Back in July, a blog post on NME.com sparked an unexpected controversy: two-hundred comments followed, with backlash articles appearing in Clash Magazine and The Daily Telegraph. The author had to write an apologetic follow up piece ("OK, I was too harsh..."). And what was this post about that riled journalists and punters alike? “Why I don’t care about Record Store Day”.
The claim: “If physical singles are finally dying out for good, then don’t expect me to send any flowers to the funeral. I don’t care about Record Store Day. I don’t even care if I never own a physical CD or vinyl record ever again.”
But RSD is a day to care about: to dismiss it for not saving the music industry is accusing Remembrance Day of irrelevancy for not stopping wars. There are hundreds of brilliant record shops (admittedly, fewer every day), and the effort it takes to go into one of them of on a Saturday afternoon – to browse, converse and then spend a touch of money on a record – creates a relationship with that music far deeper than clicking “buy” on iTunes.
To some, paying more for something in order to give it greater value, rather than because it possesses greater value, may appear illogical. But the relationship we have with music doesn’t follow the assumed dictates of capitalism.
Anthropologist Wendy Fonarow, once compared the actions of indie music fans with the religious values of Puritanism: autonomy of local congregations, simplicity of worship and a call to the past with restoration of original values. It is easy to see how indie ticks those boxes, with box-room venues, restriction from the base pleasures of bubblegum pop and constant harping on about everything being better 10 years ago.
We could extend her metaphor to say that Record Store Day has become music’s day of Thanksgiving: Pilgrims and Indie-ans. It’s an opportunity to show a commitment to the bands, DJs, labels and shops that make music precious, and to enjoy their cornucopic spoils with others who feel the same.
The day was created by a collective of vinyl enthusiasts who wanted to protect the record store in an increasingly digital era. Because not only do these shops represent shopping opportunities, they are also responsible for hosting a social medium for musos far superior to the arguments on dubstep forums or endless comments on Soundcloud mixes. Record Store Day is an opportunity for us to celebrate the whole culture: the spirit of the record shop.
Despite (or because of) the blogger-chatter, RSD is growing. Following the success of its UK and US counterparts, this year marks Berlin’s initial stab at it, launching at the BerMuDa Festival on November 5. It allows us to celebrate new music and increase footfall in the stores that really need it. Plus it offers us a chance to pick up physical copies of our favorite records. Welcome, Pilgrim.
To wit: Berlin Record Store day is taking place across 13 different stores. OYE in Prenzlauer Berg is to be taken over by various DJs and collectives including Session Victim who will be spinning ‘the whole package of house, disco and soul power’. Also catch the Boys Noize label who will be offering a free three-piece vinyl package to those who purchase one of its latest releases. Down at Berlin’s newest store, 33rpm, Falkplatz and JackOff records are running things. Both labels will have the first copies of their next releases for sale weeks before they hit the market. Simultaneously, they will of course be providing music and drinks. Also at OYE is a live stream by WahWah.Fm. Meanwhile, the Wesc store in Munzstraße will be hosting ‘Mo Ferry’s Pop Up Record Store’ in true Berlin style. Head here to hear live sets from 2pm – 8pm and purchase from the following labels: Mo’s Ferry Prod., Rrygular, Fenou, DPK, Geheimtipp, Clap your Hands, Blank.
For up-to-date information on the numerous in store events, check out the RSD website. Or just head down and witness live performances while purchasing special pre-releases and limited editions all in the name of preventing your local store (and your god) from extinction.