Record Store Day – OK I Was Too Harsh. But I’m Still Not Convinced

In the decade or so that I’ve been an NME contributor, I don’t think anything I’ve written has generated as much of a response as last week’s Why I Don’t Care About Record Store Day blog.

It all started as merely a counter-point piece to Matt Wilkinson’s (excellent) article in last week’s NME magazine. Within a few days, it’d grown a life all of its own, with hundreds of Tweets, Facebook comments and blogosphere rants.

There’s too many to list here, but a few stood out. Alexei Berrow – singer with Brit-rockers Johnny Foreigner – posted a notably impassioned piece on his blog, while Ben Patashnik, a friend and former colleague, made some great points in a Rock Sound piece.

Some – even within the NME – accused me of trolling. For the avoidance of any doubt: these are my genuine thoughts.

In the wake of the outrage, has my opinion changed on Record Store Day? Yes and no. The size of the response to the blog suggests that there’s a lot of love out there for the event and physical singles. Don’t be fooled though: the fact that this rabid support isn’t translating into actual sales is the reason that labels like Mercury are phasing out singles in the first place.

Blog – why I’ll never stop loving physical singles

Has the outpouring made me care any more about Record Store Day? Sorry, but no. In fact, there are many more reasons to celebrate the demise of physical singles than I even had space to mention originally.

Have you ever stopped to think of the environmental impact of your 1,000-strong CD collection? One of the many comments suggested that CDs are great for leaving your children in a will. Sorry, but your kids will be sending those Sky Larkin EPs straight to landfill. We all need to be consuming less, not more.

Blog – what’s the first single you ever bought?

Doesn’t the democratisation of music on sites like Spotify and Myspace make music more accessible to everyone, rather than just to those with the disposable income to buy records with? Yes, yes, I understand that bands need to eat – which is why finding a way of making these services profitable for all involved is far more important than RSD could ever be.

Send bizarre direct messages to my Facebook account, stalk your ex-girlfriend (check the comments) and write heart-felt monologues about your scene or great times you’ve had in record shops. But don’t misunderstand the point the blog was trying to make.

Feature – the 35 best B-sides ever

I don’t care about Record Store Day as it’s a red-herring, a diversion from what’s far more important: finding a way to make the new digital music consumption model – the one used by many millions more people than will ever even hear about RSD – workable.

I’d rather those whose job it is to sign bands and sell records – labels – were looking to the future, rather than trying to prop up Britain’s record store network.

Looking for a stable job in the music business? They don’t really exist, but you certainly won’t find one in a record shop or putting CDs in boxes. Harsh, I know, but true.

And finally, ask yourself this: are you a fan of music or memorabilia (which is what physical records are becoming)?

Be both if you want – but I’m too busy balancing raising a young family with seeking out the best in new music to be sniffing records in my parents’ house.

Blog – why Record Store Day matters

Coming later this week on NME.COM: The ultimate Record Store Day guide – 50 exclusive releases to look out for