The Farce of Record Store Day
Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 at a gathering of independent record store owners and employees as a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1400 independently owned record stores in the US and thousands of similar stores internationally. The first Record Store Day took place on April 19, 2008. Today there are Record Store Day participating stores on every continent except Antarctica. About Us | Record Store Day
While this is an honourable concept the reality is not even close.
Get customers to visit their Local Independent Record Store
The idea behind Record Store Day is to get people back into the physical independent record stores and not just buy music online.
This is a great idea and many of the best independent record stores have become destinations, where customer can not only go browse and buy music, but also attend intimate gigs, signings, book readings, coffee and much much more. It has become an event in itself. I myself have attended many small gigs and events at Rough Trade East.
Celebrate Vinyl as a Format
Over the years there have been many different formats for users to consume music, but since it's launch in 1948, it has refused to go away. Although sales slowed down at the beginning of the 2000s they have steadily picked up again in recent years.
Bands and performers have created special releases especially for Record Store Day, or Special Reissues, or Live Recordings etc.
This allows fans to expand their collections.
Most of these are very limited, often to around 1000 copies.
It's only 1 day a year
If it really is to encourage people to go to record shops more then it's not really achieving this. I'm pretty sure there are loads of people who only go to their local independent record shop only on Record Store Day.
Non-Music Fans are Profiting from it
This year (2019) there were copies of some records on ebay on the Thursday before Record Store Day.
By 9am on the day of Record Store Day, there were 100s of them on ebay.
They are even appearing on Discogs.
So this means that:
- The true music fans are losing out and paying over the odds
- The Bands/Artists are not getting what the records are really going for
- The Record Stores are not making the profit that is really there
Two of my friends went out looking for the treasures available today.
One of them started queueing in London at 2am, for a 9am opening time, she was successful in getting all that she wanted.
Sister ray but I was there from 2am and it weren’t nice being there in the freezing cold for 6 hours. Was 20th in the queue but I’m proper mash up now. Been sleeping most of the afternoon and I’m cold! Pooka
A second started at 5:50am for a 9am opening and was too late to get anything he was looking for.
How do we fix this?
I definitely don't want bands and artist to stop releasing special things like this.
I definitely don't want record stores to stop attracting visitors and customers, to not be able to go to a different city and stumble upon a record store and rummage around would be terrible. So we definitely need to continue supporting record stores, but this could be said about many independent store I'm just really passionate about music.
Spread the releases out over the whole year
Having different bands/artist, release special discs over the course of the year means that, record stores get traffic and footfall throughout the whole year and not just one day.
While this will not stop people buying records to immediately put on ebay, discogs, etc, it will make it harder for opportunists to go in store and purchase a full set of all the releases in one go.
Have a Loyalty Scheme
For those that frequent record stores regularly then give them the chance to go in store before the masses. This would allow regulars and true music fans another chance.
Make Record Store a Destination
Gone are the days when a record store, or any independent store, can just rely on just focussing on selling those records. There are a whole other bunch of reasons consumers, customers or fans would visit an establishment:
- Intimate Gigs
- Q & A sessions
- Album play backs
- DJ Sessions
There are many events that I attend that could be hosted in record stores:
These are just some of my thoughts and ideas, I'm sure that someone who's job this is could come up with much better ideas.