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Record Store Day

Get out your plastic for some vinyl

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Record Store Day

At your friendly independent record store

Record Store Day is a both a symptom of the general decline in brick-and-mortar music sales and an important way to stem it. You could even tag it as a necessary evil, a made-up holiday designed with the purpose of selling product. Indeed, last year’s Record Store Day saw a massive 529 percent spike in vinyl single sales at independent shops. According to RSD co-founder Michael Kurtz, last year’s event was Sound Garden’s best sales day in years, beating out the last few Christmas seasons. Choice New York record shop Other Music, meanwhile, had its best sales day ever on RSD 2010.

Which is all great, if ultimately more than a little depressing as far as being a marker of the general state of physical record stores in 2011. It means that consumers are having to be cajoled or even wrestled into shops, lured in by super-exclusive, physical-location-only product. There’s a reason the singles sales spike is so big: Most of those super-exclusive products are only in the form of vinyl singles. Even the majors are in on the vinyl game nowadays, with Warner Brothers delivering a special Record Store Day line of reissues of some of its more, uh, indie-ish fare (Flaming Lips, Regina Spektor, and so on).

The list of Record Store Day special releases is fairly massive, and it’s a crapshoot which stores will have what—participating Baltimore shops include Sound Garden, !El Suprimo!, Celebrated Summer, and Dimensions in Music—whether that’s a 7-inch of Mat Berninger of the National doing Nick Cave’s Grinderman, a special test-pressing issue of Big Star’s Third, or a limited release of this weird Rome thing with Jack White, Danger Mouse, and Norah Jones. Baltimore’s repping with two special RSD releases: a new limited Lower Dens 7-inch with two new tracks (released on Sub Pop, notably), and a Pulling Teeth 12-inch of a super-long version of the “Funerary” title track from the band’s upcoming album, available only at Celebrated Summer.

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