Record Store Day 2013: What You Need to Know

Posted April 20, 2013 by J Matthew Cobb in Features

Music lovers invade the indie record stores for exclusive vinyl and a cathartic experience equal to Comic-Con

Record Store Day is an international holiday held in April that’s probably never going to show up on your cutesy annual calendars, and probably will never get recognized by the governments at large. But it should be, because it’s a healthy tradition that honors the mom-and-pop stores and brings the spirit of Comic-Con to the avid music lover. And it’s also great to know that major labels and major artists are adding to the excitement of the grassroots cause.

Why Participate?

With the drastic disappearing act of major chain stores taking place, we look to our indie record shops as inspiration. They continue to show their matrimony to the world of music and give us comfort in knowing that there’s something special you get from tangibility that’s not a part of the instant download process. It also puts money back into your local economy, while also promoting the values of fellowship. Hey, you already know you’re going to have a hour-long conversation with someone about that new record. And you just might pick up on something new to the ear. All of this is beneficial to the music store experience.

Check your local listings to see if your record shops are adding some spice to the occasion. Stores, like The Sound Garden in Baltimore and Syracuse, are adding live performances and autograph signings to your festivities. Rock band Clutch and singer-songwriter Sean Rowe plan to perform for them. Paramore will perform at Grimey’s in Nashville, TN. Bluesman Bobby Rush will be performing at Morningbell Records in Jackson, Miss. Matt & Kim will fall upon the BK Music in Richmond, VA. Charlemagne Records, in Birmingham, Ala., will host live mixing from hip-hop DJ Radu.

And if you keep on reading, you’ll discover that Record Store Day is much more than purchasing used vinyl.


Who Participates?

Warner Bros. Records is one of the official sponsors of Record Store Day and remains the only major label that furnishes the celebration with exclusive one-day only specials. But many artists are also getting involved in the celebration by making sure their albums are available in the form of vinyl. As of 2013, Sony and Universal Music Group are also tagged as sponsors of the event.

The event, which started in 2007 by Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Carrie Colliton, Amy Dorfman, Don Van Cleave and Brian Poehner, has now blossomed into a major attraction for music lovers, especially those who make the music. This year, White Stripe frontman Jack White joined on to be the event’s official ambassador. And that’s a good thing since he’s a record man himself. His critically-acclaimed solo debut Blunderbuss (and ranked number one by HiFi on the Top 33 1/3 Albums of 2012) is a vinyl carnivore’s magnet. He also runs his own record company (Third Man Records), which is preparing to release historic and obscure records from yesterday as well-packaged reissues. He’s also allowing customers the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to record their own vinyl records at his own record shop near downtown Nashville. As an important sidebar, previous ambassadors included Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica and Iggy Pop.

Not all independent stores participate, but most do. In fact, in 2010, the event was being celebrated by over 1,400 independent stores worldwide. Over 1,000 were from the US alone. That number continues to grow year by year.

A list of the participating stores can be found at:


What Can I Find?

You can first dig deep into the recent releases that have been converted to vinyl. Yes, vinyl is the comeback format of physical music consumption. It’s a big deal, since the form has experienced large growth over the last three years. In 2012, vinyl sales picked up 19 percent versus those of 2011. The majority of those sales were made at independent stores, with 67 percent reported. That also means that much of today’s music is being put on vinyl. Certainly the value of vinyl albums are much higher than those of a compact disc or digital download ($19.99 and up), but there’s an up side to that. Most companies and labels are inserting download cards on the inside of the purchase, which allows consumers to download a free digital version of the album. Also be on the lookout for special perks to spice up those releases, including posters, gatefold album cover jackets, new liner notes, lyric sheets and the warmth that only fresh vinyl can give.

Some of the albums of 2013 to look for on vinyl include:

The Flaming Lips – The Terror (there’s even a colored vinyl version out there)
Jim James –  Regions of Light and Sound of God
Yeah Yeah Yeah – Mosquito
Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience
The Strokes – Comeback Machine
Jimi Hendrix – People, Hell & Angels 
David Bowie – The Next Day 
Wiz Khalifa – O.N.I.C.F.
The Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law
Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
Muse – The 2nd Law
Paramore – Paramore
They Might Be Giants – Nanobots
Jose James – No Beginning No End
Jessie Ware – Devotion
Mumford & Sons – Babel 

There’s also a trove of limited edition picture discs, 7″ inch singles, 12-inch singles and box sets dropping. But you might want to focus more on the list of 1000 printed, limited-run vinyl copies of music, which will certainly become collector’s items in the near future. So you won’t be totally disappointed, not all stores carry these items. They range from store to store.

Get the 411 at:

Special releases can be found here:


Is There’s An App for That?

Yes. You can get Record Store Day findings on your iPhone or Android.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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