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This past Saturday was National Record Store Day. So vinyl nerds and Yo La Tengo fans [OK they are the same] were finally given a special day to scuttle out of apartments, discover day light, and join the masses hungry for free shit, discounts and live in-stores.
The Day turned out to be more fun than seeing nerds in sunlight. It was actually more fun than all the pre-day hype.
The Day wasn’t necessarily aimed at the nerds. Nor was it pitched toward exposing the freeloaders to something they haven’t yet sendspaced.
The A-and-B listers called on to provide testimonials and flog the event have long ago started averaging three stars in Rolling Stone. In other words, we’re talking Paul McCartney and the Boss. Or they were as old-timey as Chuck Berry and Henry Rollins. Or they were Joe Satriani and the drummer from Flipper. Not exactly preaching to the ones who need converting.
I had worries that the whole thing was going to feel like one of those sermons the industry now provides late in the Grammy telecast. You’ve heard it before: the industry is dying, stop stealing music, etc. Even Metallica was participating. Or it would turn into an excuse for the industry to give away last year’s crap no one bought.
But this Day was aimed at the people the industry screws the most: the indie record store owners. If the music biz wants to save itself, they could do better than giving the stores a special day. The industry could stop giving sweetheart deals to the Big Boxes, and stop listing new records at inflated prices. At least on Saturday, the big labels paid attention to the little guy!
I was able to check out Smash and Crooked Beat. Both Adams Morgan stores were crowded and festive. Crooked Beat reported giving away all of its grab bags within an hour of opening up. Sales appeared brisk; the new releases seemed mostly sold out. It was great to hear the store crank up The Argument. So yeah, the nerds got to nerd out. And maybe the store got some new customers.
But now that the day is over, let the debates begin. One has started up over on our music blog.
—photo of Crooked Beat’s Bill Daly courtesy of mudsugar.com.