Record Store Day Celebrates Vinyl, Indie Shops

Taylor Swift has helped LP sales, and the stores picked her early as a star
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 20, 2024 5:50 PM CDT
Record Store Day Celebrates Vinyl, Indie Shops
Jeff Maimon of Chicago browses vinyl at Tracks In Wax record shop in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Special LP releases, live performances, and at least one giant block party were planned around the US on Saturday as hundreds of shops celebrate the 16th Record Store Day during a surge of interest in vinyl and the day after the release of Taylor Swift's latest album. In suburban strip malls and big-city downtowns, indie record stores are often the first to recognize and promote emerging artists, the AP reports. Years before Swift was setting Grammy records and selling out concerts in Japan, for example, Bull Moose Music in Portland, Maine, was giving away one of her autographed guitars in an enter-to-win contest.

"We were carrying her music before all the big stores. We always knew she would be a star," said Chris Brown of employee-owned Bull Moose and a co-founder of Record Store Day. A wave of interest in physical records, especially LPs, has helped keep the independent stores going, Brown said. And LPs have gotten a huge boost from Swift, who has been dubbed the "Vinyl Queen" for releases of her work in limited physical record offerings with specialized content and striking covers. The Recording Industry Association of American said revenue from vinyl records grew 10% to $1.4 billion last year. That was the 17th consecutive year of growth and accounted for 71% of physical format revenues. An estimated 400 independent record stores in the US and thousands more worldwide, survivors long after chains such as Tower Records disappeared, celebrate the day.

In Michigan, hundreds of customers were lined up outside Dearborn Music at 8am, per the Detroit Free Press. "If it weren't for Record Store Day, there wouldn't be any kind of independent record store today," said store co-owner Rick Leannais. "It brought back the collections." Michael Iffland, looking over Beatles singles at Tracks in Wax in Phoenix, said: "For me, records sound better than any CD. It's just cool having a record in your hand, looking at the cover graphics, and listening to that wonderful sound."

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There were 387 releases planned for the day, per the AP. They include:

  • 15,000 copies of Pearl Jam's Dark Matter LP, with a ghostly black and yellow cover.
  • 4,200 copies of Laufey's A Night at the Symphony, a live album recorded in Reykjavík with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.
  • 2,500 copies of Death Cab for Cutie's Live at the Showbox on pink marble vinyl.
  • 7,500 copies of Fleetwood Mac's 1977 album Rumours on picture disc, per It features a photo of the album cover showing Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood stamped on the vinyl.
Variety has a rundown of the most interesting releases here, and Yahoo has its list here. Other highlights include a "Stick Season/Lacy" single from Olivia Rodrigo and Noah Kahan, as well as new live performances by the Rolling Stones.
(More record stores stories.)

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