Record Store Day 2017 (5)

As I’ve never been up very early on RSD before, usually arriving just before lunch, certainly never queueing, I had never before witnessed the phenomonen of hunting in packs. There were at least three people doing so, shouting across the racks to each other, “There’s a ‘Pineapple Express'”, “Yeah, got it”, and suchlike. It’s a jolly good idea really, as long as you don’t find that more than one of you want something and there is only one left. Perhaps there has to be some bargaining before heading to the till.

I’m pretty sure that there were some people in teams, each with a list, each covering one of the two shops taking part. This is also a good idea, and one I would do myself if I had anybody to do it with. Vinyl buying is a pretty solitary affair for me. Most people I know seem to think it’s all a bit ridiculous, and I can see their point, but most of those people didn’t grow up with it, perhaps don’t understand it’s attraction for me, and probably have a secret Barbie collection or somesuch and have failed to make the connection.

Some of it is nostalgia, there’s little doubt about that, but it is also the physical object. I have several streaming options but what is mine? I have paid for the right to listen to something digital, not something I can hold, or cherish, or enjoy in a more tactile way. I can listen to almost anything I might want to, and do when out and about. Quite often though, I will find something new to listen to and if I find myself starting to like it, I stop listening to it and go and buy a vinyl copy if one is available. That is a bit ridiculous but it makes sense to me.

There’s also music that just isn’t available to stream, such as an album I received a few months ago by ‘Life Garden’, it’s not on Apple Music, Spotify or Amazon Music, I can only listen to it on vinyl, although there are a few tracks on youtube. The thing is, I really like this album and it’s lack of instant availability seems to make me like it more. It has an exlusivity that makes it more appealing and though I would like to send a whatsapp to a friend with a link so they can hear it too, I can’t, there’s nothing to send and for some reason that is a good thing. Same with the RSD release by ‘Future Sound Of London’, I listened to all six sides yesterday but it isn’t available to stream and that does make the listening experience all the better I think.

I do wonder if, like movies, there should be a delay between physical releases and streaming, so an album is physically released and can’t be streamed for 3 months or so. It seems a good idea to me although I know it will still be ripped from CD and distributed one way or another. I can’t be bothered with all that anymore, since the capacities of phones have increased I don’t need to fill an MP3 player up with ripped CD’s or downloads, it’s too much hassle, just download to listen off line, it’s easy.

I’ve managed to listen to a lot of records over the last 3 or 4 days, which is great as I have been having trouble finding the time for the last four months, however, I now have a chair outside by the back door and I can listen to records whilst simultaneously throwing things for the dog to fetch so that he can run excitedly back with them and then refuse to give it back to me to throw again, that’s his thing, he’s very possesive over sticks and balls.

I’ve been critical of RSD before and some of those criticisms are still valid. Record shops are doing pretty well nowadays I think, with RSD having been a big part of their resurgence, but for some of us RSD is pretty much every week but that loyalty and spending isn’t rewarded on RSD itself. I’d like to see some kind of loyalty card, perhaps a phone app, upon which you can rack up points over the year and those points decide where you are in the queue, not just how early you manage to get out of bed once a year. So the initial queue is formed based on the loyalty points and then everybody else queues as normal behind. I’m not saying it’s a perfect system but it could work, as long as it was clear beforhand that it would work that way.

 

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