The vinyl lovers' holiday is upon us again. Do it.
Every April, Record Store Day celebrates music pressed to wax by uniting independent record store owners with collectors through special sales and releases.
Record Store Day is celebrated in thousands of stores on every continent except Antarctica. Which begs the question, do people listen to vinyl in Antarctica? Maybe I’ll take a trip and report back.
For a number of years, over 60 percent of the special releases on RSD came from independent labels, like Savannah’s Graveface Records. The big labels have jumped on board now, which is OK, I guess.
Into its 11th year, RSD has played a pivotal role in the resurgence of the aged music medium, along with a renewed love of vinyl by a younger generation. Most people who buy vinyl, according to science, are male and under the age of 25.
Seemingly at odds with the digital age, vinyl consumption has done nothing but grow in the 2010s. According to the 2017 Recording Industry Association of America’s annual report, vinyl led sales in the physical medium market with a 10 percent increase in revenue, up to $396 million in sales. Rad, but why did people stop buying music all together? Don’t you want to financially support your favorite band? I suppose stealing off YouTube is easier.
Revenue reports also stated that physical sales surpassed digital sales in 2017 for the first time since 2011. Recorded music on the whole enjoyed a 16.5 percent increase in retail value, up to $8.7 billion. Streaming is king of the music industry right now. Accounting for 65 percent of the market, streaming services (including Pandora, SiriusXM, Internet radio stations, YouTube, Vevo, and Spotify), were up 43 percent to $5.7 billion.
Although it’s a niche market still, and most music fans increasingly are unwilling to buy music, the vinyl market is growing. In fact, an Austrian company is investing in the future by manufacturing HD vinyl, which will hit stores next year. Behind a new process, HD vinyl will allegedly have 30 percent more playing time and amplitude. Neil Young will be happy about that.
Enough of that boring data stuff. Here’s what you need to know:
Locally, two stores will have plenty to offer vinyl fans this year. Graveface Records & Curiosities and Rody’s Records will be packed with special RSD issues, although both stores are taking different approaches to the day.
Graveface will offer a more curated, albeit expansive selection. According to Graveface, this is the first year RSD has announced titles available to the public and the stores at the same time. So instead of guessing at what people want, Graveface asked people to tell them what they want via Facebook. They did.
Rody’s received requests as well, so store owner Phil Perrie doubled this year’s order in heavy quantities. They received 100 percent of their orders from two different vendors, so both Rody’s stores will have much more vinyl than they anticipated. Rody’s will offer special discounts to club members.
Both stores will open at 8 a.m. Graveface will start with curb-side sales of used albums before opening the physical store at 9 a.m. That's where the good stuff will be. RSD over the years has also been a day for local stores to celebrate music in general with the addition of fun activities and of course bands. At 2 p.m., Graveface will have live music with local bands playing slots in the Starland Dairy adjacent to the store (which is probably the best new live music venue in this city; well, that and the new Trustees' Garden complex).
Since Graveface is also a record label, each year they have their own special release. Graveface will have copies of a new mini-album this year, “P A I N” from the incredible Tennis System. Terror Vision, Graveface’s sister label that focuses on horror movie soundtracks, will release the score to “Igor and the Lunatics” as well. There will be, as usual, a golden ticket inserted into one of the Tennis System and “Igor and the Lunatics” releases that earns the lucky winner a bunch of free stuff. It’s all cool free stuff, too. Go get it, Charlie!
Firmly in the "extra" category, Graveface is also doing something different this year, by “opening his vaults,” where tons of rare gems will be put into the store. Too expensive, according to Graveface, to post in the store on a normal day, bring your credit card for those vault goodies, or ask mom and dad for a loan.
There are over 400 special releases coming on RSD, including everything from a special re-release of FIDLAR’s debut album to a rare live Iggy Pop album and an RSD exclusive release of Jeff Buckley’s “Live at Sin-e.” Yeah, those are on my wish list and I intentionally pointed them out for my own notes. Get over it. Go find what you want at recordstoreday.com.
Bottom line is, if you love listening to music on vinyl, this is the day to grab new gems for your collection. Savannah has you covered.
Joshua Peacock is a freelance writer who lives in Savannah. He writes regularly at dosavannah.com.