April the 22nd may not hold the same significance as dates such as the 25th of December – marked by religious significance and holiday rates – but it is attracting the ever-growing attention of a specific, yet broadening, crowd.
This week Record Store Day marks its 10th birthday.
Conceived by independent record store owners in the United States in 2007 to celebrate and promote the enduring culture of independent music, production and distribution, Record Store Day has since blossomed into a worldwide event.
Its growing significance, with larger and larger events and promotions each year, is emblematic of the revitalisation the record market has seen in recent years.
I was lucky enough to visit Landspeed Records, which was packed to capacity in the usually calm corner of Garema Place. While conglomerate brands like JB Hi-Fi have cornered the mainstream media market, with their own vinyl offerings, it was clear that independent record retailers were not just still relevant but are flourishing in their own way.
Eager patrons had been lined up outside the store since 4am in preparation of the store’s opening, Landspeed Records owner Brad Budack said.
There was an undeniable and warmly rapport between many of the store’s patrons, trudging through crowds snaked nearly the entire length of the store.
It was clear that there were many of the store’s regulars amongst the crowd, whose interactions with the staff at Landspeed were a far cry from the regimented experience one might find at JB Hi-Fi or similar retail chains.
The sizable crowd was made up not just of regulars but of all sorts.
Music lovers young and old had flocked to the store; hipster-ish teenagers with distressed jeans and spaced ear rings, baby boomers tossing up which ‘Clash’ album to buy, and even families with kids in tow.
Attracting enduring fans of the format, and young and fledgling fans alike, it would be a confident conclusion that vinyl’s recent rebirth was only on the up-and-up, and the role that independent retailers play therein was solidified.
— Neil Doody (@neildoody) April 22, 2017
Landspeed’s offerings were spilt out onto the pavement, with a stockpile of second hand records the store had reportedly been gathering for the last year eagerly being searched through.
Accompanied by the interior’s exhaustive – albeit expensive – offerings, the eager shopper could hardly be left wanting. Yet, the whole day wasn’t a sale akin to those of Landspeed’s chain-store competitors, where one must wade through a sea of bright banners and exclaiming price tags.
Instead, the day felt more in keeping with the celebratory nature on which the day was founded. A celebration of the endurance of the culture of independent music.
Featured image by Spencer Hickman