Record Store Day 2013 – What do you think ?

record-store-day-logo1Isn’t it about now that the second hand shops start tweeting about new stuff #RSD13

And of course the online sellers start inviting folk to “shop” in their lock ups, garages and offices #RSD13

After a couple of tweets about Record Store Day and a bit of banter with Ian Rankin I received quite a few comments. Mostly I would class them as constructive criticism. It reminded me that Kim Bayley, the Director General of ERA who administer RSD for the shops had said they were always keen to hear comments from shops and customers alike. Certainly a vocal minority are very keen for RSD to continue just as it is and in the absence of any other other comments that will on the whole be what will happen with a few tweaks.  

I think ERA have got the message customers think releases are too expensive and sometimes too limited and of course everybody gets pissed off with eBay but I hear far more comments than just those. Anyway I’ve summarised below all the points made to me but I would suggest that both customers and shops contact ERA with their thoughts praising any positive aspects that should be encouraged as well as pointing out any pitfalls or faults. Kim assures me there is still time for comments to be taken into consideration before releases are announced later in March.

I’ll keep the points simple and brief though obviously many could be expanded on. 

Releases not exclusive to RSD and no quality control (Both of these points have hopefully been addressed in a code of conduct drawn up this year for labels to sign). However if labels make plenty of something shops won’t sell them all and labels and bands will then be free to sell RSD releases too.

Too many “old bands” and not enough current stuff. 

CD shops selling vinyl once a year (Certainly CD shops complained of the same thing wanting CDs to sell but I’m not sure if that would work now)

Pitchfork/Hipster shops (I’m quoting from a customer there) selling many releases they wouldn’t be seen dead selling the rest of the year

Second hand shops that don’t support new product all year but stock up for RSD

Online sellers in offices, lock ups, garages and living rooms reminding customers they are very welcome to visit and publishing “shop opening” hours that often strangely for a shop don’t include a Saturday

Shops being quoted as selling massive amounts of RSD product online as soon as it is allowed

The lack of any RSD related things the rest of the year. Black Friday is maybe not transferable to the UK but other events during the year would be welcomed to keep high street shops in the public eye. 

Both shops and labels not caring whether they receive much stock or sell much stock as they are included in all the publicity  

Unwillingness of shops to hold in-stores as they will get in the way of taking money and unwillingness of bigger “name” bands to play on RSD (Obviously both these points don’t apply to Avalanche)

Focus on vinyl rather than high street record shops giving many people the idea the day was a celebration of vinyl rather than shops (I deal with the media a fair bit and the problem is that they look for a new spin each year when boring as they may find it the core message is the same every year)

HMV jumping on the RSD “vinyl message” bandwagon (May not be an issue this year!) 

There have been lots of other points made by individuals but those above are the most common

Personally as an original member of RSD it is clear that RSD now is not fit for its original purpose which was to get folk into shops and hopefully get them to come back. Too much that is sold is either by shops who wouldn’t have anything similar in normally or is online. Other customers are clearly in after an email from the artist and that same artist will very likely be emailing next with an offer of something not available in shops. Some shops clearly make an effort to “make a day of it” but they are too few.

It saddens me when most people talk of the success of RSD as taking more money than last year. It is not the measure I would use and with the number of releases increasing every year taking more money is almost inevitable. However if the purpose of RSD is simply to give a much needed cash injection to small and big shops alike then of course it fulfills its purpose admirably though as one customer pointed out “that didn’t do Rounder or One Up much good”.

ERA’s advertised contact email address is admin@eraltd.org and you can if you wish copy me in on avalancherecords@hotmail.co.uk  

If ERA don’t hear the thoughts of customers and shops then they can only only go on what little they do hear. A mixture of praise and constructive criticism would be good !

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