Can Record Store Day save the dying Record Store?
Record stores: remember those? Independent music stores in America and abroad get a day to celebrate (and mourn their losses) on April 17 this year.
This is a time for artists large and small, dead and very much alive and on fire, to give a little something to fans and to the stores that continue to support them on local, tastemaking levels.
Record Store Day may not save record stores, but it is a valid moment of reflection and expression: to offer something special to vinyl lovers, for collectors, for hipsters to brandish their flags.
But are those the only groups of people that appreciate the "holiday?" In such limited supply, the pressings of these exclusive and fan-centered projects aren't enough to boost sales on their own -- they're supposed to be a gateway drug into the other aisles of the store, an enticing way to get customers into the doors and out with more than just the RSD release of, well, The Doors.
Those are the customers who are already aware of their local record shop, and of Record Store Day, so is the appeal really meta in stature?
[Read more after the jump...]
In 2009, there was a 1% increase in album sales for indie stores due to Record Store Day, according to Billboard retail guru Ed Christman. That's just the independent stores. Vinyl sales from that week compared to the same week of 2008 were doubled --- but that was only 80,000 units, spread out over hundreds of stores.
But I don't want to rain on anybody's parade. Stores have thrown parties, invited popular local bands to play their compact spaces. It's a good time and drink beer and pretend that big box retailers, the overall decline of album sales and the limited appeal of vinyl format aren't cramping their style. I mean, just look at the complete list of all Record Store Day releases. And look at some of the most major artists contributing exclusives: Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Dave Matthews.
Do the artists get any monetary benefit from Record Store Day? Likely not, considering they get pennies on the dollar of even a regular sale. It's the label that gets a wider percentage and then disperses it. Is it a holiday for labels, then? They should be as invested in independent retail as independent retailers are, should they wish to make their content appear more exclusive and valuable as ever.
So why should you support RSD and indie retailers? Well, you don't have to, if you don't think good taste ought to be rewarded.
Check out this mostly comprehensive gallery on the hottest RSD releases for Saturday. What will you buy?
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
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