Record Store Day: What'd you get? What's the point?

By the time I got to my local record store shortly after noon, they were sold out of pretty much all of the Record Store Day exclusives. On top of that, they didn’t have the new release I was looking for, the Handsome Family‘s Honey Moon. I left empty-handed…once again.

Makes me wonder: what’s the point? It kills me to admit it, but the fact of the matter is that the internet does it better.

What real value does a physical record store add these days? The only thing I can think of is…cheap used vinyl.

Update: Over on FISTFULAYEN, Ian Rogers explores these same mixed emotions, much more eloquently.

13 thoughts on “Record Store Day: What'd you get? What's the point?”

  1. i did the record store thing too saturday and it pretty much sucked as well. but that’s because the record store i went to sucked. f.y.e. had a better selection. it was a new store i wanted to try out. is the internet better? for stuff that’s out of print and hard to get yeah it is. but otherwise it can be a real headache. one of the last things i bought online was a cd-r manufactured product.

    it was advertised as such, but sold on amazon which i don’t think they should be allowed to. the other thing i bought i ordered from about a week and a half ago. they finally processed the order on friday. i still haven’t seen the cd yet.

    if the cd wasn’t out of print i wouldn’t have bought it online. i’ve had to the chance to buy the cd twice in two local shops, but i had already made the purchase online. for me, the benefit of a physical store vs. online is the ability to get the cd on hand that very day if i want it.

    i don’t have to wait two-three weeks to get it. i do think the internet can be good for a lot of hard to find titles, but i don’t think overall they’re very good. it sounds like you’re store you went to was as bad as mine.

  2. No, actually, the store I went to is a great record store. It’s everything you could ask for in a record store: good selection of new stuff, helpful staff, nice selection of new and used vinyl, music-related DVDs, magazines, etc. It’s pretty much the perfect record store.

    And yet…they sometimes sell out of stuff before I get there. That’s what happens with brick and mortar retailers. Of course, they are expecting more to come in with the next shipment, but that doesn’t help me there and then. So no, I was not able to get the album I wanted on the day I wanted it.

    Had I pre-ordered directly from the label, I have no doubt I would have received it on the day of release. But I have this thing that I like to support my local shop. And where has that gotten me?

    Had I purchased downloads from the label, Amazon, or iTunes, I would have had it even faster.

    And just because you buy stuff from shady third-party retailers doesn’t make “the internet” any less reliable than if you bought a bootleg from a dude selling CDs out of the trunk of his car parked in the Best Buy parking lot. There are scammers and dupes on the internet just like there in the real world. If you can’t tell the difference, you probably shouldn’t be shopping online.

    If you buy directly from the label or from reputable online stores, you’re not going to get ripped off. If you’re buying CD-Rs from a third-party reseller on Amazon, you’ve got no right to be disappointed when you receive a CD-R.

  3. Alls I know is that you can’t shopflift from the internet. Wait, isn’t Sven or Rikki Lixx supposed to say that?

  4. That’s the same problem I’ve been grappling with. Fifteen years ago, if the local record store was out of stock of something, the “good” record stores were defined as the ones that were able to special order what you wanted without any headache. Now, why in the world would anyone need to special order something when you can just get it off of itunes?

    Part of me understands the nostalgia, but the shrewd consumer in me is starting to not really get the point.

  5. to jake:

    i didn’t buy a cd-r from a third party re-seller on amazon. i bought it directly from amazon. they’re the ones making the cd-r’s. i don’t really think that’s cool. here’s the link by the way:

    the other cd i bought recently online was from, which i think is pretty reputable.

    that’s cool that your store you went to is great. i went to a new one that i hadn’t heard of and it was bad. no elvis costello at all. not even in the used section. but i really went to check the store out. i’ve got other better stores to go to in town.

    i think that purchasing can be good for buying stuff that is hard to find or out of print, but for new releases i tend to stick to brick and mortar stores, since i know i’ll be able to get it right away without much hassle. plus the record stores are within walking distance so in a way it’s just as easy for to buy it at the store.

  6. From that link:

    “This product is manufactured on demand using CD-R recordable media.’s standard return policy will apply.”

    You mentioned seeing that before you ordered so what’s the big stink?

  7. Went to Dave’s Records in Chicago. Definitely bought on the more mainstream end of things and got what I wanted, but it was fun to be lined up outside with folks when the door opened and have people going by ask what was going on. I was in from out of town — never had heard of the store before checking out the Day list, finding it near my friend’s condo and then having the owner reply to e-mail about what he was stocking — and had a great experience.

  8. to derek:

    i don’t recall saying it nor can i find where it, but i may have. if i did that was a goof. i didn’t know til after i bought and received. which i should’ve read more clearly. sorry about that.

  9. Transcript of an actual phone call, 4/19/09 10:06 pm CST

    Mergefan: So did’ga get anything good on record store day?

    Totale: Uh, nope.

    Mergefan: Yeah? Me either…

    Totale: What’s a record store, anyway?

    The one decent locally owned store in IAC didn’t participate while another one-a store we both thought had closed a decade ago-actually had some corresponding specials.

  10. “but otherwise it can be a real headache. one of the last things i bought online was a cd-r manufactured product.

    it was advertised as such, but sold on amazon which i don’t think they should be allowed to.”

  11. Took my kids to Salzer’s in Ventura, CA to meet Miranda Cosgrove, star of Nickelodeon’s “iCarly.” Waited in lines, stood in the sun, watched “Dirty Words” of Ventura play some rock music. Bought a copy of Miranda’s album (came with a free single) so the kids could get their wristband to meet the star. Went upstairs to look at the lava lamps and t-shirts. Thumbed thru all the used vinyl while my wife snapped photos of the celebrity meet & greet. Almost bought a Guess Who LP for $3. Cool store, just didn’t find anything I really wanted.

    The thing that I notice about used vinyl now, compared to the later ’80s when I started collecting, is that more stores seem to know what they’re selling, and they charge more for it. In ’88, old rock albums in good condition were a dime a dozen, and all priced in the $2-$5 range. Now, the good ones are more like $10-$15, with lots of fancy reissue LPs at $25 or more.

    Anyway, despite the fact that I’m an old man now, and only went to the record store so my kids could meet a tween TV star, it was a lovely day. I hope that my very occasional patronage of cd trader in Tarzana, Amoeba in Hollywood, and maybe Salzer’s again constitutes support of indie record stores, because I love them and hope they never die. It’s the only place Daddy LIKES to shop!

  12. I went on Saturday, not because the whole store selection was 20 percent off (so an 18 dollar CD now costs…a little under 15 dollars. Great) but because Against Me! was playing in store. Then their bus broke down and they didn’t make it. I would have browsed around the used bin but it was so packed with people I just didn’t bother. Actually, I guess that’s a good thing so many people came out to support the store. Looks like they’ll be around for another year.

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