It’s that time of year again when self-proclaimed audiophiles and unique snowflake indie boys and girls line up outside the local record shoppe to buy overpriced “exclusive” releases. At first glance it seems like a great idea. Exclusive releases from your favorite artists on a day chosen specifically to celebrate independent record store? Why not? But digging a little deeper, it seems that Record Store Day might not be all it’s cracked up to be.
For starters, vinyl pressing plants are already scarce, but having a ton of RSD exclusive releases to be pressed probably doesn’t help. It’s been said time and time again that Record Store Day releases flood pressing plants and put other indie label releases on hold. And RSD is well aware that they’re being blamed, given this sassy response:
“To make it clear, the purpose of Record Store Day is not to promote independent labels. It is to promote independent record shops (the clue is in the name).
We know it’s not perfect and we know we need more pressing plants. But it’s a hell of a lot better than a world without Record Store Day.
Give us a break.“
That’s a condescending caress if I’ve ever seen one. I’d like to think that promoting indie labels is just as important as promoting indie record shops, since, according to RSD itself, “indie record shops disproportionately support independent labels.” And yet, it seems that a large portion of RSD releases are backed by major labels. Curious, isn’t it?
Not only that but I’m sure there are also people who will snatch up the most desirable and exclusive releases first thing in the morning, just to resell it for a ridiculous price online. And with limited pressings that only allow for one or two copies of each exclusive release at every store, unless you’ve got that Black Friday kind of motivation to lineup before the stores open, chances are you are not getting your hands on any exclusive vinyl. I mean, I would love to own something super limited edition and exclusive, but at what cost?
Like yes, Henry Rollins, Record Store Day probably has done a lot for independent record stores, and I really want to like and appreciate the day, but seeing all of the criticism and the ridiculous and unnecessary releases that have been put out in the past few years… I’m not sure what to say. Exclusive colored vinyl, special split EPs, and brand new single releases are cool, yes, but if I’m going to fork out $40 for a record, I would want something a little bit more creative. Something like an exclusive themed compilation or an album of unreleased songs? That sounds more like something I would want to pay for.
And that brings me to my last point: have you seen the list of RSD exclusive releases this year? In case you haven’t here’s all you need to know. Included in the exclusive releases for 2016 are some real gems like:
The All-American Rejects – Move Along (I own this album, but why now? Why on vinyl?)
Atreyu – The Best of Atreyu (I also own this album and I don’t think anyone needs to own this album, really.)
Justin Bieber – Purpose (I would probably buy this one, but in secret and in cash so there’s no paper trail.)
Disturbed – The Sound of Silence (This is probably the worst offender because it’s a release of a Disturbed cover of the Simon and Garfunkel song, which didn’t need to be covered by a band called Disturbed.)
Carl Douglas – Kung Fu Fighting (I just… Can you imagine someone going out of their way to put this record on while they are at home?)
Jack Ü – Where Are Ü Now (Wait, stop the party while I throw on my EDM vinyl.)
The Weeknd – The Hills (Remixes) (“I’ve always wanted to listen to Nicki Minaj’s remix of a song on vinyl!” said no one ever.)
Silly Symphony Collection: The Skeleton Dance (In case you wanted to get a little spooky and a little silly on your day off.)
Does anyone really need to listen to Atreyu or Distrubed on vinyl? Honestly, give US a break, Record Store Day.