this Saturday marks the latest incarnation of the biggest annual celebration of all things record store; Record Store Day 2015 is the 8th version and it has come some way from the opening year and its 10’special releases. This year sees in excess of 600 titles vying for collectors money.
There seems to have been a slight backlash from some quarters on the subject of Record Store Day with some independents sayings it’s being ruined by the major labels and some stores now just refusing to take part. Can stores really afford to miss out! I guess only they can say.
One criticism laid at the door of the day is the lazy way the major labels are using the day. Both this years releases by U2 and Mumford and Sons being used as examples. In the case of U2 it’s hard to argue, they are releasing their last album, which only came out on vinyl a few months ago but this time as 10″ rather than 12″ records. To me pointless. The Mumfords have chosen to release a 7″ with the 2 tracks off their new album (out in 2 weeks time). Now as far as I can see they are just on a plain 7″ single. Not coloured, not a photo and probably costing around £8-£10. In 2 weeks the whole album will set you,back just a little more and those 2 songs are on it. So why not make it a special in some way. Look at what Johnny Marr has done. Covering Depeche Mode’s I Feel You. That is a release that, to me, says RSD.
Personally I think there are too many records to choose from but I also recognise there is probably something for everyone on that list. I found 30 releases that, given the money, I’d buy so I’m confident of not being disappointed on the day.
But what RSD does so well is bring people into Record Shops and for me that a what it should be about. Last year I spent several hours in the queue with a Matt Berry fan from Wiltshire whilst in front of us were 3 5 Seconds of Summer fans. The queue was headed up by 2 one direction fans desperate for the picture disc they released. There certainly was no sense of music snobbery in the queue that night. If the day can bring such a diverse mix of taste together it clearly wins. The key though, is that people return through the year and not just on the day itself.
I’m very lucky that my local store is the wonderful Pie and Vinyl in Southsea. It’s a truly unique experience combining wonderful music with quality pastry encased loveliness. They even bring out special RSD pies just for the occasion. What Pie and Vinyl also do so well on the day is give fans a treat, from free drinks for the queue early in the morning to putting on a day of events. My first RSD saw a wonderful acoustic Band of Skulls set in the store, this year it’s a street party all day and a great day it’ll be. Know that people from far and wide will be making a pilgrimage to them, certainly I know of one person coming all the way from Cornwall!
I would go as far as saying that not only is Pie and Vinyl my favourite shop, it’s arguably one of my favourite places on earth, but even if you are not as lucky as me then get down to your local store and support them. Not just today but all year round.
The fact that Record Store Day has done this is a testament to them but crucially to the dedicated hard working folk who put their heart and soul into keeping music alive.
So to all Record Store Staff I hope the day is a success for you. to Rob, Steve, Rad and all the wonderful guys at Pie and Vinyl, thank you for reintroducing me to proper music and for being such wonderful people who I would call friends (PS I know this doesn’t mean you’ll hide a Johnny Marr for me and that’s why I’ll be there from around midnight!)
Good,luck to all in the queues. May you get what you want, unless you intend to sell it on eBay, then shame on you.