Record Store Day, perhaps one of the greatest holidays of all, has been celebrated on the third Saturday in April since 2008, as a way to draw attention to the record industry and support local indie record stores. It is officially managed by the Dept. of Record Stores, along with the Coalition of Independent Music Stores and the Alliance of Independent Media Store. It has grown so much that there is even a second RSD now on Black Friday.
[Bonus RSD fun fact: co-founder Michael Kurtz was knighted in France in 2013.]
I love records. I do. And there is a lot of fun shit that happens on RSD–DJs, free donuts, general record nerd camaraderie. But RSD is just not as fun as it used to be, and here are four of the reasons that bother me the most. I know there are more that you will probably tell me about when you see me at the record store tomorrow. Thanks in advance!
1. Collector Weirdos
I’m sure you could call me a collector weirdo but I am not lining up at 7am so I can buy everything and put it up on eBay for exorbitant prices (aren’t we tired of price gouging people that don’t live near record stores or are working that day and can’t spend five hours at a store?). Last year one of my local stores was so full of dudes fighting over the worst crap that we hightailed it to our favorite store where there were lots of nice people (including ladies!) in line. Those people spoil the fun for everyone else.
2. Burden on Record Stores
Sure, the stores make a lot of money in one day. Between the special releases and all the other stuff people pick up (copies of Led Zeppelin/Jay-Z/whatever to complete their burgeoning collections), the indie record stores are on top for a whole day. But do you know what they have to have to get those special RSD releases in stock? Money. That shit isn’t bought on credit. There are small businesses spending thousands of dollars stockpiling things they can’t sell for weeks. It affects their ability to keep other new stuff in stock (I know I haven’t been able to get the new War on Drugs LP at any of my places).
3. Releases List Gets Less Impressive Every Year
First, it is hard to see the list because the RSD site itself is incredibly slow. Then, it’s not even in full alphabetical order, it’s split into crazy sections. More major labels have discovered RSD as a way to repackage old material, reissue it, have collectors go nuts and not be left with anymore backstock because of the word “limited” (6000 copies of a Nirvana 7″ is not “limited” and BTW, real record nerds don’t want that shit). While I will probably buy these Breadwinner & Spoon reissues on Merge and these Flying Nun things if I see them, I can’t say that looking through the list makes me reach for my credit card. Another frustrating thing is the amount of cool-looking releases I know nothing about and can’t listen to before I buy, so it’s a crapshoot. There are tons of rad comps and reissues of world music but I don’t have time to research them before tomorrow so when I see them on the shelf for five seconds before they’re sold out I have to pass.
4. Used as General Release Day
This year’s list of records is SO LONG that I would forgive you for not noticing all the normal releases on there, like the new Fear of Men. It appears to be super limited (500) but will it sell out so fast that I am only able to get it on RSD? Is Kanine repressing it? WHY DO I HAVE TO DO SO MUCH RESEARCH?
If you like music, you should support your local record stores every day of the year and not just these two special days.
Despite all of this, I will be attending my local RSD festivities, because there is a lot of fun stuff about it, like texting Hilary about what records we’re buying, live music, hanging out with my cute husband for a few hours, and a sense of wonder and excitement. Even though I am an old cranky person I still love seeing young people get stoked about music and buying records.