When Record Store Day got started in 2008 as a celebration of the culture of independent music retail, it certainly had its fair share of naysayers. “The world has moved on,” they decreed! “Why fetishize the past when you could be embracing the digital future”? At the time, new LP sales in the previous year hovered at a little under a million units. Big box stores and online retail had been causing many beloved local shops to close their doors.
It’s hard to really gauge how much RSD is a direct factor, but by 2013, annual LP sales were up over 600%, topping six million units annually. And that’s a Soundscan figure, so it doesn’t include retailers that don’t report to Soundscan or many DIY mailorder operations. While this certainly hasn’t been enough to offset the decline of CD sales, the repopularization of the vinyl format has been extremely helpful in keeping many indie retailers afloat.
That alone is cause for some serious celebration (and we’ll be in line Saturday morning hoping to score that REM Unplugged 4XLP) but it’s also worth asking what we can learn from this success. Here’s a few ideas:
April is a good month to remind yourself just why it is so important to show your support for musicians. Here are some ways to get you started:
Record Store Day. Saturday, April 21 independently owned brick and mortar records stores all over the world celebrate the 5th annual Record Store Day. Hundreds of artists make special appearances and performances, and participating independent record stores offer exclusive CD and vinyl releases, as well as other promotional products with limited availability. What a perfect day to take a stroll to your nearest mom and pop music store and enjoy some good ol’ records browsing! Find the participating stores at www.recordstoreday.com. read more