Four days ago participating record stores all over the world were scenes of snaking queues, excitable vinyl junkies and feverish competition as collectors looked to get their hands on the very last of their limited pressing of choice.
It’s extremely easy to get caught up in the hype. There is no doubt that RSD has become a huge phenomenon. But every now and again there is a need to take a step back once the dust has settled on the whole occasion and take a more balanced look at how some musicians and labels feel about. Despite the way mainstream music media might portray RSD, feelings are certainly not universally positive.
Need convincing? The below piece that was put together by Bristol-based Howling Owl Records for The Independent is both informative and semantically poetic. But the newspaper wouldn’t publish. Here at Far Out we’re not scared o frepresenting the views of those within the industry, whether they disrupt the popular narrative of RSD or not. So without further ado, read below to find out why Howling Owl believe Record Store Day is all but dead…
The Revolution Will Be Monetised
“Feverish queues await doors too ready to swing open revealing candy store halo around hallowed wax. Coffee aroma inhales them in all weightless breath. Bacon fat crackles like dusty 45s as jittery hands fumble natty paper scrawled in wish list biro.
A polite stampede unfurls, tired sons and daughters stumble into a brave new world
where parents’ pasts have been dug up and stuck on shelves all varnish gloss.
Boxes ticked and bags filled bedlam. There are bouncers guarding the record player.
There are bouncers guarding the record player. Fifteen wanted and fifteen bought a lot
of money but it’s OK it’s an investment and it’s supporting the cause. Shop rolls dice but
the tills boom everybody happy. We’ve saved the World again one re-issue at a time.
The revolution will be monetised.
“Can we hear it, Dad?” “No, these records aren’t for listening!” Shrink-wrapped bit-coins
slotted online, nice little earner love it when music makes the world go pound.
Didn’t need them anyway, they’re all in the attic stacked like black pancakes that
will tug the heart in a few years. Next.
The last of the customers leaves battered shop, eyebrows raised at the dregs left in plastic tubs. Poor Belinda, poor Brett. Poor Brian, poor Bob. Looks like you’ll be joining yourselves on the racks. Drag them to the back room to join last year’s unwanted. Leave your coats and bags on their faded wonder. Poor Jarvis, punishment: pulped.
“GIVE US A BREAK” the missionaries caw, circling the heads of the clowns. They have saved us all and we better believe it. Take aim splat, Oh! a gift from the heavens. Staking claim for the revolution ah yes they filled the carcass with blood and now the carcass can eat itself.”
Record Store Day, then. There is no doubt that the concept has proved to be an essential money spinner for many of the shops who get involved, and this is why we have been clear in saying that our campaign is not a protest at the idea itself. We are also aware that it is Record Store Day, not a label day for haphazard outfits like ours to cash in, which is why each year we have created something unique and (wilfully and happily) lost our own money in doing so.
This is where the issue lies: the majority of labels squeezing out old puss into beaming hands on the day don’t have such worries and have identified Record Store Day as a cash cow ripe for udder thudding.
We are not ideological dreamers. We know how things are and where we fit in and we’re
fine being on the periphery as it’s much more fun out here, but it does leave a taste of
iron in the mouth when the labels and artists who have kept vinyl’s tepid heart pulsing
feel the baton snatched from their grasp and have to watch the victory parade from the
roofs of their make-shift offices, waiting for their releases to be delivered months late;
the same releases that have really kept vinyl alive but are now jeopardised.
Record Store Day say they kick-started the vinyl revolution and of course the tills don’t
lie if that’s how we’re judging it, but this is a revolution built on graveyard soil. How can
it be a revolution when the bands and artists who are looking to the future can’t be heard over the sound of the irrelevant and the dead? It is a boom ignited by a false economy, and when the boom is bust they can reissue the decline and charge us all for it.
Oh and there is no petulance here, or attention grabbing guff, we want to spark debate
because we care about things. We do also like to ruffle feathers. A little bit.