Record Store Day, a bi-annual event that has record collectors marking their calendars and waiting in often massive lines, will be held this Saturday, April 18. Local record stores Fat Cats Books, Movies & Music and 641rpm will open their doors in the morning expecting one of their busiest days of the year.
Record Store Day started in 2007 as a way to help re-popularize independently owned record stores through the release of limited edition, exclusive releases that were not available online or at corporate music sellers. Over the years, it has grown exponentially, with the amount of releases increasing every year. In 2010, it was made a bi-annual event, with the normal Record Store Day continuing to happen the third Saturday of April, and a Black Friday event being added in November.
This year promises exclusive releases from Bob Dylan, Phish, The Flaming Lips, Grateful Dead, Brian Eno, Metallica and hundreds more.
Both Fat Cats and 641rpm will be carrying many of the exclusive releases, in addition to their regular stocks of new and used vinyl. It is expected to be their best day of the year, both in terms of sales and foot traffic.
“It motivates old and new customers. Being there early in the morning, there’s an excitement and interest that is fun to see. My opinion as an owner of a small business is anything that is available to have people come to your store is a good thing,” said Kevin Frith, owner of Fat Cats Books, Movies & Music.
“It is something that we look forward to.”
With all the positive attention Record Store Day brings to independent record stores, it also has received its fair share of controversy among some music fans and stores alike. In addition to featuring seemingly more corporate label releases than music from independent labels, it has also become a cash grab for many customers, who often turn around and sell the limited edition releases they purchase for extremely high prices, as opposed to actually listening to and enjoying the music.
“It always breaks my heart to see people that we only ever see on that day pick up releases that our loyal customers would likely pick up if they could snag it first,” said Travis Reyes, owner of 641rpm.
“Then hearing these once a year customers talk about how they’re going to flip those same records on eBay for four to five times what they just paid for them.”
While this practice is generally frowned upon by record store employees and fans alike, the day does have plenty of positive factors, and both stores will have live music as a celebration for the occasion. The night before the big day, on Friday, April 17, 641rpm will have an in-store show featuring touring acts Jeff Zagers and Human Pippi Armstrong, in addition to local electronic act Sex Injury. The show will start at 9:00 p.m. and is $5 at the door.
On Record Store Day, Fat Cats will have free live music throughout the day. Bands include local favorites Viewfinder, JC Graves, Eve Stirwin, Posture and Jon Dwyer. Music will start at 2:00 p.m. and will go until around 7:00 p.m.
So whether you support the official “holiday” of Record Store Day or not, consider supporting these local businesses.
Fat Cats will be open at 9:00 and 641rpm will open at 11:00 the morning of Record Store Day.
For more information on Record Store Day and list of all the releases, visit http://www.recordstoreday.com/Home.