Record Store Day will be 20 years old this year and no doubt the musical landscape has changed since its inception. The new digital kids on the block: downloads and streaming were supposed to signal the end of traditional music formats. CD’s and tapes may be struggling or gone but vinyl records have been one of the surprise success stories of recent years. With many predicting it would die out, vinyl has instead seen a boom in popularity. Vinyl is cool and once more we’re seeing independent record stores back on our high streets.
“Music is the soundtrack to our lives. The beat of revolutions. The cry of freedom.
In a scary world, music gives us hope”.
Record Store Day
Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 by independent record storeowners. Created, as a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding independently owned record stores. The first Record Store Day took place on April 19, 2008. Today there are thousands of Record Store Day participating stores all over the world on every continent except Antarctica.
For a store to participate in Record Store Day it must be a brick and mortar retailer whose product line consists of at least 50% music retail. Who’s ownership is at least 70% located in the state of operation. In other words, we’re talking about real, live, physical, indie record stores—not online retailers or corporate behemoths. This stops the likes of Sainsbury muscling in. Maybe the downside of the popularity of vinyl is that the bigger chains will try and take a piece of the indie pie.
“I love the relationship that anyone has with music … because there’s something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. … It’s the best part of us probably…” – Nick Hornby
Tall Bird Records Chesterfield
Maria Harris from Tall Bird Records in Chesterfield spoke warmly about Record Store Day.
“RSD is the most important day of the year for most independent record shops and we’re no different. It’s the day when most people who love and collect vinyl within a ten mile radius visit the shop to pick up that hot new mega limited release by their favourite band and or artist, often queuing through the early hours of the morning for the privilege!
The Big Day…
There’s a real sense of excitement, anticipation and achievement on the day for everyone involved on both sides of the counter. From a business point of view it’s always preceded by an anxious few weeks managing cash flow to be able to ensure that we can afford to get sufficient quantity of all the titles our customers want but happily the day itself is usually as busy as the week before Christmas rolled into one. This year, as in previous years, there will be treats, freebies.
Hope to see you on the day!”
“Songs remain. They last. The right song can turn an emperor into a laughing-stock, can bring down dynasties. A song can last long after the events and the people in it are dust and dreams are gone. That’s the power of songs.”
Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
For most record stores, RSD is a special event. People begin to queue the night before. Camping outside, sharing stories of their greatest vinyl finds. For the shop owners the day can be full on for 24 hours. Hard work for sure but the shops love it and so does everyone who comes along. The day has a real buzz on the day and those lucky enough to get what they want, end up with a limited edition record. It’s more than that; people often make new friends. Someone to share their love of vinyl with. For younger customer it’s may be their first time in a record shop. Unlike us old timers they’ve not grown up with the riches of independent music stores we enjoyed.
Record Store Day Supporters
It’s wonderful to see Record Stores becoming part of our communities once more. Festivities include performances, body painting, meet & greets with artists, parades and DJs spinning records. From a small selection of releases in 2008, RSD has grown to include artists/ labels both large and small. The list continues to include a wide range of artists, covering the diverse taste of record stores and their customers. Record Store Day supporters include Metallica, Jesse “Boots Electric” Hughes (Eagles of Death Metal), Joshua Homme (Eagles of Death Metal, Them Crooked Vultures, Queens of the Stone Age), Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop, Jack White, Chuck D and Dave Grohl. Quite a list you must agree.
This year record store day will be on Saturday 21st April 2018. There’s no better time to rediscover your love of records or maybe start collecting for the first time.