form.
Can you tell us about your collaboration and achievements with Framework?
We started out as part of a Framework day centre, Handle Street which provided support and advice as well as meals, showers and washing machines to Nottingham’s homeless community. We are now part of Eve Trades which a group of social enterprise businesses ranging from coffee shops, painting & decorating, recording studios and bike repairs. It feels great to be part of something which is making a difference to so many people in Nottingham.
How important is the conservation of Record Stores and their celebration with days like Record Store Day?
We have seen the vinyl market increase massively over the time we have been open. Vinyl has been embraced again and I think that Record Store Day has had a lot to do with that. Its helped get the excitement and people back into independents and has shown a younger audience how wonderful records are.
Students and young people are re-discovering and embracing vinyl, with an increase in its popularity in recent years, what is your reaction to this?
It’s fantastic to have so many young people getting involved with the shop and the local music scene. Nottingham has always had a vibrant arts community and there are a lot of things going on here.
Are there any events coming up with the Music Exchange that you would like to inform our readers about?
We have regular in-store events and we put on gigs too, the best way to keep up to date with events would be to look at our website or Facebook. We have an email sign up on Facebook to get updates on our gigs.
Many of our readers are fresher’s, do you have any advice for the new students of Nottingham?
Nottingham has so many different things going on and it’s a great city if you love music. Try and get involved with what’s going on as its such a welcoming scene. Pop in and see us and have a chat about what’s going on and we might be able to point you in the right direction.
A big Thank you Joey for taking the time to talk to us.