Updated: Nov 12, 2020
For serious music lovers around the world, vinyl records remain the superior format for listening to cherished bands and artists. Anyone who disagrees is either too young to understand or has not been enlightened yet by the high fidelity of a Crosley record player. It can be hard for us music nerds to accept the lack of song credits and creative packaging the streaming age has offered us in exchange for mobility and convenience. Not to mention, it is becoming increasingly harder to buy classic 12 inch and 7 inch vinyl because local record shops are closing every time we blink our eyes. But every year Record Store Day reminds us that all hope for music authenticity is not lost. This year we get to rejoice three times.
Since 2008, Record Store Day has proclaimed itself as an unofficial holiday falling typically in April. The gathering of independent record store owners, employees and music junkies gave birth to the day that dedicates its existence to preserving the unique culture record stores have always upheld. On this special day, record companies and artists alike recognize the power of their fans and distribute exclusive, limited-edition vinyl to participating independent record shops.
Every year except for this one, fans would line up down the block in hopes of purchasing their favorite artists’ once-in-a-lifetime records. Covid-19 disrupted the Record Store Day experience, but only mildly. As a result of the pandemic, Record Store Day organizers decided to change the protocol from having the event only be one day and instead made it into three. The decision was made to discourage crowds at record shops, which tend to be small in space, and promote safe social distancing practices.
Although safety was the organizers’ main motivation, three dates of exclusive record drops has surprisingly created a smarter ordinance that should be formally established for the future. Shorter lines will benefit customers, employees and owners not only in pandemic time but also hereafter because of the smaller wait time and decreased chaos within the store. Not having one large drop of over 100 titles in one day will also lessen the stress for small record shops when it comes to receiving and setting up the records. Since all the titles released on each date are available online, it is a more flexible schedule for a fan to have the ability to obtain their record if they are not able to on one day.
I had the privilege of participating in Record Store Day this year in August, where I waited patiently outside of Newbury Comics six feet apart from my fellow music lover. I am now the proud owner of Pink Floyd’s debut single “Arnold Layne” 7-inch vinyl, making me one out of 7,500 proud owners.
If you love collecting vinyl and you love music, check out Record Store Day’s official website to read the list of upcoming drops and a participating store near you. This Saturday will be the next date and Oct. 24 is the final day.
Photo credit: WIX.com