This year, Record Store Day will celebrate its 11th anniversary. The event, usually held twice a year – once in April and again on Black Friday – has risen to popularity over the years and has greatly impacted independent record stores all around the world. The current musical landscape for music lovers is as seamless as ever; as streaming has taken the lead in how we consume music, and digital service powerhouses like Spotify, Pandora, YouTube and Apple Music all allow us to play just about any artist, anywhere, at any time.
This digitized world of music certainly has its advantages for listeners, but there is still one physical format of music that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere — no, not CDs but vinyl.
Back on the shelves in the music section at many retail stores like Barnes & Noble, Urban Outfitters and now even Wal-Mart, vinyl has fully made its return to the mainstream consumption of music. However, one of the many things that these corporations don’t offer to music fans are the deals that can be found in the independent record stores, like the limited edition releases and other exclusive deals that can be found on Record Store Day.
In 2014, Record Store Day saw independent retailers record the highest percentage of physical album sales since 1991, according to SoundScan.
So why do people like vinyl so much? Many people believe it has a much higher, “warmer” quality of sound. Others, who don’t even have turntables, like vinyl for its physical appearance, and it allows them to revere their favorite artists in a more authentic, tangible way.
This year’s Record Store Day will take place on Saturday, April 13 as nearly 400 exclusive, limited edition releases hit the shelves all around the world. Music legends like Bob Dylan, John Lennon, R.E.M, Prince, Grateful Dead, Roxy Music and Jeff Buckley will all be releasing never-before-heard records from their archives, finally making their way onto wax for the first time.
Other releases include completely new material from newer artists. Courtney Barnett, Steve Earle and John Hiatt are amongst artists issuing new releases on RSD. Weezer is also participating, with the first-time physical release of their new cover album, “Teal.”
When asked about some of their special and unique offerings for Record Store Day 2019, local record stores in Murfreesboro and Nashville alike declined to share, wanting to keep their special deals and events a “surprise.”
The ambassadors of this year’s Record Store Day, Pearl Jam, are celebrating with a release of a 2004 concert, “Live at Easy Street Records.” There are a number of live-performance releases that will also be spinning on Record Store Day. Take Elton John’s “Live From Moscow” concert from 1979, released for its 40th anniversary; or Elvis Presley’s Vegas performances in 1969; R.E.M’s “Live at the Borderline” from 1991; or U2’s “Europa E.P.” from their recent “Experience” tour.
Another popular format that will hit the shelves April 13 is alternative mixes. Psychedelic rock pioneers Pink Floyd are releasing a mono mix of their album, “A Saucerful of Secrets,” which follows that of “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” from last year’s RSD. John Lennon’s “Imagine,” Fleetwood Mac’s self-titled and Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” are all subject for reissue with alternative mixes.
Box-sets of artists’ discography and collections are also still popular in the vinyl market. Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Devo, Todd Rundgren and Sugar Hill are all getting releases of compilations and “sets” that contain hours of high-quality listening.
Some of the more novel releases for this year’s Record Store Day include the Foo Fighters’ “Big Me” on a three-inch record. The three-inch record format is a new medium developed in part by the Record Store Day Organization and Crosley. Four releases from Third Man Records (in Nashville) will be curated for this format, along with a number of punk releases. The new technology was demonstrated last year and will sell as an attachment for around 60 dollars, each one coming with a copy of the Foo Fighters’ track.
Other eclectic releases include Marc Maron’s curated live-acoustic performances that have taken place over his podcast through the years, including Jason Isbell, Eels, Margo Price, Nick Lowe, Melissa Etheridge and Ben Harper. Also, in commemoration of Woodstock’s 50th anniversary, a “monitor-mix” from the legendary festival will be released, containing the mixes of the epic performances the way they were heard.
Those aren’t the only artists that will be releasing something special next month. The Doors, David Bowie, Charlie Parker, Bill Hicks, Rolling Stones, Joe Strummer, Gorillaz, Greta Van Fleet and dozens more all have something exclusive to share with die-hard fans and music buffs alike.
Third Man Records, Grimey’s, Waxface, Vinyl Tap and The Great Escape are amongst some of the local record stores participating.
Record Store Day is a celebration of local businesses and amazing music, so this April 13th, be sure to check out any of the unique offerings that will be hitting the shelves. There is something for everyone to be found on Record Store Day. A list of most of the releases and events happening for this year’s Record Store Day can be found on the website, recordstoreday.com.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Mamie Lomax, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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