With the insanely fast development of technology and music being almost completely digital these days, it’s easy to forget that record stores still even exist. (But don’t say that to your average hipster music fanatic, or they might just have an aneurysm.)
With businesses like Spotify, iTunes and even YouTube for music, the idea of purchasing hard copies of music is somewhat foreign, especially with former music giants like Tower Records, Sam Goody and more now extinct.
But they do exist. In fact, there’s even a holiday dedicated to the stores themselves—Record Store Day on April 18. Oftentimes you’ll see special releases from your favorite artists, including limited edition vinyl, CDs and different promotional products that are exclusive, rare, or on sale.
The whole point of the holiday, according to the official Record Store Day website, is to bring together people in celebration of music, indie record stores and the uniqueness of independently owned shops. But according to Justin Edwards, shift manager of Zia Records in Tempe, sometimes the holiday has the opposite effect.
“We have a lot of people who seem to come in just for the exclusives, but because they’re exclusives they’ll end up flipping online to make a profit rather than keeping them for listening pleasure,” Edwards says. “It’s kind of hurting the market because bigger labels are pushing it rather than smaller indie labels, especially since the physical CD is dying. It’s good to see people in the store, but just having it be where people take advantage of the specials that way when someone else who might actually want the exclusive won’t get it is kind of a bummer.”
According to the website, a total of 15 stores in Arizona will be participating in Record Store Day, six of which are the chain Zia Records. Although there might be some downsides to it, there are advantages, such as bringing attention to the stores themselves.
“I guess it makes sense that some record stores still exist. They can’t all go out of business,” says ASU senior Rick Baez. “There’s definitely a market of people who want those kinds of things and it can’t all be online. They’re collectables. I’m just a huge fan of Spotify and getting my music instantly that I don’t really notice record stores on a regular basis.”
At the very least, this holiday reminds everyone that physical music hasn’t died quite yet. With everything from special edition vinyl to other various exclusive products, there’s something for every music fan to check out on Record Store Day.