Record Store Day has become one of the most popular events with lovers of the vinyl format, with thousands queuing outside of independent record stores across the country. The event last year saw 547,000 records being sold in one week across the UK and, more specifically, sales figures of 12” records jumped up 4,350%.
With new consumers of the format and thousands entering stores on the day, most independent stores see the day as a celebration but there are some doubters. Speaking to Newcastle-based independent record store Vinyl Guru, they said that: “Records Store Day is the highlight of the year for the many independent record shops taking part and their customers; there’s always a great atmosphere on the day and it allows shops to show the advantages of buying from a bricks and mortar store over online purchases.
“Customers will never experience online the thrill they get from tracking down that elusive vinyl in person and holding it in their hands, or benefit from the passion and expertise of record shop staff to help discover new music via an algorithm”.
One of the major positives of the day they express is customer satisfaction which is continually growing on each Record Store Day with new limited edition presses available each year. Last year saw the pressing of 5000 7” singles from The Smith’s single ‘The Boy With The Thorn In His Side’ alongside other special releases from the likes of David Bowie, The Cure and more contemporary artists like Mac DeMarco. These special releases offer audiences a rare vinyl which, for most vinyl collectors, is something more sentimental than a simple 12” LP from nationwide stores the likes of HMV.
However, some independent record stores prefer to sell past records and not new releases, one of these being Saxosoul Records in Darlington who said they: “Do not have any real interest in the day. I know many people who spend hours in queues to purchase vinyl to subsequently list them on auction sites the same day; there are genuine collectors, of course, who want the limited releases on the day. I do not sell new, sealed vinyl records and have no interest in doing so.
“The feedback from my customers is that they would rather buy a used original than a modern-day reissue for two reasons: it is cheaper and the sound quality is better on an original copy”.
They showcase fears of people using the day to make a profit on rare vinyls available from record stores around the region by simply buying with the intention to sell. Although this is a valid and very prominent issue with Record Store Day, it shouldn’t take away from genuine fans of the format.
There is a clear juxtaposition between the views of regional independent stores: despite some believing that the day is an annual highlight and others preferring to sell previously owned records, the day celebrates the continual growth of vinyl.
The annual report from the BPI showcases a total of 4.1 million LP’s being sold in 2017, a 26% rise from 2016. With vinyl sales at their highest ever, this year’s Record Store Day is one which will go to unite all physical format fans with exclusive releases from world-renowned artists such as Bob Dylan and AC/DC. The day over the years has seen thousands culminate to record stores across the region from the early hours to the days following the event and this year’s proceedings show no sign of stopping this trend.
So for you genuine fans of limited edition records, head to your closest record store on Saturday 21st April and please don’t use the day to make a profit.