Today Is International Record Store Day
Music lovers, artists and independently owned purveyors of recorded music are joining together today to celebrate the seventh annual Record Story Day. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products have been made exclusively for today and hundreds of artists across the globe will make special appearances and performances.
At the Advocates for Independent Retail National Leadership Summit, over in the US in 2007, record shop owners expressed their concerns over the growing industry of digital music, and its knock-on effect: the decline in sales of physical music products. As a result, Record Shop Day was born - a day to unite like-minded people and form a community of support and appreciation of buying, playing and listening to music.
From vinyl records, audio tapes and compact discs, to digital mp3s, podcasts and instant streaming, there has been a drastic development recently in the way that music is now shared, bought and listened to. An attendee at a past Record Shop Day stated, “my little cousins download music, but their music is really expendable. The cycle of a good artist for them is two weeks. That way you’re not enjoying it - it’s like eating fast food”. This suggests that the ease of access to what is essentially digital material, contributed to pushing vinyl records and then CDs out of fashion – not forgetting their heftiness and the time and cost involved in purchasing them.
Independent record stores worldwide now cooperate with label owners, artists and consumers to celebrate the art of music by publicising Record Store Day. Exclusive limited edition releases on vinyl, as well as the release of other products and promotions, will take place including live performances from various artists and DJs. In a video interview another past attendee to Record Store Day said, “when I woke up this morning it felt like Christmas - Christmas for nerds!” It seems evident that music fanatics really do value the idea.
Despite once being feared on the brink of extinction, it seems that vinyl is not ready to be consigned to the history books. Last year vinyl sales hit a seventeen year high, so it appears they may no longer be seen as antique and instead, are coming back into fashion. As a result of this trend, many stores have even now begun to stock more vinyl than CDs!
A sales assistant from Rough Trade, an independent record store in London, commented “music has been somewhat cheapened in recent years since it’s become more available. It used to be a sacred thing that people would save up for and focus on. What record stores like Rough Trade intend, is to bring back the more soulful aspect of it, with the idea of owning something”.
Anyone who has used vinyl records probably agrees that nothing compares to the tangible feel, shiny surface and individual grooves of a record that plays such a raw-but-rich sound, as it spins on its platter. When a record is not being listened to it also sits neatly away, appreciated in its own ornate sleeve, with a unique touch and a unique smell.
Edith Bowman, BBC radio presenter and music journalist, thinks that record stores should be supported, “independent record shops are like the heart and soul of the industry. It’s where music started - in terms of where people could first get their hands on music way back, and to lose that would be such a shame. I’m so happy to have this anniversary to remind people how important it is”.