Now that the weekend is over and everyone has their prized and treasured pieces and are back to the daily grind of life, I think it’s the perfect time to give some of you a reality check.
*Disclaimer READ this entire post not once but twice, maybe even three times and get your knee jerk reaction out of before you start slamming me. I am writing this for you to see things from a different perspective. I don’t expect you to agree with me. Nor do I care if you don’t. And folks if you are reading this and say “I shop at a record store daily, weekly, monthly, and on RSD” Do I really need to tell you that this rant doesn’t apply to you?
Here’s the short version before you read the article;
1) Stop using the phrase ” It’s Record Store Day- support your local record store”
2) There are politics and hoops that YOUR local record store has to go through to be a part of Record Store Day and supply you with your pretty vinyl limited pressing.
Let the rant BEGIN!!
Okay folks, for years the tag line that is always associated with Record Store Day is “go out there and support your local record store.” Now, I don’t have a problem with the idea of Record Store Day and the exclusivity of that pretty pink and white 180 gram vinyl that has only 200 pressings. There is a market for collecting vinyl just like collecting comics. And funnily enough that the creation of Record Store Day is based on the inspiration of Free Comic Book Day.
It’s a wonderful and inspirational concept of bringing new fans into the store. But it’s mayhem, it’s chaos, and really do you think that you are learning anything or getting exposed to something new in a cramped small record shop after lining up with many people who have been there for hours and are now bitching about the entire situation they put themselves in. Really this is a great shopping experience? I wouldn’t buy my toaster this way, why the hell would I want to by music in this environment? But why do you do it? It’s the pull of that limited pressing, I get it.
I remember my first time I walked into a record store when I was 16 years old and looking for some music. It was Second Wave in Brantford, Canada (which FYI has been closed down for many years now) and my experience was similar to this.
Albeit, the store was not even close to being as busy as this. But the amount that I learned about music with every visit to the record store, the owner would put aside music for me that he knew I would like. That’s a wonderful relationship between a record store and a music fan. This does not happen on Record Store Day.
I get all knee jerky when someone tells me that they bought a record on Record Store Day to support their local record shop. Don’t tell me that its about supporting your local record shop. That to me, is a crock of shit. It’s marketing folks, Record Store Day is absolutely no different than a Comicon convention or the Boxing Day and Black Friday sales that some of you will bitch about. It’s all about finding ways to push sales of a specific music label. Because now, exclusivity is the only way to guarantee sales and continue the momentum of a band/label so you stop pirating that shit! Shock HORROR that the music industry should be considered a business.
I always find it fascinating that the music fans (generally speaking here) think that using the tag “It’s Record Store Day – go out and support your local record shop” is some form of supporting and being an activist for the music industry and small businesses. In the same breath some of you music fans will bitch about the high prices of show venues of their favourite bands, complain that the band sold out because they are finally on a larger distro label, or that they’re on mainstream radio and are overplayed.
And folks Record Store Day is about exclusivity and music snobbery. Don’t get it twisted. Interestingly enough my other half was in the area of Vortex Records (Toronto, Canada) today and picked up the Dance Craze vinyl for me. The store was dead, and it’s Record Store Day. They didn’t participate in RSD2014 and here’s the politics behind that. You might say well, that’s only in Toronto, that doesn’t happen in (Fill in your city). Wake up and smell the polyvinyl chloride! Right before the insane onslaught of RSD, The Quietus put out a great article questioning has Record Store Day become too big? Supply and demand for one day of the year is really taking it’s toll on the stores, labels, distros, and the pressing plants. As consumers, I think we all forget/don’t know about the details and the amount of work that goes into anything like this. Or even worse, do we care at all?
What’s the point of this insane inflammatory Fuck You to Record Store Day – Support Your Local Record Shop? Here’s what I think. First, stop using that phrase, seriously folks you are insulting your local record shop if you are only going in once a year because of Record Store Day.
Next, this is for the music industry. Yes, YOU! The giant wheel that pulls all the strings. If you really care about the local record shops curating your vinyl exclusives blah blah; do it on a quarterly basis, not only does your label, your musicians get a continued momentum but the traffic in the record stores will be perhaps more consistent? Cause you care about the little record shop owner, RIGHT? Riiiiiiiiiiiggggggggggghht.
My final thoughts on this mess, old, new, or used, if the music is good then buy it , and buy often. But don’t just do it once a year because of that 180 gram pink & white vinyl exclusive.