Record Store Day: Good for Only a Few Stores?

Did the annual event really save the vinyl record industry?

Drak expressed a similar sentiment. "Fingerprints will drown me, and I will get pushed to the side," he says.

"The problem is they have to get engaged and push for what they want," Record Store Day co-founder Kurtz says. "Establish a relationship with a [distributor], maintaining a relationship year-round, not just on [Record Store Day]." 

Evans has a problem with that solution. "So I'd have to buy from 30 different distributors year-round to make sure I get the four singles I want on Record Store Day? That doesn't even make sense," he says. "I have such a niche audience; I only sell alternative or punk rock, and most of these labels only have two artists I'd carry anyway. So they want me to buy a bunch of records I wouldn't even sell anyway? That's stupid."

"If I don't get that Lush limited-edition import, Japanese bootleg from 1992, I'll kill myself!"
Miguel Vasconcellos
"If I don't get that Lush limited-edition import, Japanese bootleg from 1992, I'll kill myself!"
There’s always a bed for Beatle John in record stores
Miguel Vasconcellos
There’s always a bed for Beatle John in record stores

Black Hole doesn't see much of a rise in sales on Record Store Day. "I still have singles from last year no one bought," Evans says. "It isn't even worth the $2 or $5 markup on most of these releases."

Kurtz recommends making the customer excited. "It's about getting involved," he says. "What artists do you have lined up? Do you have a party? A lot of stores are just thinking, 'How can I get the releases?' You have to think about how you make your customers special. It's like the Beatles song says: 'The love you take is equal to the love you make.'"

He said it takes some stores awhile to understand Record Store Day is an altruistic venture. "We make no money," he says. "They have to get over bitterness of the past."

Eventually, that day comes. "I've heard all the complaints and usually the record stores come around eventually and say, 'Thank you for doing this," Kurtz says. "It really helps my business.'"

That day came for Drak, despite his frustrations. "Thank God for all of the good stuff about Record Store Day," he says. "The only thing bad is that someone has to remind you there is a Record Store Day. I woke up since junior high and knew not to eat at McDonald's. It's 98 percent good, 2 percent bad."

The future of vinyl is with the kids who are going to buy them, says Evans. "They'll steal their uncle's Clash album and buy a turntable," he says. "They're going to buy a vinyl and a bottle of wine and have a date. They're the kids who are going to save it, not Record Store Day."

This article appeared in print as "Did Record Store Day Save Vinyl? The annual event wants to promote indies, but some smaller shops feel left out next to little-big stores such as Amoeba."

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My Voice Nation Help

i love how the black hole dude talks shit about crap. it's so real.

Renee Ladle Infelise
Renee Ladle Infelise

I like that they point out that Record Store Day is frustrating because everyone wants certain releases and if you don't spend big bucks with your distributor, then you won't get them....

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