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Coachella 2013: Zia Records is here to stay -- hopefully

April 21, 2013|By Todd Martens

Goldenvoice recently reached a long-term agreement with the desert city of Indio to stage its Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club through at least 2030. But what, if anything, does that mean for Arizona’s Zia Records, the pop-up shop that’s been a regular at Coachella since troubles with the Virgin Megastore in the late '00s?

GM Brian Faber says talks with Goldenvoice won’t pick up until the conclusion of next week’s Stagecoach, but he pointed to new lighting fixtures and a new sign out front. “Those are good signs, right?” Faber asked, noting that if Goldenvoice is investing in the pop-up shop it’s likely here for the long haul.

Zia Records has become a must-see destination for many Coachella attendees as the festival coincides with Record Store Day, a promotional shopping holiday of sorts in which dozens of artists release limited-edition vinyl to mom and pop shops. As for why Zia is the shop at Coachella and not Hollywood’s Amoeba Music or Long Beach’s Fingerprints, it’s not some conspiracy against California record stores. In fact, Goldenvoice architect Paul Tollett even co-owns Pomona’s Glass House Record Store with his brother.

FULL COVERAGE: Coachella 2013

Faber says Zia just was the first to ask.

When it started to become clear around the 2007 launch of Record Store Day that Virgin was struggling, Zia and the Music Monitor Network, a coalition of independent stores that helped launch the promotional event for mom-and-pop record shops, reached out to Goldenvoice.

“It was the right place at the right time,” Faber said. “We looked ahead and saw Record Store Day fell on the same weekend as Coachella. So we all sat down.”

Generally, Faber and Zia break even in the annual trek from Arizona. This year, the store is on target to come out ahead. But creating a pop-up shop isn’t cheap. Faber didn’t want to give it a price tag but said it’s comparable to “starting a store from scratch.”

Helping Zia’s sales is the shop’s always impressive roster of artist signings, this year including Phoenix and Moby, among about 60 other artists, as well as the inclusion of pieces that can only be purchased at Coachella. Zia was selling Coachella exclusives from Rodriguez, Portugal the Man and Puscifer this year.

Rodriguez’s “Cold Fact,” limited to a pressing of 500, sold-out during Coachella’s first weekend. The items from Puscifer and Portugal the Man were on target to sell out by the end of the day today. Zia also boasted 25% more Record Day exclusives editions than last year, giving Coachella attendees a better chance of nabbing a rarity.  

Did Faber see any surprises among Coachella attendee purchases? Faber was impressed to see a four-vinyl box of a reissue of the Flaming Lips’ “Zaireeka” go almost instantly, especially because it carried a $70 price tag. But if there’s one thing Faber has learned about Coachella audiences, it’s that they spend money.

“This year we’re seeing a lot people rush to buy a vinyl copy,” said Faber, “and then seeing them also buy the CD. I haven’t really asked why they’re doing that, but that’s a change from year’s past.”

His next goal, however, is to get Zia exclusives for Stagecoach as he does Coachella. It won’t happen this year, and Faber said, “It almost happened last year with Blake Shelton. It’s just timing.” 

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