Helpful Hints for Record Store Day

By Andrew Lacelle — Sat, 11/04/2015 - 13:34

“Vinyl is back?” “Are people really buying vinyl again?” “Oh, this is neat.”  These are just a few things you may have heard if you were in a record store during the past five years. Yes people, vinyl is back and has been for a while, a long while. For that matter, did it ever really leave, considering how many records are out there? There are possibly more K-Tel compilation records that survived the vinyl purge than original copies of the Beatles’ White album. Now, that is weird.

This Fall and during the Christmas season, a friend working at a local music outlet said that people would come into the store, walk around, pass the vinyl, look at it, continue walking, circle around the store, come back and look at it again, stare at it for a moment and then ask a clerk, “Is vinyl really back?” This kind of question would always be answered with a “mental facepalm” and “YES, it is and it’s really awesome, all the cool kids are doing it”. 

This article is not a piece on vinyl or a debate on whether or not it's "really" back. We know vinyl is back and the shitty thing about it is I wish there was more. I wish it was cheaper for bands to release their stuff on vinyl. I wish there were more pressing plants. And I wish modern studios would learn how to properly make a record that can be released on vinyl (yes, there is a special way). This piece is meant to discuss Record Store Day and how YOU can get into the community and participate.

Record Store Day, the third Saturday of every April, is when record stores have an abundance of vinyl and music for sale and a day when new vinyl is released or reissued. Record Store Day was created to help record stores after the “Musical Genocide” of the early millenium. There was an abundance of music on the internet, people trading and sharing music for free, which was all very fun and innovative, but came with HUGE consequences. All this trading and sharing killed the music industry, which in turn made people stop buying physical music, thus killing the record stores. We lost some good ones, too. One of the most famous Canadian record stores, Sam the Record Man, closed its doors in Toronto on June 30th 2007--the same year Record Store Day was founded.

Record Store Day is important because it reminds us to get out and engage in your local music scene. A record store is a place where you can buy music from local artists and talk to people about the music. Also you can buy a copy of Hunky Dory by David Bowie and take it home and love it because Bowie is the best. Don’t be afraid of the record store--it’s a friendly place filled with people who love music and want to talk about it. It’s a place where you can discover physical music and get lost in a rack of music from yesteryears. In a time when you can get lost finding online music from around the world, I personally like to take something physical home at the end of the day.

This Saturday, April 18th, Record Store Day is on in Ottawa and around the world, and here are a few helpful tips for you to get the most out of it:

  • Show up early. The lines get pretty long, but don't worry, there’s plenty of stock and you can always be put on back order.

  • Make a list. One of the worst things is getting to the record store not knowing what you came there for. You may get lost in the abundance of music.

  • Be open to new music. Having an open mind about new music or local music is always a plus. I've walked out with some strange-looking records and got home and was pleasantly surprised with some of the bands I debated listening to.

  • Talk and engage. Ask questions and ask the store clerk for help. The people that work at record stores love music too and they know where every single piece of music is in that store.

  • Barter. Sometimes, if it’s a used record, you can make a deal with the seller. If you buy five or more records, maybe you can talk down a better price. This is okay to do and definitely helps out the store. Plus it keeps you happy and makes you want to come back.

  • Trade. Bring some of your old records to sell to the store or trade up for something that may be more enjoyable for you. We all have records we have listened to and may just want to pass on to another listener in exchange for something else.

Not sure where all the record stores are? Here are a few to get you started:

Vertigo Records

The Turning Point

The Record Center

Birdman Sound

CeDe Troque (Hull)

Vinyl may be back for now, and yes, it’s cool. Something physical that you own and can play. It also sounds so much better than digital. Say what you want about it, the innovation that created the vinyl record was massive and spans almost 50 years to get it to the version it is now, on top of the 60 years it was around and hadn’t changed. The digital file is only 20 years old and is compressed to the max to make it digitally small. Music should be big and loud and the biggest form of music I know of is a vinyl record.

On a side note, Cassette Store Day was formed in 2013. Let’s see where that goes. Facepalm.

Photo: Ming Wu

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