Once a year, your local record store is busier than the coffee shop across the street. There’s no doubt that Record Store Day gives music fans—from casual to obsessive—an excuse to get up early, and get excited about vinyl. For one day a year, the aisles of the local record shop are standing room only. Simply put, Record Store helps keep independent record stores alive.
That said, the event is not without its critics. Some disparage major labels for producing Record Store Day exclusives with artificial scarcity as a conspicuous cash-grab. Indie labels lament the fact that major label-backed Record Store Day exclusives create a backlog at vinyl pressing plants, delaying their regular release schedule.
Sure, Record Store Day is problematic, but it feels counterproductive to malign consumer enthusiasm for buying music. We talked to the owners and managers of four independent record stores in Toronto about their feelings on Record Store Day, and what they’re doing to try to make it a worthwhile experience for their customers. Be sure to visit these stores, and your other favourite locals on April 18th, and every other day of the year.