What is Record Store Day? Is it a celebration of a culture? Is it one last chance to save a dying institution? Or is it just a way of saying goodbye?
I think it might be all the above.
Record Store Day is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. This will be the 3rd year that the 3rd Saturday in April has been set aside for record stores. On this day many of these stores provide food, drink, live performance and most importantly, limited-edition releases (most on vinyl) from independent-minded artists. All of these releases are only available on this one day at your local record store. You can’t buy them on the Internet or at Best Buy and you can’t get them on Sunday.
Last Record Store Day I was shoveling snow out of my driveway in order to participate. If I remember correctly, the sun came out that day, but there was a ton of ice and snow the night before. I remember stepping in a puddle outside Twist & Shout and feeling like my foot was going turn to ice and shatter.
This year, it might be raining, but there will be no ice and snow….it should be in the 50s. And once again, I will be out running around Denver visiting our local independent record stores. I will try to spread the love around by visiting as many as I can. Hopefully you will do the same, no matter what city you are in. Check out Record Store Day’s website for participating stores and events in your area.
So back to the question posed above. What is Record Store Day?
It is a celebration of a culture. A culture that is still around but in a much smaller way than it was before digital music. I remember living in San Diego as a teenager and spending hours at Lou’s Records. Browsing through the used vinyl, CDs and DVDs. I remember asking the hipster at the counter ‘what is this that’s playing?‘ and buying the album based on that song I just heard at the record store. I remember saving my allowance as a kid and riding my bike to Nancy’s Records to buy …And Justice For All on cassette tape the day it came out and then playing it on my yellow Sony Sports Walkmen the whole way home.
I love the fact I can download any album or song I want whenever I want…but I miss the excitement I got back then. Opening a new album, tape or CD and reading the liner notes. Listening to it over and over again until I knew all the words. This makes me believe that record stores are an institution worth saving. I really believe that the loose of record stores would be a very sad thing for our country and for the kids growing up in it.
That being said, I think every 3rd Saturday in April we are saying goodbye to the record store. The major guys are already gone. The Tower Records and Warehouses. And these independents will be in the next decade. There is just no way to compete in the modern age. My hope is that they do keep a small presence is large cities like San Francisco and New York, but I am sad to say I doubt I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day in Denver.