Record Store Day 2016

Well, I was a little underwhelmed by Record Store Day this year as it seems to me that Record Stores are doing quite well nowadays actually and the reason for it’s existence is somewhat diminished. I did pick up two records, of 5 or 6 that I wanted, so a reasonable percentage. They were, PIL live at the O2 Sheperd’s Bush Empire, which is a double on clear vinyl:

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The other was Roots Manuva, Switching Sidea, a long 12″ single i that it has 5 tracks on each side, the same tracks, but side 2 is remixes of side 1:

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Apparently it’s limited to 500 copies, which is nice.

What I didn’t get but wanted were three re-issues by Kings of Convenience and number 1 on my list, the Mew album “And the Glass Handed Kites” which goes for £50 online but record store day has 2000 clear vinyl copies for £19.99 each, except I didn’t see one.

I went to Head records in Leamington Spa who had a fair bit in and I did arrive and hour after opening time so who knows what had gone by the time I got there. I headed off to Seismic Records at the other end of town via The Town Hall, which was hosting another record fair, but didn’t make it to Seismic, which is a shame as I like to support that shop.

This is from ‘The quietus’:

The whole event has become a record label promotion opportunity and nothing else. Record shops are merely the vehicle for a quiet time of the year marketing binge. From my point of view, as a record shop owner, RSD is damaging to us in the following ways:

1) The lead up to the day sees a dramatic fall in sales, and the post event effect is similar. Ask around. Do shops’ quarterly figures look any better whenever they take part in RSD? All the ones I know say no. New releases all but come to an end weeks before, and all promotional activities swing behind RSD.

2) The ‘underground’ or ‘niche’ nature of what indie shops provide is being watered down by dross releases with little artistic or cultural merit. It’s not about being a snob, it is about making sure the customer gets value for money. There is enough amazing music out there to change people’s lives without them being dragged into a bogwash of Abba and Status Quo re-issues (all of which sell on original black shit for £1 in my bargain bins).

3) Shops buy RSD stock on a cash-up-front basis, with no possibility of return. Who’s taking the risk here? The labels, the distro, or the shops? The risk is not fairly distributed amongst the players. Do any of these guys know what happens to our cash flow around RSD? I’ve heard of shops having to borrow money to buy stock. I mean for gods sake, how on earth is this helping! The big boys are the worse for this, but for distros like PIAS who continue to operate a no returned stock operation for their entire product, year round, there is little risk on sale from their side. This promotes poor quality. Labels are less likely to sell bilge if they see it all back in the warehouse three months later. Distros and labels like Cargo, SRD, Proper and Discovery operate SOR (Sale Or Return), consignment sales all year round. THIS IS SUPPORT. Expensive and risky on their part, they are working with shops, and this in turn changes the dynamic and it changes the quality (namely in an upward fashion).

4) All this stuff comes out on one day, so in the six month lead up to RSD, the pressing plants are choked full of RSD releases (as investigated by The Quietus here), and as a result the indie labels can’t get anything out in the interim. They’re forcing me to say it… CD is the new vinyl.

5) For many of the huge number of Bowie or Springsteen fans et al ad infinitum. the only option is to go online and pay an insane price for the special release they want from some eBay flipper. Thus encouraging this behaviour further (buying online). Now, as an internet seller I am not against the internet per se, but NOT ON RECORD STORE DAY.

6) Disappointment… perpetual disappointment. Shops will not have multiple copies of every release. As a result a significant number of customers get disappointed and disillusioned. Great…. a promotional event for record shops that leaves customer feeling disappointed and disillusioned. Well that’s just perfect.

The full article is here: http://thequietus.com/articles/19946-record-store-day-2016-shops-bad-reissues-bleugh

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I’m not against RSD, but one point does strike me as on the mark, I am a regular independent record store customer, I spend regularly in them, two in particular and the loyal customer is apt to lose out on RSD and, if you really want something you could very well pay triple the price from somebody who bought deliberately to re-sell at this inflated price, which is a shame.

I certainly was surprised , as the writer of the article mentions, to see Justin Bieber and Status Quo involved, and, to be honest, a load of Alan Partridge picture discs along with a few others which seemed like a waste of time, to me at least. There are great opportunities to re-release brilliant albums on vinyl, but it is not often taken, or so it seems.

Until next year I suppose.

 

3 Comments

  1. Gabe Crawford

    I agree with you completely. I didn’t get up to go spend the night outside the record store and missed out on all the ones I wanted because they were so limited. No their nearly marked up 400% online.

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  2. verian

    It’s a sad state of affairs Gabe, particularly for the smaller independents who, apparently, see no improvement in sales for the quarter that RSD falls in and there is no sale or return so they buy everything they are allocated, which explains why my local shop is still selling 7” singles from RSD 3 or 4 years ago.

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  3. Gabe Crawford

    Exactly. It also completely goes against the idea of distributing music and the love of vinyl. Now they are restricting these limited editions to those who are lucky enough to obtain them or they get charged an arm and a leg for them resale. I love the excitement it creates, but it just seems like it promotes the one thing most vinyl collectors are against, commercialization.

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