Don’t Be Afraid of Record Store Day

vinyl

Record Store Day is upon us. It’s Christmas to music nerds and collectors. It’s a day where we can all come together and share our passion for the art. Like anything good that gets mainstream attention, there are the dismissive hipsters who refuse to let us have a good time, but I promise there are good reasons to support Record Store Day.

I will be the first to admit that the upper music industry is a wreck. Artists make little money on their music, but they need the branding, networking and marketing that a major label can offer in order to make that little bit of money. After all, one dollar is more than zero. It’s a cycle that pads the pockets of the people who probably genuinely cared for music at one point in their lives, but are now focused on how they’re going to be able to retire and, I don’t know, play golf every day or whatever rich music industry executive retirees do.

The reason why we need Record Store Day is that it tells those faceless corporations what makes them money. You can play Selena Gomez on the radio all day long, and I can tolerate a song or two, but what I don’t see is fans rushing to get in line to get her latest album on vinyl. Record Store Day is a day to say, yes, I do want acoustic Anti-Flag songs on vinyl. I need a repressing of Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Regina Spektor deserves to be heard in high quality and I deserve to hear it. I will gladly spend a little extra to hear Andra Day on crisp, fresh vinyl. When we make these purchases, we tell this record labels that this is what we’ll spend money to hear. We tell them this is why we don’t listen to mainstream radio anymore, and if you want my money, this is what you’d better make.

Here’s another reason why Record Store Day is important: it simply makes us happy. Sure, there are people who won’t realize the lack of sound quality from a picture disc until they try to play it at home on a USB turntable. That doesn’t mean that my fun will be ruined, and those people are just getting introduced to the nuances of record shopping. I still want that Sex Pistols picture disc because I missed out on a generation of music where that record was freshly pressed. I’ve got the album memorized; I don’t need it to be perfect quality. I need something to hold and say, “I got this at Record Store Day 2016,” while explaining the rise and fall of punk rock to my nieces and nephews.

Plus, a picture disc just looks cool. Why is it so bad for me to want that?

Let’s not forget the name: Record Store Day. How many big name record stores are still active? Sure, I buy my toilet paper and toothpaste off of Amazon, but the beauty of Record Store Day is that it gets us out to our local shops. We can begin to establish relationships with our local store owners. Record Store Day isn’t for Amazon; it’s for Grimey’s and Criminal Records. It’s like a grand opening every year! Plus, when I’m in the mood to get a new record, I want it on vinyl from a local shop. I want to flip through album after album instead of clicking from page to page.

The last reason I have in defense of Record Store Day is a bit narcissistic. My record collection began when my great aunt died. She had all kinds of classical music and movie soundtracks on vinyl. She was the one who introduced me to Elvis, so I was the first to stake my claim to her records. It’s one last piece of her that I can carry with me into adulthood; it’s how I can introduce her influence on me to the new people in my life. As much as I love those records, I don’t know how much longer they’ll last. By constantly updating my collection, I’m adding to a legacy that maybe someone else will want to hold onto after I’m gone. My hope is that one day my record collection can be someone else’s starter collection that they will build until it’s their turn to do the same for someone else.

Don’t be afraid to enjoy something. (We actually have another opinion piece coming out in a few days in a similar vein, so look out for that.) One of the best things about living in Nashville is that people here are so obviously passionate about music. No one is standing against the wall at a show. We’re up front, singing along even if we don’t know the words. Go out to your local shop, meet your local shop owners and introduce yourself to someone else who made it out to celebrate Record Store Day. You’ve all ready got one thing in common: you aren’t afraid to be a music nerd. Wear the badge proudly.

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One Response to “Don’t Be Afraid of Record Store Day”

  1. Sally Toddy says:

    Love this piece! I remember playing side two of Trapestry from side one! Then, you, my precious child, gave me Tapestry on vinyl! If you had a sibling, this would make you my favorite! Thank you for updating my collection. You will be happy to know, that the few vinyl records I have will be yours one day. Yes, that includes my Arnold Jr. High and Hardaway High School albums!

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