As Record Store Day approaches, it’s important to consider all aspects of the holiday, even the less favorable ones. Yes, RSD has done a lot of good for independent record stores. It’s their best selling day of the year, it’s even bigger than the pre-Christmas shopping week.
But with all of this success, the major labels are becoming a lot more interested (and if you need proof of that, check out the “Every Single RSD Exclusive” list). Now, some indie labels feel like they’re being pushed out of the day that’s supposed to be boosting the independent cornerstones of the music industry.
The Quietus has taken a look at the downsides of RSD, featuring the viewpoints of indie labels and an interview with the Day’s U.K. coordinator, Spencer Hickman.
Way back in 2011, Rob Sevier of Chicago based The Numero Group said:
“What I’m not crazy about are the literally hundreds of pieces of shit being shoved into the marketplace on this day; products, for the most part, that no human needs to own, ever. The economy of Record Store Day is, ‘What can we shit into the form of a record and shove into the hands of the wanton masses?’”
The Modern Love label voiced their concern in a series of tweets:
have heard from two labels recently that majors are trying to book out pressing plants for weeks at a time to meet RSD, who is this helping?
— modern love (@ourmodernlove) April 17, 2014
Distro company Kudos highlighted some of the issues they are facing in 2014 with pressing plants on their blog, saying:
“Kudos have always been a strong supporter of Record Store Day. We have participated since its inception and have enjoyed some notable successes. However, it now feels like it has been appropriated by major labels and larger indies to the extent that smaller labels who push vinyl sales for the other 364 days of the year are effectively penalised.”
The concerns go on; read them at The Quietus.
This is a community-driven event and there’s room for change if those with concerns choose to involve themselves. Spencer Hickman says:
“I need … feedback because it’s the only way we can figure out how to solve the problems. We have a post-Record Store Day meeting … I have to compile a report for that meeting mentioning issues that we’re having in the UK and I will ask what we can do about them. I really don’t want to see anyone’s business being hurt and I perfectly understand that indie labels are the rock of indie stores.”
Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. She started and runs the music blog West Coast Fix. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u