Record Store dot co dot uk London based company Digital Stores Limited has been building online shops for various high profile clients for the best part of a decade (they were incorporated in ’97), and have put up their own record shop, selling both digital and physical releases. Their catalogue seems to include material from all of the majors – indeed, I had to think quite hard before I caught their search function out (they don’t have any Zetan Spore, a trance band from down here in Cornwall). Album prices range between £4.95 (indie mp3 album download) to £12.49 (mainstream CD order).

A nice addition to their retail arsenal is a signed exclusive section, where they list special artist-signed editions of new releases (as I write Biffy Clyro, Athlete, Idlewild and Maps are among the artists listed in this section). Prices don’t seem inflated from regular retail cost, so this seems like a great way of picking up something a bit more special for a fan who’ll appreciate having an artifact rather than just a download. Other than this little bonus, I can’t see much to distinguish from the competition – prices are reasonably similar, the range is pretty comprehensive, but you could get the same service from Amazon. On the other hand, I support them on the same principle that makes me buy food from the farmers market rather than ASDA, the smaller retailers care more, and I think small businesses are a good thing for keeping a marketplace varied, vibrant and full of innovation. Much as we are a smaller enterprise but provide an alternative digital music distribution solution to the bigger players like the Orchard.