LPs fly off the shelves on this music enthusiast’s holiday
There’s something exhilarating about sifting through bins of records, seeing the artwork, and being able to hold something in your hands. There’s an excitement one experiences when they find the exact album that they were looking for, a feeling that’s absent when downloading music online.
Record Store Day looks to help music consumers recapture that feeling. What started as a concept in 2007 by Chris Brown, an employee at an independent record store, has become an annual celebration of music. Independent record stores across the world participate by releasing special issued vinyl and CDs, hosting meet and greets with bands and their fans, and sponsoring live performances on the third Saturday of every April.
“It’s about coming together, and getting people back into record stores to buy albums,” says ARC Commercial Music major Kasey Crooks, who’s been collecting records for about three years. “I think that people lose track of the social medium of going into a record store and enjoying and talking to people. It’s just a fun experience to [go and] exchange music knowledge.”
Judging by the increase in vinyl sales since 2007, it appears Record Store Day has been successful in getting people out from behind their keyboard and into stores. According to Nielsen Soundscan, 4.6 million vinyl LPs were sold in 2012. That’s an increase from the 3.9 million sold in 2011, and the 2.8 million sold in 2010. Since 2008, the year Record Store Day was officially launched, vinyl record sales have increased more than 58 percent.
People who buy records can range from the occasional browser to the hardcore collector. “When you start thinking about all of the things people collect, stamps, baseball cards, you know?” poses ARC History professor Bill Wrightson, whose personal collection holds well over 3,000 records. “What’s better than records?”
“Vinyl is part of recapturing my youth,” says Wrightson. “And there’s memories that come with holding a record when you’re playing it for the first time.”
Now there’s a new generation discovering this same feeling. “You have to listen to every song, and I like that. You get more of an appreciation for the album as a whole instead of one or two tracks,” says Crooks, who grew up in an age of CDs and MP3 players. “You get into that constant clicking motion and you start not liking any music. We’re so busy with the world around us that we don’t just stop and listen to the music.”