Record Store Day may have been pushed to June but I’m still going to whine about it, goddamnit.
I got into collecting records in my early twenties, and by that point, Record Store Day was an established and celebrated tradition. And why wouldn’t it be worth something celebrating? Organizers were trying to incentivize people to check out their local stores with appearances from bands like the Deftones or TV on the Radio and were giving long-time patrons, and newbies like myself, access to some cool new releases and some even cooler re-releases.
Despite its good intentions, Record Store Day has its fair share of detractors, myself included. Between the scarcity value of many of the exclusive releases, the almost complete inability to get those releases outside major cities, and labels imposing an apparent “no returns” policy for store owners with extra stock, the appeal of Record Store Day is becoming more of a mystery every year. What should be a show of support for local businesses and the music industry as a whole has become more akin to a miserable Black Friday sale.
I’m going to harp on that first point because the limited availability of some of the RSD exclusives is my major gripe with the event. Sure, there are freakishly limited runs like the Melvins’ (A) Senile Animal, but the value via scarcity approach of Record Store Day releases is becoming more and more common. Take the re-release of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s E. 1999 Eternal from just last year. Even in major US cities, record nerds of Discogs have stories of waiting in line for hours on end to grab a copy. For those of use who missed our shot, we’re stuck sifting through $100+ postings from online resellers.
I don’t know how to phrase this without sounding like a dirty hippie, but Record Store Day just feels like it’s been hijacked by greed.
I want to make one thing perfectly clear, it’s extremely important to support your local owned businesses, music-based and otherwise. Whether it’s Record Store Day or not, take a trip down to your local shop(s). If you’re lucky enough to live in a city with in-store performances, absolutely go and support it. But, if you’re one of those high-priced resellers that are keeping me from getting a copy of David Bowie’s Earthling, get fuuuuuuuucked.
Written by Justin Bruce
*Edited by Dominic Abate