Is Record Store Day still enough ‘bang for your buck’?

Around a year and a half ago, I ran a piece on Velvet titled Vinyl Hoarding: The Ongoing War. In part, I talked about how record store day was beginning to change, from an event to aid independent record stores, to becoming a second payday for online re-sellers.

With this year’s slew of major label releases, it brings in a lot of questions as to whether record store day is still worth it.

When I first started collecting vinyl over CD’s in 2013, record store day was a dream come true. A day dedicated purely to vinyl in the music world, with limited edition releases from some of my favourite groups; could there be anything better?. That is still largely true for most people who still go, even those who no longer queue for 8+ hours (myself included). But as record store day grows in popularity globally, so does the potential to resell releases online at extortionate rates.

While not a RSD release, on my Vinyl Hoarding piece, I talked about Cherry Glazerr’s Had 10 Dollaz 7″ not even selling out but marketing $45 online, when Suicide Squeeze still had copies for $4.99. RSD releases are roughly 1000 times worse, and that’s not much of an exaggeration sadly.

You can guarantee Bowie singles this year will sell out in a matter of seconds. Unless you’re the first person in your stores queue, maybe 4th, it’s guaranteed that you’re not getting one. So online re-sellers are going to be on Ebay in an instant.

This may seem like it’s just the common issue with re-sellers being mentioned. But it’s also the people who wilfully abide to buying these releases online that are the issue.

Yes it’s almost heart-breaking when you hear “David Bowie/Foals/Joy Division/etc are now sold out”, but does that mean you should just give in to online sellers? No.

Seriously no.

Record Store Day was made to aid independent record stores, ‘fighting’ against major music retailers to stay alive. At its birth RSD was a vision in white, the prayer that record stores and vinyl had been asking for come to life. Now, RSD seems to have ‘sold-out’ favouring major labels and bands over, well everything.

Obviously if you look at the entire list, this might not be true. However the growing list of major labels becoming a part of RSD doesn’t seem like it’s conglomerates wanting to help, but rather to just cash in on a business opportunity. So now it’s become much more about just getting these limited vinyls for whatever reason: the love of the bands, showing off, re-selling, etc.

It’s not record store day I have the major problem with though. It’s the people who partake during this 1 of the 365 days a year (366 this year) and then forget about the stores they visited on the day.

By all means get that MUSE RSD release. Get that Bowie RSD release. Major labels, you saw the business opportunity and you went for it. But don’t turn RSD into something that it wasn’t suppose to be. It’s not a day for business. It’s a day for record stores the world over. For avid music fans to come together and celebrate their love for music, to then return at a later date in the year, to keep purchasing music.

So don’t get pissy when you grab that major RSD release this year, and then don’t have a store next year to go to locally, when you don’t visit it the remaining days of the year, because ‘HMV is a lot cheaper’.

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