Saturday, April 19th is Worldwide Record Store Day. Celebrated on all continents except Antarctica, Record Store Day honors the unique culture of the independent record store annually on the 3rd Saturday of April. This year over 400 titles in all music genres will be available for vinyl collectors and music enthusiasts. Due to the limited nature of the releases, not all stores will order all titles, and not all stores will get what they order. The demand creates Record Store Day “frenzy” almost equivalent to Black Friday. Lines form in front of the independent stores the night before or during the wee hours on the morning of with serious collectors hoping to score the unique, rare titles that are in such short supply. (Coincidentally, there is also a version of Record Store Day on Black Friday as well). The full list of Record Store Day releases is available here.
Since you cannot order Record Store Day releases on Amazon or through the featured bands, head out early on Aril 19th to your favorite independent record store! You will find box sets, picture discs, live records, special re-release and regular release 7”, 10” and 12”, and even some unique 7” splits with band combinations unlikely under other circumstances and even a few CD and cassette releases for the non-vinyl music fans. A fun addition to the Record Store Day collection is Rhino Records’ Side by Side series with the same song performed by two “mystery artists.” In addition, many independent retailers will have in-store live performances. Check your local store for schedule and details.
Conceived in 2007 and beginning in 2008, artists and record labels have produced limited edition or special Record Store Day releases only available at participating independent record stores. According to the Record Store Day site, “A Record Store Day participating store is defined as a stand-alone brick and mortar retailer whose main primary business focuses on a physical store location, whose product line consists of at least 50% music retail, whose company will not publicly traded and whose ownership is at least 70% located in the state of operation. (In other words, we’re dealing with real, live, physical, indie record stores—not online retailers or corporate behemoths).”
The concept of limiting participation sounds like it would offer great benefits to the independent record store owner and By the Barricade caught up with Geoff Leamon, owner of Left of the Dial Records in Santa Ana to get his take on Record Store Day.
Geoff, what does Record Store Day mean to you as a record store owner?
Geoff: Record Store Day is a celebration of the independent record store. It helps make me remember why I do what I do.
Is it worth the hype and work involved?
Geoff: Over the years Record Store Day has grown to almost a tipping point. This year there are over 400 titles. That’s great for collectors but it’s really stressful as a store owner. When I have to spend $10,000 just to participate it can get a bit scary. It in some ways has become record label day. It most certainly isn’t about the money when you factor in the profit margins. Hopefully, there will be changes to future events but the good still outweighs the bad.
Have album sales increased over the years of RSD?
Geoff: It has grown each year since we opened in 2010. I would like to see bigger profits but until labels bring prices down it just isn’t a reality. It is encouraging to see bigger crowds each year.
Do you have personal favorites coming out on Record Store Day?
Geoff: I tend to look forward to the more obscure reissues. The titles that don’t get a huge buzz. There are a few 60s psych records this year that look interesting, such as: The Idle Race, July, The Zombies and The Litter
The BTB team looks forward to this year’s Record Store Day. We hope to see you in line too! This writer will be at Left of the Dial for shopping and back in the afternoon for the in-store performance by California punk rockers Channel 3!