Saturday, April 19, 2014


Or, "How The Major Record Labels
Convinced Me To Stop Collecting Vinyl"

Another Record Store Day has come and gone, and once again the record labels, who whine that people do not pay money for music, have shot themselves in the foot.

If I posted about this last year, I apologize for repeating myself. But I hope against hope that a record label employee might read these words and convince their employer to wise up.

You see, I went to my local Zia Records with a wish list of twenty of the "Record Store Day exclusives, half vinyl and half CD.

The top three on my list were vinyl releases from Drive By Truckers, Bruce Springsteen and Wesley Stace (he started his recording career as John Wesley Harding but most people have never heard of him, either).

Now I did get to Zia more than a half hour after the doors opened, so I am certainly culpable in the fact that I did not find those three titles.

But you know what really pisses me off?

Zia got the following stock of those titles:

Drive-By Truckers-(1)
Bruce Springsteen-(2)
Wesley Stace-(0)

Come on-I get that you want to make things collectible...but ONE copy to a store that had 100 people in line when they opened their doors?

Is it Record Store DAY or Record Store MINUTE?

I'd had a couple of the vinyl 45's and five of the CD's in my hands, but when I saw the line at the register, I decided that the crumbs the record labels had left me were not worth the wait.

So I left without buying anything.

I tried two other stores (Revolver Records and Stinkweeds), with the same result, and spent the same amount of money.

In fact, I cost Stinkweeds money-they were having people wait in line to keep the store from becoming too crowded, and they gave me a bottle of spring water.

I felt bad not spending any money, but this happens each year. I get that the labels want to issue vinyl collectibles, but either print a few more or print up some frigging CD's.

Instead, what do they force everyone at that Zia but the ONE GUY who got the Drive-By Truckers EP to do?

Yep! Download the music from a file sharing site.

Probably not the point of Record Store Day (or it's Black Friday counterpart).

I do not blame the stores, and I hope the additional traffic helps them, but for the most part, the vinyl I buy sits upstairs on a shelving unit with a couple thousand other vinyl records collecting dust.

I started intentionally going late to the stores last year because of the behavior of the people scrambling for these titles.

My theory-I will live without more vinyl that I rarely play collecting dust waiting for me to kick the bucket so my nieces and nephews can figure out what the heck do with all this stuff.

Again, probably not the intent of Record Store Day.

I started this site because I thought people should continue to buy music in physical form...and yet I find myself forced to download music because the labels refuse to make it available to me.

Go figure.

And it struck me as I was driving home....I'd been to three stores. covered forty or so miles and did not buy anything.

The record stores did not profit from me.

The record labels did not profit from me.

But Exxon is laughing all the way to the bank! 


  1. What a bummer. I haven't been in a record store in years. There is a big one in Reno that advertises a lot. Supposedly they give top dollar for 'old' vinyl, of which I have a ton. It's in a storage locker in Idaho, but I have to move that stuff this summer. I wonder if I can make more than $1.95. BTW, I've heard of JOhn Wesley Harding.

    1. I cannot bear to part with my old vinyl...and you have to balance your "top dollar" expectation with the fact that they have to sell it.

      One strategy is to browse the store to see if they are already sitting on copies of what you'd bring in.

      I'm surprised-most people know the Dylan album (John Wesley Harding), but not the British singer (voice sounds a little like a mellow Elvis Costello, with catchy pop and folk tunes).

  2. Hardly a "Record Store Day". My days of scouring and exploring record stores are most likely done with. And that used to be one of my favorite pastimes. In the event that I'd think of any must-have recording I will probably resort to some online source--most likely Amazon.

    I hate to see the demise of all the cool old-school record and book stores, There are none close to me and I don't want to fund the oil companies any more than I have to.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

    1. Still my favorite pastime, Lee, although when they put those boxes of records on the floor I make all sorts of noises getting back up that I do not seem to recall from twenty years ago...

  3. I can't relate because I'm a digital downloader (legally, mind you, but I still prefer digital for most things) but I know this all too well for Free Comic Day, in which they pretty much do the same thing to people. They give away a whole collection of free comics and people wait hours in line for it. And what do they give away? Well, they have only 1 copy each of the cool comics (and probably only about 20 total), and the rest are a pile of junk comics that nobody wants. The rest you have to pay full price for. So even if you wait in line for 2 hours you'll probably only walk away with Archie and Jughead Go To The Moon Part #153 for free, and you still have to pay full price for whatever comic you originally wanted.

    No thanks.

    1. I guess if it keeps the indie stores in business I am all for it, and there is probably a fine line between too few and too many pressed....but one or two copies to a store?

  4. That's too bad. I buy all digital at this point, but I miss those days of excitedly driving to a record store and hours of studying album art and following the song with the lyrics.
    I hope life has been treating you well, my friend.


    1. No complaints about life, Jimmy-I hope yours is good as well!

      Funny-I just feel like if I buy a download...what am I paying for?

      It's like buying air!