For the ones who do not know Record Store Day; it is the day that we celebrate the independent record stores, the third Saturday of April. Each year this day is graced by new releases. So this day is a biggie for vinyl collectors.
After the success of 2014, 2015 was aiming for even more. In 2014 Rolling Stone calculated that 58% more records were sold. With vinyl becoming more and more popular, the scene is on the rise. Some say however that this is also the Achilles heel of RSD, the focus is more and more on making sales. The new releases are becoming so exclusive that they become commercial again..
Some of the big releases in 2015 where:
Foo Fighters – Songs From the Laundry Room
The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan
The Doors – Strange Days
Paul McCartney – The Family Way
U2 – Songs of Innocence
But not only is this day about new releases, also the culture of vinyl music and more specific of independent music stores is celebrated. With more and more commercial influence from the big labels, it can be hard for stores to have their own collection instead of all the mainstream songs. This leads to less diversity and thereby less quality. RSD is a chance to really dig through the whole variety of music. The aim is therefore not promote the mainstream big labels, but to discover some new music in the classic stores that bring us vinyl albums for decades and decades.
Numbers of records sold for RSD 2015
Still the numbers of sold records are decent:
In 2011 182.000 extra records in the week of RSD (Ambassador Ozzy Osbourne)
In 2012 192.000 extra records in the week of RSD (Ambassador Iggy Pop)
In 2013 244.000 extra records in the week of RSD (Ambassador Jack White)
In 2014 400.000 extra records in the week of RSD (Ambassador Chuck D, 58% grow!)
In 2015 500.000 extra records in the week of RSD (Ambassador Dave Grohl)
So, one could say that the RSD´s are a success. But there is also criticism. With the focus originally on independent stores, RSD is more and more captured by the big brands and labels. Making it still a great event for vinyl, but not with the focus on the gems in small stores. This is giving RSD a double character, yes the vinyl gets attention but that attention is shifting to the same big names we find anywhere in the music branch.
How to continue Record Store Day
So, in what way should RSD 2016 be presented. Are we still able to promote the ones that started this event, the small independent store owner?
Well, lets be fair, it won’t be easy. With the ambassadors being big artist with huge contracts with the main stream labels and brands, there is a lot of money on the line. And with that money, the game is played at a whole new level. With the big names representing RSD, the big money will stay. And that money is not interested in diversity and creativity. Nope big labels want to sell as many as possible. Therefore, with choosing each year ambassadors which sell millions of albums, nothing will change for the good.
It may be time to give RSD back to people who started it, the obscure small stores with numerous crates full of lp’s, those still make the backbone of R(SD).