Record Store Day (RSD) is an annual event that was initiated in 2007 by an association of independent private record store owners and employees in the USA. They objective was to deal with decreasing sales and to celebrate the unique culture around the almost 1400 of independently owned record stores in the USA and thousands of similar stores around the world . RSD is held on the third Saturday every April (the first ever Record Store Day was on April 9th 2008). The day brings together fans, artists, and thousands of independent record store owners around the world.
Sweden joined the Record Store Day initiative from the start. Back then each store participated by themselves but after a couple of years it became a joint commitment. They now cooperate with various record labels to turn the day into a spectacular event. Numerous bands and artists have since then participated with special appearances, performances, meet and greets with fans and the holding of art exhibits.
Until the 1980s the analogue format was the predominant distributer of music and in the 1990s they were largely replaced by the compact disc. Since the turn of the millennium, CDs have gradually been replaced by digital downloads. However, since 2007, partly because of RSD and partly because of an overall revival of the retro style , there has been a renewed interest and increased sales of vinyl records – a vinyl revival. In June 2017 Sony Music announced that, by March 2018, they would take up producing vinyl records for the first time since ceasing its production in 1989.
To me it’s very noteworthy and sad (though not surprising) that there are so few record stores left in my hometown, Gothenburg. As a result of declining sales, the large commercial ones are gone. Looking at a list from 2013 there were around 10-11 stores in business and now half of them are gone. Most of them deal with new releases, but mostly with used records. Considering the increasing interest of vinyl records I sincerely hope that they can stay in business.
This year the Record Store Day was held on April 21st and Bruce Springsteen’s long unavailable on vinyl, Greatest Hits album (originally released in 1995), pressed on red vinyl, was exclusivley released. I would have loved to be in possession of an album like that but since I currently don’t own a turntable I never bought one. Now I’m seriously considering buying a record player. At home I have tons of vinyl records, of which many of them are Bruce Springsteen original albums and a selection of bootlegs from the good old days. It seems like a real waste of good music to let them gather dust. In fact, some of my albums aren’t available on Spotify. I can’t for example find the Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes‘ album Better Days there.
I also always loved album sleeves. They are pieces of art. Look out for a separate entry on that subject in the future.