A record store has been a haven for all music fanatics to approach, buy, discover and keep up to date with all the bands and musicians they follow, but, with the technological revolution of MP3 players, online music hosts and other modern media there was a downgrade in people purchasing and acquiring vinyl records or physical CDs, but it did not last too long.
In 2007, during a record store owners' meeting, the idea of 'Record Store Day' was first suggested. This was the spark that would give a new breeze to all independent record store owners and, eventually brought up a whole other level of collecting and discovering for music fanatics and people in the media.
This movement now integrates UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and Australia and has become a world-wide phenomena that will surely stay for a long while, as each year there are new complexities and amazing music to discover, not to mention sales records being beaten each year such as 'most physical sales'.
The movement idea and concept follows the guidelines of the 'Free Comic Book Day' and was given in a brainstorming session by Bull Moose employee, Chris Brown in Baltimore.
Record Store Day offers even the collaboration of artists and famous individuals in the music media to go to independent record stores to sign material, sell exclusives, demos, live box sets, whole vinyl discographies, conceptual album art, collectibles and even showcasing new potential talents in each genre, it was not too long ago quoted as “The best thing that has ever happened to independent record stores” by Universal Music Sales Manager, Marc Fayd’Herbe.
The whole idea is to gather music fans around the world and give them one day in which they can 'geek out', find those records the have been looking for years, share themselves and their likes and dislikes with other music fans and give themselves the permission to truly enjoy the magic of listening to a vinyl (which has always been considered to have a more natural, human and warm tone to it) which is one of the main reasons why vinyl records subsist to this given day.
The first three years had an astounding progress as they gathered hundreds of independent record stores worldwide to join the movement, the success of this phenomena has been most notable in Europe and United States, as many generations of music fans and people in the media have regathered beyond online methods and have found themselves submerged in a new layer of musical acquisition and sharing.
Artists that have supported the movement and yearly- one day event have been such as Metallica, R.E.M, Jason Mraz and Vampire weekend who performed live in different Record Stores in 2008, followed by Slayer, The Smashing Pumpkins, Alice In Chains, Mastodon, Iron & Wine, The Stooges, Killswitch Engage and many many more in the following years.
Has one day really affected the industry of independent record stores?
A question that many have asked and have been impressed and left at a loss of words with the results, as previously mentioned many artists contributed to making this day an official event, all these talented musicians grew in record stores so for them it is like a second home, one that must not die out, therefore they supported the movement in no time.
It has been influential also to the newest generation to present to them how and why they should buy and support physical music from the artists they support and really learn to appreciate it to a vast extent.
On the economical side, Record Stores owned by independent individuals have a chance to showcase the kind of music they sell, and integrate into the community on a very personal level, it does not only work as a promotion or self-marketing but it also helps you to get to know your local record store owner for who he is and why he does what he does for a living, selling records. Many people have felt inspired by this reason and motivated and it has become the second biggest reason why they buy records besides loving a band or musician.
The event has achieved many economical landmarks that have not been seen in over a decade, some of which include:
- Most records sold in one day
- Biggest worldwide sales for a band/artist in one day
- Most bands/artists contributing worldwide to a single event
How can I know when Record Store Day is?
Check online, for your local record stores or walk in and ask if they celebrate it, if they do not and you have the possibility to travel somewhere else it would be completely normal, many fans do so, they travel to the United States or Europe and plan to visit three or four stores in one day.
Why would you want to visit different stores? Because the best part about Record Store Day is the fact that every Record Store has different exclusives for sale, you can check on their websites which will be the exclusives even with six months prior to the big day, also, there are blogs that showcase the most interesting or amazing exclusives to look out for, it is just a matter of keeping an eye out and save your money for the big event.
You might also want to visit different stores because there will be (you guessed it) different artists performing, all the way from indie local bands that have just been on stage a few times to worldwide phenomenon artists that have placed themselves in the industry for over three decades, probably your favourite bands will announce where they will perform a few weeks before.
Has Record Store Day affected quality or variation in artist’s music?
Yes, it has! With Record Store Day it created the possibility for a crystal-clear showcase opportunity for new artists, with no marketing or promotion professionals involved, only them and the audience, seeing their actual reaction and feeling towards their music and craft, something that had not been seen so powerful and strong since the 70s and 80s when the digital media was not a massive leading force.
There has been an uprising in many genres and has given a new standing point to many artists and music fanatics, Record Store Day has indeed, been the best thing that has happened to independent record stores.