Record Store Day is the day of the year when everyone should head out to their local record stores and buy vinyl. It is celebrated one Saturday in April and on America’s Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving). This article will provide all the details on Record Store Day and what you can do to make this year’s special.
Record Store Day History
Record Store Day is both a special day and an organization. It was established in 2007 to celebrate the 1400 record stores independently owned in the United States and similar stores owned internationally.
The first Record Store Day happened on April 19, 2008. Today there are participating stores on every continent except Antarctica.
The day is meant to celebrate the unique culture of the record store. It calls for owners, artists, fans, and staff to participate. A variety of events are typically held to honor it including performances, parties, cook outs, meet and greets with artists and music releases.
On the first Record Store Day, Metallica spent hours in Rasputin Records in San Francisco meeting and greeting fans. Since then, well known artists have been known to host events at record stores all over the world.
In 2009, Jesse ‘Boots Electric’ Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal proclaimed himself the ambassador of Record Store Day. Since then, many artists have followed in his footsteps by taking the title. They include Dave Grohl, Josh Homme, Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop, Jack White, Metallica, St. Vincent and more.
In the almost 15 years Record Store Day has been hosted, many cities have declared it a national holiday including New York, Los Angeles, Boise, Charleston, Raleigh and Las Vegas.
In 2013, Michael Kurtz, the organization’s co-founder, was made a Chevalier of the Ordre des Artes et des Letters in France for Record Store Day’s contribution to the people and culture of the country. The same year, the organization accepted the Independent Spirit Award from NARM (now the Music Biz Association). In 2015, it was named Marketplace Ally of the Year by A2IM, an organization of independent music labels.
National Record Store Day works with independent and major record labels throughout the year to create contests, promotions and special releases to spotlight the benefits of independently owned record stores. On Black Friday of 2010, Record Store Day teamed up with record stores to provide them with exclusive releases to draw attention to their services on the biggest shopping day of the year. This is a tradition that continues to this day.
In 2016, Record Store Day created the Summer Camp conference which was allows owners and staff to meet and interact with labels, distributors, and others in the industry. In 2017, It became a founding partner in the Making Vinyl conference which brings together companies and individuals dedicated to the vinyl resurgence.
In 2020, Record Store Day was split over three dates which landed in August, September, and October. Although there were no live events due to the pandemic, there were music releases which provided comfort in troubling times.
There are several independently owned brick and mortar record stores that are signed up with Record Store Day. They are privy to the latest releases and events.
Record Store Day’s Free Docuseries Celebrates UK Record Store Owners
One of Record Store Day’s proudest achievements is the release of their docuseries, Behind the Counter. They have teamed up with Classic Album Sundays and Bowers & Wilkins for a 12-part docuseries that explores the 230 independent record stores across the U.K.
The series has included some major players like Bear Tree Records in Sheffield, England, Flashback Records in London, England, Jumbo Records in Leeds, England and Reflex Records in Newcastle, England.
There is also a U.S. equivalent of the series being aired on Classic Album Sundays’ YouTube channel that explores shops like L.A.’s Permanent Records and Indianapolis’ Indy CD & Vinyl.
Record Store Day Releases
Here are some of the releases you can look forward to buying on Record Store Day 2022. They are currently available for preorder on the Record Store Day website.
- The Atlas Underground Flood by Tom Morello
- Fragments (Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Red Marble 2 LP) by Bonobo
- Hell on Church Street by Punch Brothers
- Gods We Can Touch by AURORA
- Hunter’s Moon (Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Blood Red Vinyl Single) by Ghost
- Devil in Berlin (LP) by The Cutthroat Brothers x Mike Watt
- Temptations 60 by The Temptations
- What’s Going On? (2 LP) by Marvin Gaye
- The House of Tomorrow EP (Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Opaque Green Vinyl) by The Magnetic Fields
- The Light Saw Me (LP) by Jason Boland and the Stranglers
- Wild Life: (50th Anniversary Indie Exclusive Limited Edition LP) by Paul McCartney & Wings
- Requiem (Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Milky White Clear LP) by Korn
- Vicennial: 2 Decades of Seether (Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Smoke 2 LP) by Seether
- Harold & Maude: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack LP by Yusuf/ Cat Stevens
- Electric Cowboy: Born in Carolina Mud (Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Red and Black Swirl LP)
- Texas Moon EP (Blue Daze Vinyl) by Khruangbin & Leon Bridges
- Motown: A Symphony of Soul with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra by Various Artists
- Once Twice Melody (Gold Edition 2 LP) by Beach House
- See Where the Night Goes (LP) by Goodbye June
- The Ballad of Dood and Juanita (Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Natural LP) by Sturgill Simpson
- Get Yourself Outside (LP) by Yonder Mountain String Band
- Rock Believer (Limited Edition Deluxe 2 LP) by Scorpions
- All the Truth That I Can Tell (Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Transparent Dark Green & Blue LP) by Dashboard Confessional
- Marriage (Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Orange Marble LP) by Deap Valley
- Ghost Song (LP) by Cecile McLorin Salvant
- Set Sail (Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Gotham LP – Alternative Packaging + Bonus Tracks) by North Mississippi Allstars
- Fear of the Dawn (Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Astronomical Blue LP) by Jack White
- The Atlas Underground Flood (Sky Blue Grape 2 LP) by Tom Morello
- The Gods We Can Touch (LP) by AURORA
- Nevermind: 30th Anniversary (Super Deluxe 8 LP / 7” Single) by Nirvana
Is National Record Store Day the Same as National Vinyl Day?
No, National Record is not the same as National Vinyl Day.
For one, whereas Record Store Day is both a date and an organization, National Vinyl Day is just a date. And while Record Store Day celebrates stores that sell vinyl and other music products, National Vinyl Day just celebrates vinyl.
The dates are also different. Record Store Day is celebrated on various days in the spring and on Black Friday while National Vinyl Day has always fallen on August 12.
National Vinyl Day was started by Gary Frieburg of Los Osos, CA. He decided it should fall on August 12 as this was the day when Thomas Edison invented the phonograph back in 1877.
Fun Facts About Record
Both National Record Store Day and National Vinyl Day put the spotlight on the vinyl record. So let’s look at some fun vinyl facts.
The first vinyl record was created by American inventor Emile Berliner in the late 1890’s. The records were readily available to the public in the 1930’s and 40’s but these eras were dominated by radio. Therefore, they didn’t reach a peak in popularity until the 1960’s and 70’s.
Over the years, vinyl records began fall from favor with the general public. People preferred tapes and later CD’s and digital music due to their small size and convenience.
But the 2000’s brought a revival. Vinyl fell back into the public eye because of their attractive illustrations, unique sound and the ritual involved in spinning records.
Here are some other fun facts to consider:
- The first phonograph parlor opened in 1889.
- The first collection to be referred to as an album was Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. It was released on Odeon Records as a four-disc set in 1909.
- The most expensive vinyl albums were made by The Beatles, the Wu Tang Clan and Elvis Presley. The Wu Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” sold for $2 million in 2015 making it the most expensive album to date.
- Vinyl is available in a wide variety of colors. While these colorful albums may look great, black is said to provide a higher sound quality.
- The Voyager 1 probe which contained Carl Sagan’s Golden Record is reported as the human made object to travel farthest from earth.
- Although many claim that Stairway to Heaven has Satanic messages when played backwards, Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant has always said this is a coincidence.
- In 2012, the Flaming Lips released a version of their album Heavy Fwends which included blood samples of many of the featured artists. Among the ranks were Nick Cave, Kesha, Chris Martin and more.
- Records were not always made of vinyl. Until the 1960’s, they were made of shellac which is thicker and more brittle than vinyl.
How to Celebrate Record Store Day and National Vinyl Day
There are several events that are held to celebrate Record Store Day, but with the pandemic and other possible factors that can get in the way of you making it to one of these, it’s good to know that you can also celebrate in other ways. Here are some things you can do to honor the holiday in your own special way.
- Take a trip back in time and learn more about vinyl by reading books, doing research on the internet, and watching documentaries.
- Go to your local record store and check out the selection. Support the owners by buying your favorites. Keep the records for yourself or give them to a friend.
- Use the Discogs record site to document your record collection and make a wish list of the ones you want to add.
- Go to a garage sale or flea market to find inexpensive vinyl records by artists you’ve never heard before. Go home and listen to find out if you like them.
- Stay Home and Listen to Music: Have a listening party by yourself or with friends to celebrate your favorite releases.
- Invest in Record Care Items: These include cleaners, sleeves, organizers, etc. After buying these items, go home and use them to ensure your records are in great shape.
- Spread the Word on Social Media: If it’s not on social media, it didn’t happen right? Be sure to take pictures of however you choose to spend Record Store Day and include hashtags like #nationalrecordstoreday #vinyl and so on.
Why is Record Store Day Important?
There are so many reasons why record store day is important. Here are a few to consider.
It Supports Vinyl: Vinyl is special for a lot of reasons. People love the large format, the artwork and the sound it provides. If no one buys vinyl, there would be no reason to produce it and it would be eliminated. That would be quite sad!
Of course, you don’t have to buy vinyl on Record Store Day. You can also buy CD’s and even 8 tracks and cassettes. But the focus is definitely on vinyl.
It Supports Music: There are tons of musicians out there who have made a lot of sacrifices to bring music to the world. Some are very rich, and some are very poor.
But when you buy their album, it keeps them going. It may not be enough to support their families, but it lets them know that there are people out there who care about what they are doing.
Buying music is especially important in pandemic times. Even though things are opening back up, many artists are cancelling tours. This leaves them with less income, so they have to rely on selling records to keep it going.
When you buy a record, you help them keep their career going so they don’t have to start installing flooring or selling shoes (Spinal Tap reference right there).
It Supports Small Businesses: Music has largely gone digital these days putting many stores out of business. For example, Sam Goody and Tower Records (record store chains that were around many years ago for those who don’t know) are long gone, but not forgotten.
The stores that are selling records are mainly mom and pop businesses. Buying from these stores lets you know that most of the money you are spending is going to supporting them directly and not helping run a corporation. It should give you a good feeling when you do your part in patronizing their business.
What Holidays are Related to Record Store Day?
Record Store Day and National Vinyl Day are both quirky holidays that are worth celebrating. Here are a few related ones you may want to pay homage to.
- National VCR Day
- National Landline Telephone Day
- National Disc Jockey Day
- National Get Out Your Guitar Day
- National Old Stuff Day
- National Violin Day
- World Day of Music
National Record Store Day is a great day for celebrating music, vinyl and small business. You can spend it indoors or outdoors to make the most of the occasion. How will you be paying homage when it rolls around this year?