Universal have defended Record Store Day amid recent criticism from a number of independent labels and artists regarding the annual event.
Earlier this month, independent labels Sonic Cathedral and Howling Owl released a statement that said “how every day should be record store day” and that the current Record Store Day “rules and regulations” mean that it’s “not beneficial to small, backs to the wall labels”.
Drenge recently echoed these sentiments, stating: “It started out as a good idea for getting people back into record shops with a cool little ltd edition 7-inch or whatever, but it’s just turned into a swamp of bullshit.”
Now, however, Universal Music have posted a blog post to their official website titled ‘Who Wins From Record Store Day?’ in which they write: “Until a few weeks ago it seemed everyone in the music industry thought Record Store Day, the eight year old celebration of the UK’s hundreds of indie music shops, was a great idea. RSD has given the indie store sector, decimated over the last decade or so with the closure of over 500 shops, a new lease of life… But, then the naysayers arrived.”
The post also quotes Universal’s independent sales manager, Marc Fayd’Herbe, who said: “I have worked with indies for 25 years and RSD has been the single best thing that has ever happened to the indies (stores). We should never forget that. We have supported RSD from the beginning. A few years ago stores were begging us to bring out stuff. Now we have brought out a nice raft of releases, some people are saying ‘Oh, they want to take over’.”
Entertainment Retailers Association, the company behind Record Store Day, had previously released a statement responding to criticism, in which they ended the message by asking music fans and labels alike to “give us a break”.
ERA’s statement read: “To make it clear, the purpose of Record Store Day is not to promote independent labels. It is to promote independent record shops (the clue is in the name).
“Of course, because indie record shops disproportionately support independent labels, indie labels are among the biggest winners from RSD. While media coverage inevitably focuses on superstar acts often signed to major labels, in fact three out of four RSD releases are on indie labels. That’s hardly a ‘betrayal’ of indies.”
Record Store Day, which celebrates the culture of independent record shops, takes place in 2015 on April 18. Mumford & Sons and Foo Fighters are among the artists who will release exclusive material this year.