Frontier Psychiatrist

Why Every Day Should Be Record Store Day

Posted on: April 20, 2012

record store day 2012

This Saturday marks the return of Record Store Day, as you should have heard. There are many strong, exclusive releases coming out this year, all of which can be found over at their official website. While it is great to see the music industry rally together to support the merchandising arm, we must ask the obvious question: why only one day?

It’s no secret that people don’t buy music like they used to. New CDs are overpriced and useless, and the idea of purchasing files that you don’t really own for $10 when it’s just as easy (less so now) to download and share music without an iTunes account. Online streaming services put far more music in the ears of the people than ever before, and we couldn’t be more grateful. However, what isn’t said is that these services shouldn’t be a substitute for the neighborhood record store; rather they should supplement your music listening experience.

As media gets progressively more social, and actual media products become more ubiquitous, cheaper and far easier to obtain, a value added is necessary to keep the customers coming. Record stores are an excellent venue for music exploration and ownership, two features that should be held dear in our new virtual age. Sure, Spotify will tell you what artists sound like what you’re currently playing, and Pandora will create entire radio stations of music you could potentially like, but nowhere else can that happen in a real, engaging manner like in a record store. And rather to steal or stream, record stores allow you to participate in the music industry, by purchasing, carrying and spinning a piece of art. In the days of cloud computing and online chatting, a real experience with a real product helps us stay grounded; keeps us alive in the real.

Unfortunately, instead of people realizing that added value on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis, we must remind them that these stores exist one official day a year. It’s essentially a marketing issue, and Record Store Day is a marketing solution, a poor one at that. By setting up an international event with exclusive releases, in-store performances and free beer (some places), struggling small businesses enjoy packed venues and high-sales volumes, relatively. However, instead of your average record collectors, most business is actually done by enterprising Internet resellers. Piggybacking on the exclusivity of the releases, flipping some of the most sought after discs for double, triple or worse the original price online, resellers effectively cut the music industry and infrastructure out of the majority of the profits. This is bullshit.

Will we be participating in Record Store Day? You bet your ass we will, because the end, it’s still about the business and keeping it alive (and the Shabazz Palaces Dross Glop #4 is very bad ass). But we won’t keep ourselves to one day, and stoop to unfulfilling marketing tactics. You want to help the industry and help yourself? Pick a personal monthly Record Store Day. You won’t regret it.

Peter Lillis is Assistant Editor of Frontier Psychiatrist. You can find him at Reckless Records and Permanent Records in Chicago this Saturday.

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4 Responses to "Why Every Day Should Be Record Store Day"

I like what you’re saying, but I have one issue with your article? How are ownership rights any different when you purchase music on CD vs on vinyl?

Good point, Zach. I guess I wasn’t entirely clear: I think there is ownership to purchasing a CD, I just don’t think that medium is worthwhile anymore. The ownership comment was more directed to iTunes and all those other platforms where you can purchase files, but are abstract (as opposed to tangible), and overly hard to transfer from hard drive to hard drive. I had a computer and hard drive stolen out of my car a few years ago, and iTunes didn’t allow me to get ANY of my purchased music back. My vinyl collection is less at risk. And even more so, I’m proud to hold them in my hand and have them on display in my home.

Assuming you still have the same iTunes account, you should be able to get that back now. This is a new feature. It is ridiculous that this wasn’t always available.

Also, if you left your record collection in the back of the car on a hot day you would be just as unlucky 🙂

[…] was tempted to buy A Wasteland Companion on vinyl on Record Store Day, during which I hit four shops in New Jersey before and after a somewhat premature beach trip. […]

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