record store day rant

Record Store Day overkill? Seems like what has started as a project to support local initiatives centred around individual record stores, has become a bit of a monster enterprise, taken over by marketing. For weeks on end we’re getting listings and mails and all kinds of social media info and what not from labels àll pushing their products. Normally they’re trying to have us buy those goodies (which they often are) via their websites or other online deals – including the download model almost everyone in the industry is adapting to … bar record stores.

Then once a year the mantra changes into buy our special limited RSD product in your local record store because however expensive those collectable rarities, it’s a good idea to support those stores, after all we’re all nostalgic for that mythic store where people used to buy vinyl so let’s keep some of those around, etc etc“. And yès everyone has a ball, especially those hard working, serious music loving people behind the counter, who are always trying to get hold of whatever we fancy ànd who’re now organising concerts with the help of musicians who dig the good cause. Utterly wonderful, if only because those independent store owners have remarkably better revenues over this period. Crazy, but cool.

Yet for the next eleven months, it’s back to the same old thang: labels & record biz trying to earn more via direct sales and other business to consumer ploys, outsmarting local record stores who’re not up to a par with the big boys’ direct marketing tactics & the smaller setups’ social media strategies. Most of all by announcing their releases long beforehand, trying to coax online orders before actual stores have that product in their distribution listings. Paradoxical (no bugles). And a serious anomaly in a system that should organise (independent) record store sustainability day in day out.

Soit. Anyhow. Okay. RSD is an okay initiative, even if there’s a lot to rant about. Here’s to the original independents caring about a sustainable industry from beginning to end, from the cradle where passionate lovers of music give birth to tunes to the cradle where passionate lovers of music consume that music. Merry tunes! Happy hunting! Stores surviving!

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