Opinion: Is Record Store Day just a “Black Friday” for Record Stores?

This year is the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day. For those who don’t know what Record Store Day is, it’s on a Saturday in April (and there’s a Black Friday Record Store Day too, but it’s not the main record store day) dedicated to supporting your local record store. Most cool record stores will have local musicians perform and the shops sell limited edition reissues of records, many times on coloured vinyl or on picture discs. Sounds pretty cool, right? It’s always great to support small businesses rather than Walmart.

Coloured vinyl looks pretty cool and I can see why that’s an appeal. Take a look at this early 80s intro for Top of the Pops. If you want to see the behind the scenes intro for it, click here to watch it. I love the colours and the theme song, has to be one of my favourites along with the “Whole Lotta Love” intro in the 70s.

But why do I have issues with Record Store Day?

We’ve all seen the news stories about Black Friday sales. People elbowing each other to get their hands on a Nintendo, an Xbox, a big screen TV. People camp out in front of the shops days or even a week in advance – tents and everything. There are stampedes and fights. It makes me ashamed to be a human being.

I never understood what the big deal was with Black Friday. All I know is back when I was a kid my mum used to go out early in the morning, like 4 or 5 to queue to get into the shops. The other day she’d do that was Boxing Day. Later on, my mum even got over the Black Friday hype and didn’t understand the big deal. “The shops only raise their prices a month or two before only to lower them on Black Friday to make it seem like you’re getting a better deal,” she said. And I think my mum has a point. A lot of times the best deals are not on Black Friday, but at random points in the year, and a perk of not buying on Black Friday is not dealing with the crowds.

I went to the record store on Record Store Day. No crowds or anything since I went later on in the day. I guess I’m lucky, since I heard there were long queues in some big cities.

Only a couple of things caught my eye: The Quadrophenia soundtrack on parka green vinyl and Interstellar Overdrive, but I didn’t like the price. €42 for the Quadrophenia soundtrack? Well, I suppose it’s better than paying £250 for it, but no thanks. I have a wedding to save up for and I want to go overseas for my honeymoon – that’s my main priority for now.

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I saw the upset Facebook statuses of friends who really wanted that RSD limited edition album and they saw the last one in the shop being purchased or they go from shop to shop and they can’t find it, much to their dismay. Maybe the person who bought it genuinely wanted it, or maybe they don’t care about owning it on vinyl, they just want to make a profit.

There will always be those scumbags who show up to the record store who just buy up all the limited editions of stuff and sell them on eBay for double, triple, even more than it cost in the shop. Check out this story from the Independent about the inflated prices of RSD releases .

I can’t stand that, like I can’t stand the people who create bots who buy up concert tickets the minute they got on sale only to put them on Stubhub and sell nosebleed seats for $100 and front row seats for $1,000+. I think music should be accessible and available to fans and they shouldn’t have to pay ridiculous markups to scalpers to get the vinyl they want.

I don’t understand the super limited editions on Record Store Day. Of course it’s a money making plot, but I don’t think it’s the best idea. Why not just take pre-orders of the RSD editions and then press what the demand is (plus a bit more for people who haven’t pre-ordered) so that way people don’t have to deal with record flippers on eBay and they can support their favourite record stores? The musicians, record stores, and record labels aren’t seeing the markup that the flippers are getting for those records. It’s win-win! Fans get the record they’ve had their eyes on and they’re happy, no fights. Happy fans who pay a fair price buy more records and that will benefit the record stores and musicians.

I don’t like how Record Store Day is all about manufactured scarcity of records. It’s not benefitting the record stores. And I’m not alone in thinking like this, Johnny Marr of the Smiths criticised it back in 2015, calling the flippers “eBay tossers”.

I don’t think you should pay these ridiculous prices to the eBay flippers. Wait for the prices to drop. If the eBay sellers can’t sell the records at the ridiculous prices, they will have to drop their prices to something more reasonable.

What do you think of Record Store Day? Did you buy anything this year? Share your thoughts in the comments section below:

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