Should Record Store Day Exclude Online Shops?

April 15th, 2011

Vinyl record geeks and turntable enthusiasts all over the blogosphere have been digging in their couches for coins all month to save up for tomorrow. Why? Well, it’s Record Store Day. Musical artists of every stripe—rock, hip-hop, soul, country, jazzpunk, and metal—are releasing special limited-edition albums, mostly vinyl LPs and 45s, for this event, now in its fourth year.

Here are just a few of this year’s most anticipated releases: Nirvana’s “Hormoaning” EP, only offered on the band’s 1992 tour of Australia, promises two lesser-known studio songs and four rarely heard covers, including Devo’s “Turnaround.” DJ Danger Mouse and composer Daniele Luppi will offer a sneak peak of their Italian film score tribute “Rome,” in the form of a 7-inch single; Jack White sings on A-side “Two Against One,” while Norah Jones is featured on the B-side “Black.”

The now-defunct 1960s garage-psych band 13th Floor Elevators will issue a never-before-heard single, “Wait for My Love.” Finally, the eagerly awaited first release by the all-women supergroup Wild Flag—featuring Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney and Mary Timony of Helium—will arrive in the form of a 45 with “Future Crimes” and “Glass Tambourine.”

Of course, the point of Record Store Day is get music lovers out of their computer chairs, away from their iTunes playlists, and into their favorite independently owned bricks-and-mortar store (like Amoeba Music in Berkeley, CA, pictured above). Because of this, online vinyl retailers—even small, independently owned ones—are excluded.

Over at Collecting Vinyl Records, Robert Benson makes a case for letting these web sellers into the party:

“Online retailers are a driving force in the vinyl revival, maybe even more so than the brick-and-mortar establishments. For someone like myself, who does not have a record store near me and is physically disabled, the Internet is the way I buy my vinyl. It is convenient, it offers a much larger selection, and the records are delivered to my front door. I can buy vinyl from other countries with a click of the mouse.

“It seems to me if you add the thousands of online retailers to the celebration, it would become more of a global event than it is now. While nothing replaces the crate-digging ritual, many vinyl lovers will agree, it is places like SoundStageDirect.com, VinylCollective.com, RecordsByMail.com, and hundreds of others, who make the vinyl engine run.”

Even the Record Store Day organization itself ran into a bump on the road when the shipment of The Beastie Boys’ “Make Some Noise” 7-inch failed to make it to the United States on time for Saturday. Since the single was intended as a Record Store Day fundraiser for the American Red Cross Japan Relief Fund, it will be offered to U.S. residents online starting at 6 a.m. tomorrow at www.recordstoreday.com.

The irony being, of course, as Benson pointed out to me when we talked over the phone, is that eBay flippers—the ones Jack White himself so artfully dodged this fall—will arrive at the record stores first thing, snatch up copies of all these great releases, and sell them for a much higher price on eBay.

What do you think? Should Record Store Day be for physical retailers only? What albums are you most excited about buying? See ya’ll at the record store tomorrow morning!

4 comments so far

  1. Will C. Says:

    No, online retailers should not be involved. If it were Bookstore Day, would you want Amazon involved?

  2. lisa Says:

    Hey Will, I think Rob B. is talking specifically about independently owned, non-corporate online retailers—so Amazon would still be excluded.

  3. Gerry Says:

    Record Store Day is a frustrating day for those of us who are music lovers and vinyl collectors in remote places. I’d love to support a local record store and to get my hands on some of these limited edition vinyls, but the closest one is 1000 kms away from me. If online indie stores could participate, folks like me could lend our support and not be excluded.

  4. Jerry_Orbach_Owns_You Says:

    No. The communal aspect is what drives Record Store Day, mingling with your fellow vinyl aficianado. Sitting on your ass at home, mouseclicking your way to a prize limited release just doesn’t wash well. You can use Ebay and the aftermarket to get these goodies if you’re so inclined. Otherwise, move.


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