Record Store Day can be a touchy subject for vinyl enthusiasts. Some love it, some hate it. Many feel that the processing of all these special releases bogs down the already-limited pressing factories, and that is true. Many hate the rules and regulations, the chaos of having to elbow your way through crowds just for the chance to find one of those limited releases. Some feel it’s just a gimmick, and they hate spending large amounts of cash on a reissue that can be purchased in its original form and release for less. Some record stores love it, and some report huge losses on RSD from purchasing an overabundance of expensive records that their clientele don’t seem to like or want.
I get that it’s become more about the releases and less about celebrating and patronizing the record stores, and it is a little sad that the day has taken that kind of turn. But I still participate. And the reason I do is because I’m a total sucker for something that’s cool-looking or limited. That being said, I don’t buy records that I don’t care about. There are tons that have been the talk of vinyl sites for months now, but I’m not really into the big sellers. I’m out for some of the smaller releases, the ones flying completely under the radar. Also, I really do like to support my favorite record stores, and RSD just gives me an excuse to go and spend more money at said shops.
I do have to say, though — Record Store Day is freaking stressful. It requires a lot of research on my part. I live in an area with only one record shop in a 30-mile radius, and they don’t participate. All of my favorite record shops are at minimum 90 minutes away from me. So first I go through the list of releases and decide what I want. Then I start looking at the 30 or so shops within a three-hour drive and stalk their social media and websites until they start releasing details about their RSD plans. Usually by the time Thursday rolls around, I’ve narrowed it down to a couple of stores, and then Friday I make my final decision. But that’s only the beginning of the stress, because then I have to try and guess when people will start to line up at the shop, and plan my travels so I get there before or around that time. I’ve been going to the same record shop for RSD for the last three years. Yup, they came through again and that’s where I’m heading tomorrow. But I still don’t know what time I should line up. My first year, we ended up getting there about an hour AFTER opening, and I was still able to grab the release I wanted most (and found the other at another shop down the street). Last year, we arrived about 45 minutes early, and there were 20-30 people in line already. AND I only found two of the releases I wanted, and had to go to two other stores to get the remainder. That has me worried for this year. I’m almost planning on lining up two hours in advance so I can avoid the chase, though my record guy mixes all his RSD releases together so that it’s not in any kind of order, and that means the person ten people behind me could find the records I want before I do.
See what I mean about stress?
I’m mostly kidding. If I don’t get the releases I want, it won’t be the end of the world. But I have to say, I’m just dying to get my hands on that Weepies release. “Say I Am You” is one of my favorite albums from them, and it’s being released on vinyl for the first time. Plus it comes with a signed poster. That’s on the top of my list. The rest is just icing on the cake.
What about you guys? What do you think of Record Store Day, and will you be participating? Any releases you’re particularly excited to get?