Friday, April 18, 2008

I Need That Record- part 1 & 2

Indie stores are alive and spinning

I asked for and recieved permission to reprint this wonderful article about Record Store Day; on April 19th. I want to thank the author and publication for allowing me this reprint.

Indie stores are alive and spinning

written by Jake Corbin

The experience of combing through stacks of records, searching for that one vinyl treasure sandwiched between decades of forgotten music may soon be a thing of the past.

As more and more consumers turn to their computers for new music - both legally and illegally - even the rhythmic sound of plastic CD covers being shuffled is disappearing.

Big-box retailers like Best Buy and Wal-Mart have taken a hit, but it's the independent music stores that are being driven to the brink of extinction.

The "indies," however, are not going down without a fight.

This Saturday marks the first ever "Record Store Day," an event that will unite hundreds of independently owned record stores across the country, all joining to celebrate their love of music and giving back to the community.

Part of the celebration includes merchandise that will be sold only at participating stores, including 7" releases from newcomers Vampire Weekend and blues-rockers the Black Keys. R.E.M., Death Cab for Cutie, Built to Spill and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks are also releasing limited edition discs.

The other part of the celebration involves live, in-store performances and tons of free giveaways.

"I think they should just come in and get the free stuff," said Dilyn Radakovitz, sales coordinator for Dimple Records. "Everybody will get the T-shirts and samplers; it's going to be really cool."

All six Dimple Records locations are participating in "Record Store Day," with each planning to hand out a plethora of goodies - ranging from magazines to CD box sets. Each store is also having a "Guess how many broken records" contest; winners will be awarded a $100 gift certificate.

Dimple isn't the only local shop getting in on the action.

R5 Records, owned by Russ Solomon of Tower Records fame, is planning a day full of events, including a rock 'n' roll garage sale in the parking lot, a record swap, free baked goods, live music and free goodie bags. Sacramento artist Paul Imagine will also be selling limited edition T-shirts.

While free swag and rare music is great, KSSU Station Manager Robert Young sees a larger issue at hand.

"The music industry, and art in general, thrives in free thought and independence," said Young. "You don't really get to see that with mainstream stores, because the music there is streamlined; it's limited."

Young says local indie stores are the place to go to break away from what the radio is playing and tap into different types of music. He is excited "that every independent store in the nation gets to showcase that" by participating in "Record Store Day."

"Independent record stores have stuff you can't find at regular music outlets," said Young. "When you go to a record store, it's like hitting a gold mine."

Radakovitz also sees local record stores as a convenient place to fulfill one's music shopping needs.

"Indies are on top of new things that are coming out and they have the information for customers," Radakovitz said. "I think people are going to find more in their local store just because they aren't going to find it on the radio."

Helping people realize the musical possibilities they are missing out on is one goal "Record Store Day" is hoping to accomplish; for Rob Fauble, however, he's hoping to catch the eye of the record labels.

"We would love not only the public to enjoy the physical product of the music, but to get the attention of record companies to show them this is what we should be doing," said Fauble, owner of The Beat in downtown Sacramento.

He admits record sales have been down in the last couple years, but he is growing tired of being written off by the major record labels.

"(Selling records) is our livelihood," said Fauble. "Most of us got into this...for the love of music."

Major label politics aside, "Record Store Day" participants are hoping the day's events will help consumers recapture the special feeling they once got at record stores; that feeling of wandering around, aisle after aisle, until they stumbled upon their new favorite CD.