So, how was Record Store Day for you? I have to admit I’ve still not fully recovered from it – financially or emotionally.
For those that don’t know, Saturday 17 April was destined to be the day that revived the fortunes of a global independent record store community that’s flagging under the might of mega chains cashing in.
The principle was simple – get loads of bands to release limited edition tracks and albums on the same day and put on loads of special in-store performances from said bands to entice the record-buying masses back into the shops.
But there was something about the whole RSD experience that left me just a little bit jaded. Not just because I have bruises on my ribs from battling over the singles rack with equally ‘enthusiastic’ punters at Rough Trade East in London, but because it wasn’t the indies that won out at the end of the day in true David and Goliath fashion.
Hell no. Instead, it seems to me that the only winners are the cretins that flooded eBay with exclusive Record Store Day releases at extortionate prices (copies of Blur’s ‘Fool’s Day’ 7″ are currently changing hands for £200).
Indeed, the reason I’m writing this is because I am extremely bitter that I didn’t get my grubby hands on a copy of a split 10” white vinyl featuring Mogwai and Fuck Buttons, despite having woken up at stupid o’clock on Saturday and shamelessly stalked the staff of not one, but three independent record shops in London (Rough Trade East, Sister Ray, Pure Groove).
To say that I raged more furiously than an Icelandic volcano when I discovered people had already started listing the Mogwai/Fuck Buttons 10” on eBay by the time I got home (five hours after my journey began) is an understatement. I was fucking livid.
Not just that people had bought the record for the specific reason to sell it on. But because they were selling it on for such a disgusting amount of money.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I did pick up some tasty treats by way of a Fall 7” and Sonic Youth compilation ‘Hits Are For Squares’, and for that I am eternally grateful to RSD and all the staff at the aforementioned shops.
But did I really have to wade through a 300-people scrum to get the records on my hit list? Isn’t the whole point of going to a record shop to have a leisurely browse through the racks and pick and choose without fear that someone is gonna prise that record from your hands?
The indies have missed a trick here. Sure, if you want a short-term solution to boost sales, RSD is ideal. People get momentarily excited, save up all their pocket money and splash out for one single day. That’s great in all, but what do you do for the next 364 days of the year?
What we need is a longer-term solution to save what few independent record shops we have left. Perhaps if bands, independent labels and stores came up with these kinds of ear candy offers every week the eBay vultures wouldn’t be lining their pockets now.