Record Store Day 2016, 16/04/2016

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Record Store Day!!

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I love this day, even before I started collecting vinyl, I adored the passion and commitment of vinyl collectors to this day and what it does for music and the local record shops. I didn’t grow up with vinyls, yes my dad had (still has) a massive collection of amazing records. Half of which are probably worth a fortune as they were east German black market records he wasn’t even allowed to have (yeah my dad is kick-ass like that). I did always love music though, I started with cassette tapes (and still have a collection of mix tapes in the attic) sitting in front of the radio waiting for my favourite song to come on so I could record it. Kids nowadays don’t know the struggle of not constantly being able to listen to your favorite or any music for free.  Later on, my CD collection grew and online downloading became more and more popular. Until I was 18, things like spotify and online streaming were still miles away, MTV still showed mostly music videos with only the odd reality TV (this makes me sound, and feel, super old!). I did indeed play my records until they broke, until my stereo broke (Frank Turner reference).

London made me fall in love with vinyl, the idea of music being pressed onto rubber and music coming out of it fascinates me. The physical owning of a piece of musical history is something special. When your favourite band releases a new album we used to run to the record shops and buy the CD. Now you just download it, or worse, stream it online. But nothing feels better than a physical copy of someone’s piece of work… piece of art. Music is art, and as such it should be treated. It doesn’t always receive this treatment, music has become a background noise for a lot of people, something we take for granted and if this band breaks up a new band will come along.

I’ve always appreciated music as a form of art, maybe 13 year old me thought more that the art part of music was the good looks of Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys, but my older self has definitely appreciated the art form that is music with every record I bought or listened to and every concert I go to. This is people putting together sounds with instruments to make you feel all the feels, to make you be able to express something you had no knowledge of how to express it.

Back to vinyl (or is it vinyls… does anyone know?). Record Stores are struggeling, they always have. You’d think with the revival of the vinyl format they’d be fine, but au contraire. With big companies like amazon or Sainsbury’s wanting a piece of the hipster action, it becomes more and more difficult for Record Shops to keep their customers when it is so easy to get the same record for the same price delivered to your door. But here’s the catch, nothing beats the feeling of rambling through a box of records and finding exactly what you were looking for and maybe a little gem along the way. To have a chat with the boys and girls working in the shops. Plus, your streaming and online downloads means your favorite bands needs to sell a lot more records/downloads in order to make a living, which means more recording, more touring… which all sounds great but this can wear your favourite band down. And in the end, mean they can no longer afford to make music.

Bruce Springsteen put it spot-on in a documentary for All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records he says “Record stores are the place where your dreams meet the listener” and that is how it should be. So celebrate RSD, love your vinyls, support your local record shop, get those special edits. But here’s two rules:

  1. Don’t be a douche and sell them on ebay for horrendous prices
  2. Pay a visit to your local record shop on other days of the year as well

Now go forth and enjoy your records. I shall be playing mine!

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