This past Saturday marked the tenth annual Record Store Day. It’s held the third Saturday of every April as a celebration of independently owned record stores. A lot of really awesome items get released each year. Some are special editions, maybe on colored vinyl, long out of print releases, or things that have never been pressed on vinyl. This year Run the Jewels had a special tote bag made for the day. It’s a concentration of what so many of these stores do all year-long.
Record Store Day 2017 Jewels
I am such a nerd and really love that a Record Store Day Ambassador is appointed each year. We have had quite a diverse group so far including Jesse Hughes, Josh Homme, Izzy Osbourne. Jack White, Dave Grohl, Chuck D, Iggy Pop, and Metallica. This year we had our first female ambassador, Annie Clark a.k.a. St. Vincent. And holy heck was I excited about that! RSD releases buttons each year featuring the Ambassador and they are seriously one of my favorite things I get that day. I tried starting a hashtag to make Ryan Adams the next RSD Ambassador, I guess we’ll see how that works out in 2018. Hahah
I count myself pretty lucky that I have a local store not even ten minutes from my apartment, The Record Exchange in downtown Boise. The Record Exchange turns Record Store Day into a whole weekend of festivities including live music, both on-stage in-store and outside busking. They always host a listening party with raffles on RSD eve with some pretty rad prizes including a chance to win one of the first five spots in line. Those are highly coveted because you get to “sleep in” and your likelihood to get the items you want is obviously increased. They spin some of the releases that will hit the sales floor the next morning.
Who benefits from RSD?
I read a lot of negative things about RSD though. “Oh it’s for the flippers, not the real fans because they don’t have a chance to get their hands on the items,” “everyone in line was talking about putting what they were trying to buy in eBay,” or “they just jack up the already too high prices to take advantage of fans.”
I know I don’t live in a large city like a lot of those fans I see say those things. I know when I haven’t won one of those spots in line, I didn’t have to wait hours on hours to get into my local shop like some fans have. I have participated in eight RSDs now, I believe, all at that same shop I will continue talking about.
I know there are flippers in line, but I have only ever heard one guy talk about it. Most of the people I hear talking jokingly ask if you are going after the same items they are “‘cause elbows are gonna fly,” making conversation with fellow music fans, or just talking about the things on their list that they are most excited about. I see so many people beaming with pride when they are able to walk out after purchasing that one record they just had to have for their collection. Families come out and I love seeing that so much. Parents sharing that excitement with their kids; kids that will clearly grow into awesome, music loving adults.
Support Local Record Stores…
My time is more limited these days but when I have a chance I stop in and they are always my go-to choice when purchasing really fun, unique gifts and of course, music. I love physical media and records hold a special place in my heart. There is nothing like opening the shrink wrap and cleaning it for the first time before you place it on your turntable.
If you have a local record store make sure you check it out. Not only do they get indie store exclusives of some pretty rad albums but they do a host of other things in the community. They probably have in-stores of some of your favorite bands. I have caught some pretty great ones (Silversun Pickups, The Head and the Heart, The Meat Puppets, Mike Doughty, and too many more I can’t think of off the top of my head.) They host album releases so fans that can’t get into bars can still hear a band they love.
I am pretty sure I left out some pretty interesting and/or important stuff but seriously, ignore the naysayers. I am going to take this a bit farther and say if there is ANY local business that you love and value in your community, make sure you show them your support. That’s what keeps them thriving. Also, Record Exchange, thank you for all you do every day and for being my respite from the world.