Record Store Day was, by all accounts, a triumph. I popped out early on to distribute some Record Shop City leaflets to the queue outside Piccadilly just before opening time. Amazingly, the queue was snaking around the block as far as Beatin’ Rhythm records and I soon ran out of the 100 or so leaflets I had with me and cursed myself for not printing 100 more but I’d been DJ-ing the previous night so I had a suitably rock and roll excuse. If you were in the queue and you’d like one it’s available here. Note the preponderance of young people, and even some women in the queue…not quite the stereotypical ‘Hi Fidelity’ image of your average record shop punter is it? The kids at the front of the queue had been there since 4.30am.
Our man Carl visited King Bee and found Les doing brisk trade as ever. King Bee wasn’t a participating store although to be fair, every saturday is Record Store Day in that part of the world!
In terms of raising awareness about the ongoing resilience of independent music retailers the day was definitely a success with lots of press features (some Manchester related ones are reproduced here..and here), and much discussion and debate about Record Shops. For one day it restored something that the internet has taken away from music retailers, exclusivity and scarcity of the product they are selling. For a brief moment record shops had ‘stuff ‘that nobody could download for free, or buy cheaper on Amazon. Of course the bubble was burst within hours as certain mercenary folk put their Blur or Beatles singles on Ebay, hardly in the spirit of the event but somewhat inevitable.
Still, the fact that such an event occurs at all says a lot about the determination of people who love record shops to keep them alive. While it is great to have record shop exclusives available for one day it does beg the question why record labels can’t do this every saturday? Surely more releases could be made available to record shops ahead of their online or download release date, and more could be done to provide interesting and exclusive items for record shops to sell. The shops have shown that they’re capable of moving with the times and adapting to the seismic shifting of the music industry goalposts, its time record labels did their bit to help too, and not just once a year.