Skateboarders have Go Skateboarding Day, comic book aficionados have Free Comic Book Day and record connoisseurs have Record Store Day. Record Store Day, an internationally celebrated event that occurs on the third Saturday of April each year, has been drawing support from record-lovers since its inception in 2007.
The idea for Record Store Day originally began with Bull Moose record store employee Chris Brown. With assistance from a handful of co-founders, including Alliance of Independent Media Stores president Eric Levin, Brown’s Record Store Day took off nationally, and soon began to make an impact overseas.
“[Record Store Day] is all about maintaining a sense of independence,” said online record seller Tosin. “It helps out the small man against large conglomerates.”
Tosin’s record website, The Screw Shop, originally started selling southern and Texas hip-hop back in 1997, when he moved to Austin from New Orleans.
On Record Store Day, record collectors can choose from over 300 different exclusive releases, ranging from hip-hop and soul, to rock and punk. Some releases feature groups Animal Collective, Childish Gambino, Coldplay and M83. “There’s so many thing to choose from,” said Waterloo manager Martin Coultter. “And all of these releases and other deals, are only available on Record Store Day.” Concerts also take place on Record Store Day--indie-rockers Portugal. The Man will be performing at Fords, NJ record store Vintage Vinyl, while hip-hop artist Gift of Gab will have a set at Berkeley, CA’s Rasputin Music and DVDs store.
For Record Store Day, Waterloo will be bringing in alternative rock act Garbage. The group will be doing a meet-and-greet for those who purchase the band’s exclusive 7”, or who pre-purchased their upcoming album, Not Your Kind Of People.
Waterloo is not the only store participating in the festivities. Musicmania, Antone’s, Trailer Space and Friends Of Sound, will also be contributing to Saturday’s events. With each store offering something different, Record Store Day encourages attendees to be a part of the Record Store Day Crawl.
“What you do is present your receipt from any of the stores participating in Record Store Day, and you get a discount from store to store,” said Musicmania manager Bernard Vesek.
Vesek said he’s excited for Record Store Day because of how supportive it is of local artists and keeping record stores alive. It’s not an easy task--throughout the years multiple record shops have closed in Austin, like Encore Records and Backspin Records. Even nearby towns like San Marco’s Sundance Records, have closed after being open for over 35 years.
“We’re competing with the big chains” Vesek said. Along with the pressures of battling chains like that of Best Buy and Target, independent record stores also have to battle against digital downloads, and music piracy.
Although independent record stores face tough times, Vesek is glad that, with the resurgence of vinyl, a younger generation are seeking out vinyl releases.
“We do record conventions here [in Austin], and the youth have taken it up,” Vesek said. “It’s nice to have a 12 by 12 record in your hands, that comes with a sound much warmer than what you get through a regular download.”
St. Edwards psych and advertising major Jacob Torres enjoys going out and searching for vinyl. Torres enjoys vinyl records for their nostalgic value, and often discovers hard-to-find releases at Waterloo, End of an Ear and various thrift stores.
“When I collect [vinyl], it’s like I’m collecting little pieces of history,” Torres said. “For example, I can put on Getz/Gilberto, the best selling album of 1964, and just imagine the original listeners, sitting in their living rooms enjoying it, unaware that their record would find its way into my living room 60 years later.”
Record Store Day continues to keep the art and spirit of music alive. It lends a helping hand to those searching for exclusive releases, or maybe even those who are just looking for classic, one-of-a-kind vinyls.
“That’s the great thing about collecting vinyl,” Torres said. “To hold on to ephemera, and know that they have seen so many days, and have survived crazy advances in technology. It’s mind-blowing.”