Saturday 21 April
a day that’s worth celebrating. After misogynistic rubbish – National Cleavage Day, really? – Record Store Day (RSD) is here to proudly thrust it’s chest out and flaunt it’s wares to a public that might just pay attention for at least one day a year.
Cast your mind back to when you last went into an independent record store compared to when you last walked into an established high street store or simply clicked ‘download’ online. I admit that I moved to Cardiff in October and am still yet to go to any of this city’s wonderful record stores.
I am ashamed of that, because record stores matter; certainly beyond the one designated day of the year.
Independent record stores are treasure troves of music and a throwback to the days when music was less disposable. Nowadays a lot is online, so being lost are those regular trips to the record store where you’d pick up a record, swap it with mates, share you thoughts with the owner and hunt for a recommendations.
Because of that, perhaps that’s why artists enthusiastically release music exclusively for RSD. There’s a side to music that seems to want to keep music special and give direct recognition to the role record stores have played over the years. With big names filling the shelves with exclusive content, it might get people that haven’t been before searching out the shop and making the store a regular fixture because of what they find.
In fact, independent stores might be making something of a comeback. With BBC 6 Music announcing that they will broadcast a chart based purely on physical sales from record stores, could it be that the muso’s might be making a comeback? Even the people that normally document the number of sold Rihanna albums have something to say about the importance of record stores. Martin Talbot, Managing Director of the Official Charts Company said:
“We very much hope that the Official Record Store Chart will serve to harness the focus created by Record Store Day and help maintain it week in, week out, through the year”
There’s still a sticky point with all of this though: vinyl. Personally, I’ve never been attracted to it, but then there’s those people who love it – the feel, the smell, the colour and not to mention the sound. RSD is all bout novelties, bringing limited edition vinyl to the music lovers to symbolise the entire ethos of the day; to keep music special and personal.
To some, being able to have that tactile feeling of putting the needle on the music is what fuels their passion for the next track. That said, is vinyl ever going to go out of fashion? Digital music is portable and in some ways, democratic, with the vast majority of it being copied and shared. How do you measure the popularity of an old-school medium like vinyl on any other day of the year?
So without trying to sound like a charity appeal – ‘just 2 records a month’ – go visit your local record stores more than once a year, away from the scenesters who pitch up expecting something out a Nick Hornby novel. Not only are you likely to learn something, you might just pick up a record which no-one else knows and disconnect yourself from social networks and the rest of the internet, finding your own voice in the process.
That alone should be worth more than one day a year. HP