For the eighth year running, independent record store retailers everywhere are celebrating the art of music with Record Store Day 2014.
Watch out, iTunes – vinyl still lives, say record store retailers everywhere. As the sales of physical music media continue to dwindle, independent record stores are fighting back with a resurgence that is attracting music fans young and old.
The notion of a day to celebrate our humble vinyl started in 2007 over in the United States, when record store owners Chris Brown, Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Carrie Colliton, Amy Dorfman, Don Van Cleave and Brian Poehner discussed a “Free Comic Book Day” for record stores. The idea soon spread to the UK and has since been endorsed by recording artists James Hetfield, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and more.
Today, Record Store Day is celebrated by stores up and down the UK with special vinyl and CD releases scheduled for the day, while artists from around the world get together to perform, meet and greet fans, and take part in other events. This year you can catch tunes from Nirvana, Regina Spektor, Haim, Bruce Springsteen and Jack White, which join the ranks of 450 new releases.
There is also no shortage of collectors’ items: up for grabs this year amongst others is a briefcase-style turntable, depicting an image of Charlie Brown proclaiming: “I’m real proud of my record collection.” The product, licensed by Peanuts, is one of only 2,400 units made worldwide.
“The biggest sales day of the year”
Of course, while the event is a celebration, it is also a promotional event, and independent record store dealers have seen a huge demand for records in the last decade. Richard Laing, Director of Sales at Seattle’s Sub Pop Records says: “For most of our independent accounts, it’s the biggest sales day of the year”, citing the rise from 2.9 million LPs sold in the US in 2008 to 9.4 million in 2013.
More than 200 stores up and down the UK are taking place this year. To see which record stores are closest to you, head to the Record Store Day UK website.
Working for an independent start-up magazine, Démodé, I wrote a series of features that aligned with the magazine’s “vintage” theme. Here is a feature looking at the annual Record Store Day.
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