Thursday, April 20, 2017

The end of the Day?

It's that time of year again: Record Store Day takes place this Saturday. Forgive me if I don't leap to its support, though. The original intention may have been laudable - a day to celebrate the enduring pleasures of buying physical music in person - but over the years it's become diluted and warped, and now arguably does more damage than good.

I've written before about how Record Store Day has been attacked by distributors, independent record labels and even the owners of precisely the sorts of small independent record shops it's supposed to help, for whom participation means taking large quantities of stock with no right to sale or return. This year, criticism has come from Simon Raymonde, founder of the superb label Bella Union, because the former Cocteau Twin was staggered to discover that his band's final two LPs are set to be re-released by Universal without his knowledge or involvement.

As this underlines, the real beneficiaries of Record Store Day, inevitably, are major labels like Universal, who capitalise by flooding stores with an obscene amount of limited edition and repressed LPs from established and often heritage acts.

Time to call time on the whole thing, I'd suggest - or at very least have a serious rethink and get back to its roots and original aims.

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