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Worldwide Family // Record Store Day 2012

April 25, 2012

Record Store Day is much like Christmas, only better. It comes and goes once a year amidst a climactic whirlwind of hype and hoopla, last minute list making and fretting, only for it be over before you know it and your wallet much lighter for it. Unlike Christmas though, there is no obligation to find the perfect present, attend the office Christmas party and dance yourself out of a job, feign interest in distant relatives or appease the in-laws. Record Store Day, for me, is all killer no filler. Pure indulgence combined with one-upmanship; an event that taps into the inner geek/child/collector in every vinyl lover.

The terms of Record Store Day state that only one copy of each release is permitted per customer, reserves cannot be made and that each release is limited. These conditions are what cause hundreds of audiophiles to queue for hours on a cold saturday morning in the hope of getting their hands on releases ranging from Zomby’s ‘Where Were U In ’92′ to the Beatles’ Singles’ boxset and anything in between.

Queues outside Sister Ray in Soho on Saturday morning

Alongside the limited releases only available on the day, DJs and bands performed at stores and venues nationwide in celebration of the finer format. Phonica hosted the One-Handed Music crew, with Alex Chase, Paul White and Mo Kolours bringing the heat, Jehst threw a party at his pop-up shop on Brick Lane, and Picadilly Records in Manchester had Mr. Scruff and The Charlatans to keep patrons entertained.

Mo Kolours performing at Phonica Records, Soho

Much like a local-cum-global festival for one day only, Record Store Day creates a community feel; an atmosphere of unity centred around love for a common denominator: music. With illegal file sharing and the rise of the iPod, record sales have plummeted and independent labels the World over have had to redress their strategies, focusing on new revenue streams and pressing less and less vinyl; once the sure fire money spinner in the indie repertoire. To add insult to injury, last year’s riots in London ended in the gutting of PIAS’ warehouse in North London; home to hundreds of independent labels stocks.

This year’s event was almost double the size of last years, both in volume of sales, number of releases and turnout.  The love and support for indies is growing again; vinyl sales are actually increasing (55% 2010-2011) and the ‘bedroom DJ’ scene is as healthy as ever.  Events like Record Store Day can only serve to further lesser known artists and the labels who support behind the scenes.

As Floating Points puts it – ‘No website can beat the recommendations of a human being. Everyday is record store day’