Posted April 10, 2015 by Cooper Point Journal in Arts & Entertainment

Local Stores Gear Up for Record Store Day

By Blaine Ewig

This April 18 will mark the ninth annual Record Store Day in the US. Record stores all around the country will be hosting free in-store performances, throwing parties, having sales, and selling special Record Store Day releases. Inspired by Free Comic Book Day, Record Store Day aims to bring attention to businesses by asking community members to come show support. And since its beginning in 2008, Record Store Day has only gotten bigger in terms of participating stores and in its effect in the music industry. “It’s typically our best day of the year for retail sales…it’s always real exciting,” said Brandon Rowley, co-owner of Deadbeat Records. The store opened in Moscow, Idaho in 2010 before relocating to Olympia in December.

Prior to Record Store Day, the record industry had been seeing a decline in vinyl sales in favor of CDs and other digital music formats. Vinyl sales have since seen an increase, nearly quadrupling since 2008. Though the effects are not direct, the correlation between Record Store Day’s ability to bring attention to the record industry and record sales is hard to deny.

But the fun of record store day can come as a cost to participating businesses, particularly smaller, independently owned ones. Though it may seem like an all-around win for businesses, Record Store Day often comes with a pressure on record stores to be carrying special-releases which are often sold in bulk with a hefty price tacked on. To get the most in-demand releases, businesses are forced to either sign expensive contracts with big companies like Warner Bros. or potentially suffer the consequences of disappointed customers.

“It’s almost like a Hallmark holiday. It’s a Warner Bros. holiday,” said Rowley. “We’ll try to celebrate in a way that’s alternative to giving Warner Bros. a whole bunch of money.”

As an official sponsor of Record Store Day, Warner Bros. will be releasing and reissuing vinyl albums from bands including Built to Spill, The Flaming Lips, Tegan and Sara, and Steve Reich. As an alternative to selling these big name artists, Deadbeat Records hopes to sell more records from independent companies and local artists. “We wanna get away from the commercial side and focus back on the artists, on the hard work that goes into it, and recordings that result,” said Rowley.

In addition to throwing down extra money for big contracts in order to obtain special releases, stores must pay $200 dollars to get their business added to the official Record Store Day listing. Of course, many stores host unofficial events, which are not listed officially online. According to the Record Store Day website, all business listed on their registry are independent, meaning that they are “not owned by a corporation” and that they “aren’t run or influenced or told what to do” by the Record Store Day collective, and that they have “complete control over their stock, store policies and which promotions they participate in.”

The best way to support your music community on Record Store Day is to keep it local. Go to an independent record store, buy music from local artists, purchase your records from local, independent labels.

Deadbeat Records will be hosting eight free, in-store performances on Record Store Day, featuring Kind of Like Spitting, Fauna Shade, Lake Fight, and more during their regular business hours.