CHICAGO – The vinyl record is not just for parents and grandparents anymore as record sales and the independent record store have had a resurgence in popularity in the last decade.
There is even a day to celebrate vinyl. For one Saturday every April, people come together in countries across the globe to celebrate Record Store Day, which falls on April 21 this year.
It’s a day for record store staff, customers, and musicians to get together and celebrate the culture of the independent record store. The first Record Store Day was back in 2007, an idea that was sparked by an email from a record store employee in Portland, Ore. The comic book industry has “Free Comic Book Day” every May, so, it was argued, there should be something similar for the record collecting crowd.
Metallica kicked off the first Record Store Day by appearing at Rasputin Music in Mountain View, Calif. There were a handful of special Record Store Day releases by bands such as Death Cab for Cutie, R.E.M, and Jason Mraz. The following year, Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes declared himself the “Record Store Day Ambassador” as a way to show how important the independent records stores are to the artists. That tradition stuck, and in the years since, artists such as Ozzy Osbourne and Iggy Pop have been record store day ambassadors. This year, hip hop artists Run the Jewels will serve as Ambassador, and they’ll celebrate with a special release, as they do every year.
Big changes have been happening for the industry since record store day started. There’s been an uptick in vinyl album sales every year since. Sales went up 9% from 2016 to 2017, according to Billboard Magazine. Vinyl sales made up 14% of all physical album sales last year and the top sellers included the Beatles, Ed Sheeran, Pink Floyd and the soundtrack to La La Land.
Records are gaining in popularity as new releases – as well classic albums – are issued and re-issued on vinyl. Big name retailers like Barnes & Noble and Amazon offer deals and subscription services like Vinyl Me Please, which are helping to increase sales.