Thursday, 16 April 2015

Why We Don't Like Record Store Day

Now, I'm not going to turn this into a big piece shouting at the guys behind RSD and what their intentions were to begin with, but this will be more of an insight into what happens behind the scenes and some general food for thought.

I'm presuming the idea was founded by an honest group of people that genuinely thought this would be great for the music scene and a brilliant business idea, and too right.

I'd like to point out the name of this sacred day, 'Record Store Day'. Emphasis being on the 'Record Store' aspect. This isn't a day to celebrate labels as we have the Independent Label Market for that, but it seems that the meaning behind the day has been obscured by Universal, Warner, Columbia and your usual group of standard money hungry monsters.

I have always encouraged the pressing and manufacture of vinyl, and the more music on vinyl, the better, but somehow within me, I am starting to not wish this sentiment towards any of these super limited to 25,000 copies, full colour, gum flavoured edible sleeves that will only be available on RSD and come free with a fridge magnet of a duck.

Anything to fulfill the demand of consumerism eh?

These types of presses are annihilating the limited number of pressing plants which are already exhausted. We've had a variety of presses come in the last month for labels that we manage where the records have been warped due to improper cooling times being executed, as the records have had to be rushed away to make room for the next. This not only means that we're unhappy, it means that the pressing plant have to do a re-run and lose out on their profit. It won't be long before some of the biggest and final pressing plants in Europe close and ironically it may be because of the strain that is RSD.

RSD should be about the Record Store. A day where people get to visit their local shop, speak to the owners, learn about the heritage of the shop, browse their catalogue and meet and speak to regular buyers. Don't just buy the limited edition Burial remix of Tina Turner's entire discography to flog on Discogs and leave, what was the point in having a day to celebrate that?

From a business point, there is a lot of money to be made on this day, labels, record stores, distributors, artists, producers and pressing plants could, and do make a lot of money around this time of the year, every year, but unfortunately it is not at the betterment of the music scene, most of the times the pockets that are being lined are the majors and the longevity of vinyl is being prevented.

We have all witnessed, at some point in our lives, a beloved genre die due to non-organic growth or a commercial bandwagon coming along to never ride to the next stop, so why let vinyl as a format go down the same road as Dubstep did as a genre?

Our latest release, Beyond The Confines, will not be part of RSD, we want it to be freely available everywhere and we want it to be reasonably priced too, we don't want to offer exclusivity to anyone and we want people to love the music above the "Limited Edition" sticker placed onto it.

Hopefully RSD continues, but from this year to the next, there has to be a shift in how it is managed and what is the best way in which the entire scene can benefit so that we can keep vinyl alive.