The death of the record – and more recently the CD – has been a highly anticipated event over the past few decades. Yet, reports of its demise come greatly exaggerated.
While physical sales continue to experience a decline, there is still a strong demand for vinyl – if the excitement for Record Store Day Australia this year is any indication.
For the fifth year running, Record Store Day Australia will be held on Saturday, the 20th of April.
It is the one day a year when record stores around the country come together with artists and record labels, to celebrate the joy of music and importance of a tangible experience when it comes to purchasing vinyl.
Run by the Australian Music Retailers Association, Record Store Day sees music stores across Australia celebrate with live music, activities and special deals and promotions.
A big draw card for Record Store Day is the number of bands releasing special vinyl editions to coincide with the event. Most special release titles are only available in limited numbers and are spread between the stores, with most places not knowing what they’ll get until the day arrives.
This year, special releases include limited editions from Good Heavens and Hermitude, as well as international Record Store Day releases from Ben Harper, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, MGMT, The Cure, Of Monsters and Men, Sex Pistols, Frank Zappa, The Velvet Underground and The Rolling Stones.
One of the more anticipated releases includes a Gotye hot pink 12” single of State Of The Art featuring a previously unreleased remix of the song with exclusive artwork by Rubber House.
To add to the experience, each year a musician is chosen to be the official ambassador of the event. While Jack White from The White Stripes has been labelled as the international ambassador, Australia has chosen it’s own.
Russell Morris – best known for his hit The Real Thing – was announced last month as the ambassador for Record Store Day Australia.
Morris recently released his latest album Sharkmouth, which has perched itself in the bottom half of the ARIA Top 20 charts.
Ambition Entertainment’s Robert Rigby, who released the album on this label Fanfare, attributed the album’s chart success to the availability and support for the album in local record stores.
“Sharkmouth is a fantastic, truly Australian release, and thanks to record stores everywhere we are selling loads of albums,” said Rigby to Music Feeds.
In terms of events around the country, the Record Store Day Australia website lists all participating stores and special activities that are occurring.
One music store that will be celebrating Record Store Day is Melbourne’s own Polyester Records.
Split between two stores, Polyester Records is one of Australia’s most loved and successful music stores – with one store located in the CBD tucked away in Flinders Lane and the other on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.
This year, Polyester Records will be going all out with celebrations happening at both stores.
“We’ve got a bunch of things happening,” said co-owner Simon Karis. “There’s bands and DJs playing in the city store and DJs at the Brunswick store, there’s 15 per cent off at both stores and we’ve got heaps of special releases.”
Karis said he’s looking forward to the day, as it helps highlight people buying records, and “it’s a good day to focus on how cool record stores are to shop in.”
Another Melbourne store commemorating the day is Thornbury Records.
The independent store, located in Melbourne’s north, was born of the idea that there will always be those who cherish physical music products, particularly vinyl, and the community that surrounds it.
Co-owner of the store, Clayton Pegus, said Record Store Day is great exposure for music retail stores and is one of the biggest days of the year for them.
“It’s good to get everyone down there to form a connection between record stores and punters, especially in a time when there are so many other options of getting music,” said Pegus.
“For Record Store Day this year, we put a lot of effort into getting rare and imported record store releases. We can’t have live bands playing because we’ve got restrictions, but otherwise we’re making it into a bit of a party.”
Image: Wikimedia Commons