Your Take: Gold Records
Today marks Record Store Day, a day-long celebration of independent music store retailers, limited-edition releases and in-store performances. This week, the Chicagoist took a look at the history and business sides of the “holiday”:
Founded in in 2007 by individuals from several corners of the music industry — including education, A&R, and promotions — Record Store Day’s original purpose was to “celebrate independently-owned record stores com[ing] together with artists to celebrate the art of music.” The day’s events are usually marked by in-store performances, artist meet-and-greets, and of course, (usually on vinyl, but also on CD or video). Promotion, media attention and a bump in foot traffic (at least for that one day) are a boon for indie record shops, which RSD organizers define as “a retailer whose main primary business focuses on a physical store location, whose product line consists of at least 50% music retail, whose company is not publicly traded and whose ownership is at least 70% located in the state of operation.”
Still, the event has also been criticized as a shameless cash-grab. Often merchandise of questionable real “collector-level”–or even consumer-level–value are promoted like must-own items: 7″ picture discs of a group’s hit single, re-releases on colored vinyl or superfluous box sets are common offenders. Ultimately, it’s up to the consumer to decide what value they wish to assign to something like Karen Elson’s “Vicious/”In Trouble with the Lord” 7″, which comes peach scented with peach colored rose petals inside the record.
Another gray area exists in whether special releases marketed as “rare” are indeed that; sometimes “limited” is all that needs to be said to incite fans to snap up a particular release because of its perceived scarcity. When an item like is “limited” to 5,000 copies, rarity becomes a bit relative.
The Saving Country Music blog notes that while “country music might ignore” Record Store Day, there are still a few country artists – including Justin Townes Earle and Whitey Morgan & The 78’s – offering special deals and performing at indie retailers.
Are you celebrating Record Store Day, and are there any country releases or performances that have caught your eye? Do you think it’s a marketing ploy, a way to support indie retailers and good music, or some combination of both? Do you think country music ignores or is underrepresented on Record Store Day?
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