Sunday, April 17, 2011

The thrill of finding a record or why every day is records store day

So, yesterday was Record Store Day. The one day in the year we call ourselves proud to be buying from an independent record store. Because on that day a bunch of artists release special editions of their work or release their new work or a re-release specifically on that day. Which causes fans all over the globe getting nervous about getting that special release. For instance, only 38 records of the special Nirvana LP specifically for this day were issued in the Netherlands. Finding one must have been a true sport. And so on.

Last year I went out on a Record Store Day stroll. I visited all the independent record stores in Amsterdam. Not to get my hands on all the Good Stuff, but merely to see how the Netherlands were doing Record Store Day. The only queue that day I saw was for the Anna Frank Museum. Some stores had some balloons up. And all the Special Editions were still there in the afternoon. You can still buy them in most stores. At Fame Record Store, not even knowing that this big three storey commercialised record store at the Dam Square was an independent record store, I caught a live performance by the young Tim Knol. I'm not into Dutch singer-songwriters but it was actually nice sitting there on the floor enjoying some unexpected music. In all though, Record Store Day 2010 has been a big let-down. For most it was simply business as usual. The only item I was interested in that year was the Cribs' first album issued on LP for the first time, pressed in limited numbers (1000) which was also to pre-order at the record company and the split 7" between the Thermals and The Cribs which also was to pre-order at KRS.

This year I let it all pass. Maybe because the releases weren't exciting to me. Maybe because it's ridiculous to draw the fans to the store only once a year for a limited edition. I understand the concept, and well, if that is what it takes to have a peak in sales that one day, so be it. But it made me feeling rather annoyed that the first release of my New Favourite Band would only be released in the USA in record shops. The (limited?) 7" was also to be bought during their tour, which is a good deal, annoying when you can't make it, but I like it when bands sell their work at tours and not just t-shirts. And a really kind and friendly person from Texas got me that 7" too. So, that was my Record Store Day.

What I meant to say, shouldn't every day be record store day? A week ago I've been at a Record Store Fair and I spent a sunny spring Saturday from 10 to 16:30 inside. I flicked through 7" hoping to find that one, through CDs hoping to find a missing piece, through LP records hoping to find that one record that made the angels sing and shine a light on that specific record (this last one happened). It was a really good day. So many records, the smell of old records, other people looking for that one record, talking about special editions (I spent at a stand longer than intended admiring a record I didn't want to have in order to listen to a conversation about the special editions of Appetite For Destruction and why you should want all of them). That's a class day out!

I too think it's sad people rather download than buy a copy they can hold in their hands (even though, let's face it, an MP3 is a lot more convenient). That people rather order online than buy in a store (where's the thrill people? don't you want angels sing down on you when you found that record and hold it up in the light shining down?). I too download, I order online sometimes, but nothing beats finding something in a record store. This should be any day in the year, not just on that one day when heaps of artists release special editions in other to please both record stores and the fans. Do this a few times a year! Surprise us! By now we actually expect bands to do something for Record Store Day. Isn't that the wrong way round?

Record Store day, I salute you, the stores, the artists and the fans, but we should do this every day, not once a year.

Picture taken on RSD2010 by me, it features record store Concerto Phantasio