By Dave Perry
On Record Store Day…
Just as in 2020, this year’s Record Store Day is pandemic-altered into “drops.”
Last year, it was divided into a day each in August, September and October.
In 2021, we will celebrate Record Store Day on June 12 and July 17, both Saturdays.
Vinyl Destination is all in.
We are open longer hours than ever, swinging open the doors at 8 a.m., closing at 4.
We have ordered like never before. Let’s put it this way – if, by some miraculous twist of fate I get everything I have ordered, I will spend more on records for these two days than I did on the down payment for our first house.
Not familiar with RSD? Let’s back this thing up.
Record Store Day began April 19, 2008 as a way to celebrate and help the vanishing brick and mortar record store. By releasing a handful of special records (vinyl had begun its climb back in numbers, however small), folks might be drawn back to stores.
We didn’t open Vinyl Destination until November 2013, so I was a civilian record guy for the first few years. Early-on, it was heaven for buyers. No lines, plenty of copies of the designated releases. Stores would stock tables with free stuff near the exits. Some blew up balloons. Others hosted live bands. Some record folks I knew weren’t even aware of the first year.
Each year, the number of releases grew. For collectors, it has always offered some gems. Then came lines outside of stores. At the front of the lines, went the buzz from those of us further back, stood the flippers, the folks who’d buy the limited releases not to listen to, but to re-sell.
If you looked at eBay and typed in “RSD” the night before Record Store Day, you’d find listing for records not released til the next day. At insane prices. There’s always been a lot of talk about trying to halt such sales but it’s never happened. Go ahead. Type in “RSD 2021” and price out the scalping…
We’ve been part of Record Store Day for the last few years. We are happy to join such a celebration. We’re the only Lowell record store to participate.
It’s a lot of work and it has its frustrations. You order, guessing what folks will want to buy. That’s why when the list of titles comes out, we ask what you might want. These days, thanks to increased competition and limited pressings, you’re competing with other stores for RSD stock. And it’s a perfect storm of disappointment when we can’t get an RSD title for a dedicated customer who really wants it.
There are no returns — what you don’t sell, you can put online that afternoon. We don’t sell online (we crave only the person-to-person experience) so we’ll have about five hours to sell hundreds of records before the armchair shoppers join the fray.
But there is one reason and one reason only that we are an RSD store and it’s the same reason we do anything. It gets you into the store, and it gets you into the mill. It gets people talking music together.
And it makes us what we always wanted to be, a place to get your fingers dusty, a place where you can meet Durand Jones, War on Women and GA-20, a place where Bob Dylan is still 25, where Sleep lurks around a sludgy corner and Tom Petty, d. boon, Prince and Eddie Van Halen are still very much alive.
In a musical conversation that we wish would never end, RSD is welcome punctuation.