Friday, April 22, 2011

Questioning Record Store Day

"Is Record Store Day a Bunch of Bullshit?" is the name of a post written by DJ Prestige on his excellent blog Fleamarket Funk.

"... Here’s my question, why are we just promoting independent record stores one day a year? Where are all these record and music enthusiasts the other 364 days? Rob Henry, a NJ based DJ/ Record Store Buyer had this to say:”I think record store day is just that. Not vinyl awareness day. Not a thank you to all vinyl buyers. It’s a day for those record stores to make some coin. This is their Black Friday. I’m cool with that. I hope they prosper from RSD. If the ‘industry’ needs to make an excuse for people to spend their money in record stores, that’s fine.

"Vinyl sales have increased over the past few years yet shops are closing all over the place. Who wants record stores to be solely online? We need to keep a physical connection between distributors and vinyl buyers.” This is true, it is not vinyl awareness day, it’s record store day. I get a little touchy because it has the word “record” in it and the logo for RSD has an LP and a 45 in it. However, I am posing the question again: Where are all these people the other 364 days a year? Downloading music from iTunes for pay or the internet for free?"

He also notes that Record Store Day has sponsorship from EMI, Warners, Sony and Universal, which isn't exactly indie.

He puts forward a good argument on what exactly Record Store Day has grown to signify.  Funnily enough, someone from Record Store Day's official organising team saw it and posted a response. It's a little patronising.... "Ironically, here I am typing you about a negative slanted posting about record stores running Record Store Day .... As far as not celebrating year round. I can’t help but think you are new to discovering Record Store Day."

DJ Prestige replies, pointing out his years of experience as a DJ, record store owner and promoter.  "... I still make a living as a DJ who celebrates every day as Record Store Day. In fact, I did a joint collaboration this year with photographer Eilon Paz from where we showcased a record store owner in Brooklyn that has been a staple in the community for over 4 decades.

"Being record related, it was posted on the Facebook page of Record Store Day to help spread the message of this man who’s business was in danger of being shut down. The photo essay and short paragraph were removed shortly after I posted it. I found that a bit odd, seeing that it was celebrating a record store, on RSD. It was then I wanted to do some investigating on my own on RSD itself..."

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