There’s already been a lot of criticism aimed at Record Store Day, which returns this Saturday, April 19. On Saturday, the Irish Times reported how Tower Records was annoyed with HMV’s plans for the day. Its Grafton Street store is set to reopen on Saturday with a “record store celebration” with 40% off vinyl albums – even though Record Store Day is supposed to be a celebration of independently owned record stores.
“In light of the recent article in The Irish Times about Tower Records criticising HMV of their participation in Record Store Day and offering store-wide discounts and a 40% sale, I personally feel that neither of these stores should be participating. Both of them are or were chains/franchises and both of them aren’t your typical independent record shop. It’s Record Store Day, not Media Department Store Day.
Record Store Day was created as a day to honour the small local record shop, usually with an owner struggling through the MP3 revolution of the late 90s, early 2000s. It was a day that encouraged people to visit the store and make a purchase to try and keep these little institutions going. As former owner of the record stall in George’s Street Arcade, I was both thrilled by people’s smiles and support in addition to being truly grateful for the extra business on the day. It served as a light at the end of the typically dark tunnel of Jan-Feb-March, which would allow me to buy more stock and keep the place afloat until summer.
Unfortunately now it’s about opportunists queuing up early to try and snag a limited edition Record Store Day release of Lady Gaga, U2, or some other band that they do not listen to, and put it up for sale on eBay or Discogs as soon as they get home. If you don’t believe me, at 3pm on April 19th, go on to eBay.co.uk and eBay.com and search “record store day”, and you’ll see how grossly abused the original intentions of the day now are.
Imagine it was International Coffee Shop Day. I view choosing to support HMV & Tower on April 19th as the equivalent of not recognizing all the great little independent coffee shops in Dublin and celebrating the day by purchasing a cup of coffee in Burger King because of a 40% coffee sale or getting a cappuccino in O’Briens, because it’s “Irish”.
Let Tower and HMV have their pissing contest with their “international DJs”, cheaper Xboxes, discounted DVDs, and limited-edition One Direction 7″ singles. If you really want to celebrate the true essence of Record Store Day, take the time to visit the REAL independent record stores of the city:
The R.A.G.E./Record Spot
All these shops are within a few minutes of each other, some will have live music by Irish acts, and I’m sure all of them will be offering some sort of discount/special offer on the day including the exact same releases that will be in HMV & Tower. Dublin 2 will be absolutely buzzing, and it’s bound to make for a great day out.”