For anyone who considers themselves a true music fan or vinyl collector Record Store Day is like Christmas, but better.
Record Store Day is an annual celebration of independent music vendors and vinyl. This is the event’s fifth year, and independent records shops from all over the world are participating, including Kamloops’s Spinners Sound Centre.
Carrie Colliton is one of the founding members of Record Store Day. For her, the day is about the culture of these small businesses and the role they play in their communities.
“We’re trying to draw attention to, and celebrate, the independently owned local record stores and their place in the community, year-round,” she explains.
Record Store Day was started by a group of record store owners, inspired by Free Comic Book Day’s celebration of comic book stores and their customers. From there it became an international holiday of sorts, with music fans lining up outside stores for the opportunity to purchase limited releases, singles and entire albums created especially for Record Store Day.
This year fans will find special releases by The Flaming Lips, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, The Civil Wars, Thievery Corporation, Paul McCartney, David Bowie and more. Singer/songwriter Feist also teamed up with metal band Mastadon for a special release featuring each band covering the other’s material.
Sure, you may have catalogues from your favourite artists on your iPod, but purchasing a record and listening to it on a turntable is a much more intimate experience. It seems more people are realizing this—according to Nielsen SoundScan vinyl LP sales increased by 36 per cent last year. Whether it’s the romanticism of placing a record on a turntable and listening to the crackles and pops as it plays, or the more personable appearance of a record sleeve, having a record collection is appealing to more and more people.
Colliton reached out to fans on Facebook to inquire into the phenomenon. Replies from Record Store Day Facebook fans stated that people prefer the sound and style of vinyl.
“A lot of them were adamant that the sound is just better on vinyl . . . others like the fact that they have this artefact that they could hold on to, the artwork, the lyrics, everything—they just feel a closer connection to it,” she says. “Others like the actual process of putting vinyl on the turntable and concentrating on the listening experience, which is different than listening to music in a digital form, there’s no question.”
A quote from Damon Albarn (Blur, The Gorillaz) on the Record Store Day website explains his positive outlook for local music shops:
“I think independent record shops will outlive the music industry as we know it because, long-term, their value to people is far greater, because even in our era of file-sharing and blogs, you can’t replace the actual look on someone’s face when they’re playing something they really rate and think you should listen to it too. It’s special.”
Join the world in celebrating local music stores and vinyl April 21, and keep the tables turning. This annual event takes place the third Saturday of April, but some good vinyl and good vibes are available from a local record shop any day.