Saturday is the fourth Record Store Day, an annual celebration of independent record shops and their contribution to music culture. It’s an opportunity to embrace music buying as it once was, digging in the racks for rare treasures and chatting to the knowledgeable staff. It’s also a chance to snagging one of the many exclusive releases – often on vinyl – only available on the day.
As pointed out on More Canals Than Venice, this RSD is particularly poignant for Birmingham music lovers as 2010 has already seen Tempest Records, specialists in everything from rare American indie and hardcore to dance and electronica, close down after thirty years in the city. Swordfish Records, which appeals more to collectors and has all the trappings of the stereotypical dusty record shop, has put a ‘to let’ sign go up on its frontage, so its days seem numbered too.
All is not lost though – Polar Bear Records in Kings Heath are participating, so head over early to pick up Blur’s first release in seven years, a Pavement 7″ single and other releases by Beach House, Caribou, The Hold Steady, Midlake and many more.
We’ve written several posts on here (see below) that lamented the passing of the record shop and physical formats, while simultaneously being excited about the future of digital music and how it could potentially democratise distribution and provide opportunities for forward-thinking musicians. I also seem to remember commenting that I would be purchasing CDs to the bitter end. Now, due to financial reasons and the allure of the limitless choice available online, physical music purchases are few and far between – I’m much more likely to use eMusic, Spotify or Boomkat that wander down to Tempest, an essential part of my trips to Brum as a teenager.
I’ll miss record shops when they’re gone for sure, although overall I don’t feel I enjoy music any less because I buy it online (yes, prime minister, some of us do pay for music).