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Record Store Day 2021: The Big Haul or Time to Rethink

Record Store Day 2021 has come and gone and hundreds of thousands of music fans descended on independent record stores today across the globe.

Shoppers buying records on Record Store Day, June 12, 2021

Record Store Day 2021 (the second part is in a few weeks) has come and gone and hundreds of thousands of music fans descended on independent record stores today across the globe looking for exclusive releases from some of the biggest and smallest independent record labels in the world.

We almost forgot how much we missed standing in line to overpay for records that greedy collectors will be selling for enormous profits later in the day on eBay and Discogs.

We wish that part of Record Store Day 2021 was a thing of the past but sadly it isn’t and for those of us who just want to get out there on a Saturday after 15 months of global pandemic and support our local stores — it takes a lot of the fun out of it.

We were curious about Record Store Day from the perspective of an independent record store owner and you can hear how the day really rolls on our latest podcast. It’s not as pretty and glamorous as you might think; not to mention a financial risk for those involved.

RSD 2021-06-12 Hi-Fi Hits Record Store Inside
Hi-Fi Hits Records and More, Buffalo, New York

I was mostly kidding when I suggested last week during our coverage of the new Focal Powered by Naim Houston boutique that I tried to bribe the staff at Cactus Music in Houston for first crack at some of the albums that I was excited about this year.

Do people really enjoy standing in line anymore? Not a fan to be brutally honest.

Our intrepid team did exactly that today in Alberta, New York, Michigan, Texas, California, and New Jersey and have decided to share what we found and took home.

Jack’s Music Shoppe in Red Bank, New Jersey, is the only record store within 20 minutes of my house anymore thanks to COVID-19; my local store in Asbury Park where I celebrated the previous 5 Record Store Days closed up shop and went online, and I was not in the mood to drive to Princeton at 7 am to stand in line on a Saturday.

RSD 2021-06-12
Jack’s Music Shoppe, Red Bank, New Jersey

With the mask mandate gone in New Jersey after 15 months of pure torture, Jack’s had a line building by 7:30 in the morning; the store wisely decided to not let more than 10 people into store at any one time which created some sense of order.

New ordering procedures created some issues this year for some dealers and the number of albums available here were less than in recent years.

Having zero interest in Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, or the Cure — I headed straight for the Kenny Dorham, Jim Croce, Echo & The Bunnymen, Ella Fitzgerald, Buzzcocks and Black Sabbath. Everything except for Ella, Jim Croce, and two other albums that were not on my initial list were gone in 10 minutes.

The crowd was definitely smaller this year and I have to say that the prices on some of the albums were really out of whack. Scarcity and greed are often a bad combination and I do think there needs to be a greater community discussion about this aspect of Record Store Day.

RSD 2021-06-12 Hi-Fi Hits Record Store
HiFi Hits, Buffalo, New York

It’s great that the day gets people into independent record stores and we loved being around fellow vinyl listeners again. It was very disappointing to see how few titles made it to my local record store and how quickly they were gone.

I did notice a stack of old RSD titles from previous years at Jack’s and all of the record stores that I visited in Houston last week.

People at Third Coast Vinyl, Muskegon, Michigan
Third Coast Vinyl, Muskegon, Michigan (Mitch Andersen, far right)

Perhaps Record Store Day needs to be expanded into a monthly thing with more albums, more copies, and greater opportunities for more music fans to actually find what they are looking for — I think most record store owners would love the extra exposure and consistent traffic.

We’ll be adding more coverage throughout the day.

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RSD 2021-06-12
RSD 2021-06-12 Hi-Fi Hits Line to get in
RSD 2021-06-12
RSD 2021-06-12 Albums Purchased
Ian White’s Haul from Jack’s Music Shoppe, Red Bank, New Jersey
Records Purchased at Third Coast Vinyl, Muskegon, Michigan
Third Coast Vinyl, Muskegon, Michigan – Mitch’s haul
RSD 2021-06-12 Records Purchased at Cactus, Houston
Cactus Music, Houston, Texas – Lauren’s Haul
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