Come support your local Record Store!!
Keepin’ it Local – Fourth Annual Record Store Day Set for Saturday
By Seamus Gallivan
Rooted firmly in the notion of Keepin’ it Local, Record Store Day (RSD) marks its fourth anniversary this Saturday of celebrating the unique culture of the over 700 independently-owned record stores across the country, and now including many beyond. Beyond countless exclusive releases and offers at local havens Record Theatre and Sprial Scratch Records – check their sites for specific offers and RSD’s site overall expansive rundown – many local bands will perform in-store, listed at the bottom of this article.
Before I chatted with local music magnet Susan Tanner about the entire effort, Buffalo First’s Angela Stefano waxed poetic about local record stores:
“When I was in high school, I’d occasionally spend some time after school in New World Record, which was down the street from my school. I bought albums by my favorite (now, sadly, broken up) local bands there. I went there the day after prom – basically sleepless, hair in that morning-after hairsprayed mess – for a signing with The Goo Goo Dolls.
“Now, when I need to relieve stress or think, I’ll spend time in Record Theatre. I recently bought Son of the Sun’s album there – one of the few non-online spots I could find it.
“The latter record store is still open; the former, sadly, is not.
“Record stores foster a sense of community. They hold in-stores and signings with up-and-coming (and sometimes more famous) artists. Their staff will happily recommend you great new music or order you rarities and special requests. They carry local albums that national chains and websites wouldn’t even know existed. Plus, it’s just plain fun to spend an hour or three aimlessly browsing through the bins.”
Beyond the last two stores standing, having fought through fire and big-box brimstone, Buffalo’s contribution to RSD is bolstered by music magnet Susan Tanner, an independent marketing/promotions consultant and promoter rep for ESI Events who used to serve as sales/marketing manager for Righteous Babe Records and recently created and moderated a panel at the South By Southwest Music Festivalon Record Store Day.
If you have a free hour sometime this week, as Tanner’s husband Marty Boratin, part of the still-pulsating soul of New World Record, what releases he has his eyes on for this weekend. Tanner took time to talk about the history and meaning of Record Store Day.
What inspired the creation of Record Store Day?
It started as a copycat holiday from Free Comic Day. Comic sellers wanted draw attention and people to their stores, so they’d have a day where they gave stuff away. Indie record stores saw that – a lot of shops are down the street from each other, or some carry comics, too, and were aware, and wanted to use the idea to help them stand out from their bigger competition – places like Best Buy, Target, and at the time Barnes and Noble and Border’s.
Chris Brown at Bull Moose in Portland, Maine [which now has 10 locations] made this his brainchild. Then Criminal Records in Atlanta picked up on it. The first one was real loosey-goosey – labels were contacted and told, “Hey, were gonna do this event – clean out your closets and send us t-shirts, samplers, anything we can give away.”
There’s so much more to it now – how has it evolved?
It’s funny and interesting – at first, the message to the public was, “C’mon in and get free stuff.” As it’s grown over four years now, the freebies are fewer and farther between – it’s almost all exclusively-made products for Record Store Day. What started as getting customers in for free stuff now serves to offer them things they want to buy.
A lot of bands and labels now plan special, limited-quantity releases for their fans on Record Store Day – a lot of them are regional, smaller labels, and even the smaller label will get that visibility and help them be placed on level footing with the big guys.
Even a local, independent artist like Brian Wheat – he’s putting out a record on his own label, but performing at Record Store Day, so it’s great visibility for local bands – people who might not go out to see live local music will see bands at in-store performances.
And it’s now expanded into Canada, England, France, Japan; and this year – though it’s been kept kind of low-key because they don’t want to dilute the effort – some labels have started doing specific, limited-edition releases on Black Friday, as a lot of accounts are saying that they’re doing more business on Record Store Day than Black Friday.
Between that panel and your experience, how is the point driven home of the importance of supporting the local, indie record store, and the purpose they serve?
One thing everyone was saying at the panels is that part of goal of this is getting people to think of these stores not just on Record Store Day, but every other day. The label doesn’t have to plan these things just on this one Saturday in April – if they have a key release coming out in June, they can team up with the indie stores; or a band that’s touring, maybe they could do more in-stores all along the tour.
They do serve a purpose – it’s the place that when I was a kid, I could go find about music. Whether or not I know somebody there, nine times out of ten, the kids there are knowledgeable about music and lead me to some good stuff. I like the community of meeting people who want to talk to me about music, rather than typing things in on a computer – I can walk in to my local record store and say, “You know what I like – tell me what I should get?”
What are your plans for Record Store Day this year?
I hopefully will go up to Record Theatre early – Brian Wheat is playing at 10:00a.m., so I want to be there right away, partaking in music and perusing around, thumbing through racks and buying some stuff. Marty has a whole list of things he wants to get.
Announced in-store performances as of Monday –
Record Theatre, 3500 Main Street (University Plaza):
10:00 – Brian Wheat
11:00 – Son of the Sun
12:00 – Iceberg
1:00 – Wooden Waves
2:00 – The Stay Lows
3:00 – Doppelgangers
4:00 – Here Come the Comets
5:00 – Johnny Nobody
6:00 – Bearhunter
7:00 – White Bison
8:00 – Cassi Meyerhoffer
Record Theatre, 1800 Main Street (at Lafayette):
10:30 – Tifani
12:00 – Alumni
1:00 – DJ Drapes, Django and Press
2:30 – Wes Walters
3:30 – Love Scenes
4:30 – DJ Scarlett
5:30 – J Bangin Brew
6:30 – Off The Cuff
7:30 – Drea Ndur
Spiral Scratch Records, 291 Bryant St. (off Elmwood)
Tony Flaminio (Failures Union), White Whale, Treetop, Mark Constantino (Fences make Good Neighbors/ex-Exit Strategy), and more…