Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Musical Thoughts - Record Store Day...The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions

Record Store Day started in Baltimore in 2007 at a meeting of the minds between record store owners.  How could they save their business from going the way of the dinosaur?  The idea was simple and brilliant.  A day to visit your independent record store and get special releases that you can not find anywhere else.  To spark interest.  To generate sails.  What could go wrong?

The numbers are astounding.  At least that is what Billboard would have you believe after their article in early April.

"In a week when overall U.S. album sales were down 2.2% over the same week in 2013, the independent record store sector collectively rode the Record Store Day sales bonanza to an 11.2% gain, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Indie stores represented 19.4% of the total U.S. volume of all physical album sales this week, the sector's highest share since SoundScan started tracking sales by store strata.
Moreover, within album sales, the indie store sector saw its vinyl album sales grow a whopping 57.5%. Finally, numerous record stores report that it was their best day ever."

Since 2007 Record Store Day has become an empire.  There are celebrity ambassadors, special releases, special appearances.  There are 180 gram releases, 200 gram releases, special editions and colored vinyl.  It has become the savior.

Or has it become what is wrong with the industry.

There are still some very important questions to ask.  What determines a successful campaign?  What are independent record stores numbers the other 363 days a year?  Who, overall is profiting from the marketing of record store day?  What does it cost a retailer to participate in this program?  More importantly, who decides what record stores get what releases?

On a day where so many releases are made for this grand affair, it is sad to visit your local, independent record store to find that they can't get their hands on the Record Store Release that you want.  Not only that, there are stores boasting multiple copies.  What is fair play?  And what is a fair price to ask?

Since the resurgence of vinyl, the pricing is aimed at that of a collector.  At $25.00 to $50.00 a clip one doesn't build a collection.  One buys important pieces.  Much like a coin, baseball card, or comic book collector.  What do all of these stores have in common?  They are going extinct.

This resurgence has the opportunity to make young collectors.  It's not for the record companies to get revenge for illegal downloading.  If my favorite vinyl was priced at $15 to $20 an album my collection would be much larger.  I have seen what the local independent stores pay.  They really aren't making money off of this program.  In the long run, either am I.  I am not looking to turn a profit off of my purchase.  I am driving a used car off of the lot.  Its value lies in me, not to what a potential buyer may offer me.

If it were the musicians that were making the money from this I salute that effort.  Sadly, I do not think that this is the case

I recently started to sell off my CD collection.  1,800 of them.  More or less to make room.  Sure, a couple of them are worth some money, but the bulk of them are worth about a buck a piece.  I didn't make the investment for the money.  I made it for the love of music.

So now you have a new generation interested.  You have their attention.  What are your intentions?  What if it were one or two exclusive releases a month?  What if they were done as a lost leader?  What if each record store had an allocation of each release?  The possibilities are limited. 

If you want to make the most of your experience, visit your local independent stores often.  Talk to them.  Tell them what you like.  Start a relationship.  Buy some records.  Share your experiences.  Isn't that, after all, the essence of the record store.  That is what is dying.  That is what we all miss.  That is for which we yearn. 

I have made great friendships through record stores.  We share music.  We go to concerts.  I am a consumer.  I buy tickets and concert shirts.  I buy music.  All of this and you are losing me.  Instead of buying that $30.00 re-release I will crate dig for a $7.00 mint copy of the original.

You can still fix this,  You have time.  Hopefully you will.

See you when the needle drops!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts