Record Store Day

Record Store Day is an annual event celebrated on one Saturday during the month of April. This event does not have a fixed date and does not even have a fixed Saturday during April. In 2008, it was celebrated on Saturday, April 19th, and in 2016, it was celebrated on Saturday, April 16th. This holiday was designed to be an annual event to help drive record sales at independent record stores, much like Free Comic Book Day was designed to drive sales at independent comic stores. It has done a great job of achieving that purpose and has even been described as one of the greatest things to ever happen to independent record stores. In 2013, this event was given credit for the highest vinyl sales in the United States. However, this event has not been without its controversy. In the United Kingdom, this event was criticized for catering to record collectors and ignoring the more casual fans of recorded music. Regardless of how this event/holiday is observed, there is one thing for sure: this is an event that is probably going to continue into the future.

The History of Record Store Day

Record Store Day was first created in 2007. This is when Carrie Colliton, Amy Dorfman, Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Brian Poehner, and Don Van Cleave decided at a record store owner’s meeting that a national day celebrating record stores and the atmosphere around them should be established. Although the inaugural event did not do as well as everyone had hoped, the second year did a lot better – mainly because the band Metallica unofficially worked as ambassadors for the event. Over the years, it continued to get more media attention as artists such as Wilco, Disturbed, Killswitch Engage, Ozzy Osbourne, Dave Grohl, Death Cab For Cutie, the Deftones, and Jack White either appeared at various record stores while this event was being held or were official ambassadors for the event.

The 2016 celebration of Record Store Day saw the return of Metallica to the event—this time as official ambassadors. Metallica reissued their first two albums, Kill ‘Em All and Ride The Lightning. Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, David Bowie, Patti Smith, Gerard Way, Frank Zappa, the Deftones, and The Doors also released exclusive records on this day.

In 2017, St. Vincent became the first female ambassador for the event as it was held on Saturday, April 22nd of that year. Special releases for that year included Live From Los Angeles by Brandy Clark and Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 2, originally recorded in 1967.

The following year, in 2018, Record Store Day fell on April 21. Mike Peters from the band The Alarm began a marathon effort on this day to play four shows in the United Kingdom and the United States during a 24-hour period. He showed up at events in London, Wales, New York, and Los Angeles. During his tour of record stores, he gave away T-shirts and six limited-edition singles. Special releases for this day included albums by Bruce Springsteen, Prince, and Ella Fitzgerald.

In 2019, Pearl Jam served as ambassadors for the event, and they released their album MTV Unplugged for a limited release in observance of this day. Record Store Day during that year fell on April 13th. Special releases on this day included the album The Fall by Gorillaz, a special picture disc of Bohemian Rhapsody, as well as a variety of other albums.

In 2020, this holiday was supposed to fall on April 18th but had to be postponed to June 20th that year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It was then announced on April 29th, 2020, that Record Store Day would be postponed again and celebrated not on one day but three. It actually ended up being observed four times that year as it was observed on August 29th, September 26th, and October 24th; the final date was November 27th, and it was named RSD Black Friday. In 2021, the holiday was scheduled to take place on two dates, June 12th, and July 17th. The ambassador for 2021 was Fred Armisen.

Record Store Day Customs & Traditions

Each record store that celebrates this event does so in its own way. After all, the event is supposed to embody the individuality of each store and show off their importance in their community. Some record stores do this by giving away special promotions such as rare records, music memorabilia, or concert tickets. Stores may also offer special musical performances by either local or national bands. On a national and international level, Record Store Day usually features comedians, musicians, or other celebrities as official ambassadors for the event. Many musicians will also drop special records or create other special merchandise for the celebration of this holiday. People who want to spread the word about this holiday can do so by using the hashtag #RecordStoreDay or simply #RSD on their social media accounts.