Record Store Day 2014 - How was it for you? - Articles - Soundblab

Record Store Day 2014 - How was it for you?

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:

So the annual geek-fest that is Record Store Day has once again been and gone. Each year there seems to be more and more artists and labels getting involved; even One Direction thought they’d unleash some awful shite upon us this time. 

As it gets more popular, has the experience changed for you? Or do you still feel part of that little club which laughs when old people ask, "Do they still make vinyl records?".

This year I ventured down to Probe Records in Liverpool. It’s only 15 miles from home so I like to refer to it as my local record shop. For a fairly large city, it’s a very small shop but it’s also brilliant. I always buy something when I go there and most of the time it’s not what I went in for.

I arrived at 8.30am to find them already open, with a queue of around 100-150 people outside. Almost two hours later I reached the counter. I had a wish list of four items:
    •    Tame Impala - Live Versions
    •    Destruction Unit/Merchandise/Milk Music - split LP
    •    David Lynch - The Air is on Fire
    •    Various Artists - Non Violent Femmes compilation

Tame Impala had sold out and the Milk Music split LP hadn’t been delivered due to a problem at the pressing plant, but I managed to pick up the other two. However, other people weren’t quite so lucky; one guy in front of me only came for one thing and it had sold out. He approached the counter, was told of this and turned and walked out after two hours of standing on crutches.

And that is just one of the many problems with RSD. Don’t get me wrong, I love it but could it be better? These are just my opinions and they’re based on my visits over the years to small record shops but I want to know, does it really bring repeat customers into shops? Or are the people queuing those that would already shop there?

In previous years, I’ve also gone hoping to buy just the one album, only to come away empty-handed. Clearly the lesson is to go with a bigger wish-list but can the shops do more to help those queues? Why not have a notice-board or black-board outside with regular updates? As soon as the last Tame Impala album has sold, get a message on the board. Half the people may walk away from the queue and it could be argued that the shop will lose trade, but there’s no time to browse on RSD anyway.

And there is the next problem. Maybe it’s different in the bigger shops but in all the shops I’ve visited you queue, get what you want and get out to let the next person in. It’s not your normal record shop browse so does RSD actually put new customers off visiting a record store on a regular basis? The real enjoyment of visiting Probe for me is to stand for a while and dig through the vinyl and CDs. Isn’t this what the creators of RSD wanted it to be about? Getting people into the shops who have not purchased a physical format in a while, or ever? With a bit of organisation, surely the shops can be set up to allow for a queue and allow others to browse.

Then of course there’s the problem of items appearing on eBay while you’re still standing in that queue. I’m not sure how to fix that one. Maybe it’s just about boosting the profits of the shops for that one day and if it is then I’m sure it works, but with a few changes it could be a much more enjoyable experience. After all, who likes to queue? Let alone queue and then go home empty handed.

Let’s hear your feedback. Is it better in the bigger shops such as Rough Trade, Piccadilly Records in Manchester or Other Music in New York? How would you improve it? Let us know and we’ll share this with the organisers.

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