Hundreds of independent record stores across the globe, including 11 in Austin, united Saturday to celebrate the third annual Record Store Day with special and limited-edition vinyls and CD releases, discounts and in-store performances.
According to the site, recordstoreday.com, the holiday began in 2007 when Chris Brown and a group of his friends wanted to celebrate the art of music and the like-minded independent record stores that don’t have corporations to tell them what to do.
Austin is no stranger to the independent music scene, and local record stores such as Waterloo Records & Video, End of an Ear and BackSpin Records were some of the shops that partook in the celebration.
Waterloo hosted an in-store performance by Mali band Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba and a signing by Texas singer-songwriter Roky Erickson with an early release of his album, True Love Cast Out All Evil. The album was one of over 200 exclusive releases, which included Beach House’s Zebra 12-inch vinyl, Tom Waits’ Mule Variations 11th Anniversary 12-inch vinyl and Modest Mouse’s The Moon & Antarctica double LP 180-gram vinyl.
“It keeps [independent record stores] alive, I guess,” said Kelsey Wickliffe, a manager at Waterloo Records. “[These are places] where you can buy physical music and keep vinyl alive.”
BackSpin Records buyer and clerk John Mark Lapham said the day was a success not only from a business standpoint but from a local event perspective, too. The shop served free beer in addition to performances by several DJs, including Ben Webster and Torran. The largest draw to the store, though, were the two copies of the Beastie Boys’ white-label 12-inch vinyl that were gone in seconds, he said.
“The very beginning was the highlight for everyone because we had a lot of limited-edition records, so a lot of people traveled great distances,” he said, and then added with a laugh, “So, we had a frantic, racing sort of thing going on there. There was a lot of music, and everyone had a great time.”
Many of the stores, including End of an Ear, participated in the Record Store Day Crawl that gave discounts to customers who bought from other shops involved. End of an Ear co-owner Dan Plunkett said this collaboration helped make Saturday the largest sales day ever for the shop.
“Every store has their own speciality,” he said. “It’s great to see people get excited about it, and I think every year, it will get better and better.”