One inadvertent consequence of Record Store Day for the retailers that hasn’t been mentioned in all of the recent RSD backlashes is the dilemma they face when selecting and ordering their stock for the day. We mention this because we happened across the Norman Records web page who were so anxious to please all they had to seriously consider their ordering options. So they ran not so much an ordering/reserve list but a request to long-time customers as to what releases they might be interested in, so that they could gauge the mood, appetite and the popularity of RSD releases.
We all acknowledge that the original spirit of RSD was to get people back into their local independent record stores and in turn give something of a financial pay day to most retailers which in most cases would help them survive the lean months of the coming summer season and the lull before Christmas.
That said, one question that kept coming back on Saturday at Probe Records in Liverpool was had they ordered enough and, more worryingly, had they ordered enough of the releases that would sell? We can all complain about the amount of pointless re-issues pushed out by the majors and incidentally the Springsteen vinyl releases never sold at all giving oxygen to the (f)ire of most who have criticised the targeting of the consumer by the big cats. While most will roll their eyes heaven wards at the appearance of what has now become your annual David Bowie picture disc not to mention the Sex Pistols re-packages, but these releases are the bread and butter of the shops as they are the first to go. All of which poses the question whether the shops should chose the certainty or the curio? Yes, releases from the Wellers, the Albarns and the Gallaghers are essential for a reason – they sell – but more importantly they are the hook to get people into the shop in the first place.
As for the curios – an Ork box set as expensive as it was, is something of a document, a sign post or a ground zero moment, with an historical relevance which isn’t going to sell big but will snare the musical heads. I wish the same could be said for a three figure costing Grateful Dead set.
Mind you what could have turned out to be a massive financial oversight by Probe in erroneously cocking up the order for Psychocandy – which after an hour or so of worrying concern ended up luckily being a godsend since only one punter asked for it – we shall though quickly gloss over their oversight in not ordering the Roxy Music release (several requests and counting).
With over 500 RSD releases officially listed today this has brought a new found headache for a lot of record emporiums. Of course they need to consider the punter (disappointment does not make for a lasting consumer experience). However, at the same time most of these shops – who incidentally almost run on a hand to mouth basis and cannot afford the prospect of box loads of unsold stock, which in turn, and as helpful as RSD is, is in some respects doing the retailers a huge disservice – are placed in a stick or bust situation.
How was your Record Store Day? What shops did you visit? What did you buy?