Tuesday, April 17, 2012
"Are you participating in Record Store Day?"
In a word, no. Record Store Week? Month? Life? Yeah, you can count us in for those. Is it strange for a record store to denounce an event meant to raise the profile of independent record stores? Not really, if you consider what kind of store RV is, what we stock, what we sell, and the fact that I, as the human being in charge of the operation, don't like being told what to do. I can't help that if "everybody's doing it", I won't be. The reality is, I have a few legitimate reasons to lift my leg on RSD, and no, being a music snob isn't really one of them.
I feel I owe customers an explanation, and rather than having this conversation with every third person who calls wanting to know if we'll have whatever limited Phish release is on offer this year, here's the deal.
1) I don't do much with major labels or major distributors. I find it incredibly disingenuous that major labels are pushing anything to do with vinyl records after trying their damnedest to stamp out the format in the 90s. Not only is there little that's new, compelling or rich on most major labels, it is pathetic and transparent that they're greedily grabbing at the last physical music format that sells. Cynical is the word that comes to mind. I'd rather support small labels, distribs and bands by dealing with them directly.
2) We like music that's psychedelic, unusual, new, international, experimental, local, etc... not a whole lot of that on the RSD list this year. Long story short here: there's not a lot on that list that we'd stock anyway.
3) I hate the creation of these faux "collectables"... by "limiting" some release to 1000 copies or whatever, they believe they're creating rare records, when in fact all it leads to is eBay pre-sales, "collector" hoarding, and some sterile piece of shit that sits on your shelf because it's "rare", and never gets played. Here's the deal, folks - don't be a "record collector" - be a record user. They're created to be played and enjoyed, not left shrink-wrapped as some kind of trophy. People that listen to records are cool. People that "collect" records are tosspots. Don't fall into the trap of these fake-o "limited" records. Do you really think any of these desperate record companies and labels are going to leave money on the table? Create a 1000 piece item for 5000 buyers? They simply re-press the record (usually before RSD even happens), so they can make sure everybody that wants to pay is able to. Ever notice there's always more than enough of these "limited" items to go around on eBay after RSD? Hmm.
4) To continue on the last point, buy new music - ie something new to you - rather than buying yet another useless 7" of music you already have because it is supposedly "limited".
5) Small stores get boned in the RSD world. That's not whining, that's reality, and another reason I choose not to take part. We don't get the quantity or quality of the big stores in larger markets... I totally get and accept that, and choose not to play.
6) Record Stores will continue to exist before and after RSD. We have the same expenses, bills and overhead on October 3rd as we do on April 21st. If you're into records, support your local store(s) year round. We will continue to stock cool, unusual, and truly rare LPs, from here to eternity.
7) I don't like that our medium - vinyl records - that was brought back to life by music fans in the most organic way possible (people like you and I decided they sound better and are superior to CD/download) has been co-opted by "the man". As stated before, these major label clowns are the same people who let the industry fall down around their ears, continuing to push CDs while ignoring the digital explosion that would ultimately cost many of them their jobs. Now they've attached themselves to what they see as a "trend" because people are buying records and they want a piece of it. They see people buying used records, from which they don't profit... hence the glut of reissues of common records by these creeps.
8) The Numero Group offered up an excellent Tweet last week that basically asked the question, how is some limited, useless RSD 7" any different than a corny Elvis collectable plate or a Hummel in some old lady's display case? Not different at all, from where I'm standing. Dig their laugh-a-second blog post lampooning all this RSD wankery:
Well, Happy Record Store Day!! We'll be here Saturday, open regular hours, doing regular old shit like putting out a bunch of killer new arrivals, drinking beer, and generally enjoying the greatest job in the world. Sharing new sounds is the whole reason I'm here. I love music and it should be joyful. It should be about creating something beautiful. Let's make it so.
PS: Numero's WTNG compilation is the only officially sanctioned Record Store Day item we'll have in the store on Saturday. We'll have new music from some great becoming bands, some vintage sealed LPs from the 60s-80s, and the best of a great buy we made last weekend. So business as usual then.