Has Record Store Day lost its meaning?

Has Record Store Day lost its meaning?








Record Store Day has become a tool for the majors to rid themselves of ‘product’. I say ‘Product’ because if it appeared during the rest of the year, it’d be ignored and rightly junked. But because it appears on the all-important Record Store Day schedule, sporting limited edition day, special stickers and squarely aimed at a captive audience sometimes with more money than sense, it becomes open season to hike up the price. So it becomes more about purchasing ‘product’ than a notion of loyalty to the record shop they purchase it from. It makes one wonder where these buyers are for the other 364 days of the year!

The original idea of Record Store Day was to ramp up interest in the local independent record emporium, who had seen a decline in the face of digital download culture; to support record shops, and perhaps give them a profitable payday – the proceeds of which might just help a fair few of them get through the lean months and make it intact to next year’s day-long event.

The labels Sonic Cathedral and Howling Owl have joined forces to release a split 7” single featuring Spectres and Lorelle Meets The Obsolete covering each others’ songs. They are releasing it a track at a time at selected record shops under and at Recordstoredayisdying.com but not for Record Store Day.  Sonic Cathedral’s head honcho Nathaniel Cramp says it’s not a protest against Record Store Day – “it’s what Record Store Day has become: just another event in the annual music industry circus that begins with the BBC Sound Of… list and ends with the Mercury Prize, co-opted by major labels and used as another marketing stepping stone, like an appearance on ‘Later… With Jools Holland’ or bagging the sunset slot at Glasto. If you want to queue up from the early hours of April 18 to buy Mumford & Sons’ 7” or an overpriced Noel Gallagher 12” to flip on eBay, then fine, but what the hell has it got to do with us? U2 have already shat their album into our iTunes, why should they constipate the world’s pressing plants with it too? And there’s a picture disc of A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’ as well. Of course it’s a fine pop single, but there’s bound to be a copy in the Oxfam around the corner.”

However, as Nathaniel points out, several of these labels have been squeezing the margins with one 7″ singles commanding a retail price in excess of £20. Do I need a shed load of Bruce Springsteen represses? No, sir. What I want are unique releases from the likes of Bureau B and Heavenly, both of whom are putting out exclusive split releases; the latter numbering seven and they are all corkers. To be perfectly honest, if I see one more regurgitating Sex Pistols box set, I fear I won’t be able to stop an enactment of record rage.

In my opinion, Record Store Day has lost its message, its point and its relevance. It’s been hijacked by the type of industry executives who sought to crush the independent record shops in the first place. It’s now up to the independent dealers, shops and labels to reclaim the original spirit of Record Store Day.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.