Record Store Day? Like, whatever


So, today was Record Store Day. I bought my first single back in 1986 (The Housemartins’ ‘Caravan Of Love’ in case you’re interested), I dreamt for years of working in a record store (and did indeed work in several, a decade or so ago), and have collected vinyl for many years. Browsing through new or second-hand vinyl is one of my favourite pastimes. I even ran a label for a few years.

So was I up at the crack of dawn to queue for ages to spend huge wads of cash on limited releases for myself and/or to flog on ebay? No. I wasn’t. I didn’t even go in a record shop today. Not even for live bands.

Don’t get me wrong – I love the fact that vinyl’s been experiencing a resurgence, not that I ever stopped buying it. I think record shops should be supported, the format sustained. But the excess of records produced for this one day, that in many cases I suspect people wouldn’t want to buy 364 days of the year, available overpriced, and then punted for ridiculous sums online within hours…forget it.

There are, of course, Record Store Day specials I have bought in the past. Last year I bought Woman’s Hour’s fantastic cover of Springsteen’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’ on 12″ and it was great. I still play the thing a whole year later! But as been posted elsewhere, the aim of supporting the remaining record shops seems to have become an opportunity for the public to be fleeced.

I don’t have a problem with records being re-issued on vinyl. If it’s the format you like, and the original is more money than you have, then why not? The other day I looked online to see how much an original copy of Pink Floyd’s 1967 debut Piper At The Gates Of Dawn would be. Answer: over £100. I’m a public sector worker with a kid to bring up. That isn’t going to happen. But a repressing would suit just fine.

It can also be an opportunity for records to be pressed on vinyl that weren’t originally available on the format. Last year’s releases included Biffy Clyro’s Puzzle and the White Stripes’ Get Behind Me Satan. I already had all the other White Stripes albums on vinyl – but with a cost of £30 +…again, forget it. Why were these records not made available anyway?

And here’s the thing. There’s not a lot of pressing plants left, so why just press up stuff for one day? I buy vinyl throughout the year. An increasing number of people do. But if bands want to support record shops then there’s no point doing it for just one day. They need to be doing stuff throughout the year. And maybe encouraging people to buy direct from shops rather than from their own websites or massive online retailers.

Above all, I looked at the list this year and there was nothing I really wanted. Yes, I rather like the Primal Scream cover of S Express’ ‘Mantra For A State Of Mind’ below. I get only pressing a limited number – it’s not economic sense to press a huge amount that won’t sell. But for just one day a year? How into your vinyl are you really? And how much do you really care about supporting shops?

4 thoughts on “Record Store Day? Like, whatever

  1. Like you Ed, I didn’t get out of bed at stupid o’clock and queue outside Monorail for hours yesterday. I have done in the past but not for a couple of years, the only thing on the list that I would have liked was the Unloved single but I would rather that had been on 7″ inch so not that fussed and the Fall stuff is just taking the piss. I thought about going into town later in the afternoon but decided I will go when I’m in the mood not when somebody tells me to go. I have been kind of hacked off with 6Music’s promotion of this nonsense and the premise that you aren’t really serious about music unless you queue up all night and are subsequently fleeced.

  2. I’m not alone! I don’t think I need to get sucked up to show anyone I’m serious about my music…

  3. I have to disagree… RSD isn’t about the releases, it’s about the shops. 2% of the records end up on ebay and 80% are on independent labels sold via independent distributors. The hype is for one day a year that can help a shop pay it’s rent for the year. If that rent is paid on Alan Partridge novelty records and the like that’s a good thing. The regulars that don’t get sucked in will have more money to spend… Some records are crazily expensive but any complaints at prices should be directed at the labels that put the releases out not the shops. My shop (VoxBox) put on the biggest ever RSD gigs in the UK last week. It was totally free and the bands were paid. It was a beautiful and positive day all round.

  4. I do agree with supporting the shops as I make clear above- perhaps the issue is that the record companies have hijacked it to a certain degree. As someone who has supported record shops for years, and bought records in Voxbox, though, it seems frustrating that often people aren’t supporting these shops the other days of the year. When the event started it was not about special releases, and I went to lots of instores at the likes of Avalanche.

    I would say, though reading your comments, Darren, that I think we are mostly on the same side.

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