For the record: Vinyl’s big day officially back
Local stores ready exclusives, bands for Record Day
It’s back, and it’s back to normal.
Record Store Day will celebrate all things vinyl Saturday, April 23, bringing back most of the elements that made the tradition great: bands, food, community, and, most of all, plenty of those exclusive releases.
Locally, all three Wooden Nickel locations as well as Neat Neat Neat Records and Music will open at 10 a.m., and there will be lines, so if there is something you really want, you should probably plan on getting there early.
Welcome Back Records opened on Broadway in early February, which was, unfortunately, a little too late to be added to the official Record Store Day promotion, so they won’t have any of the exclusive releases, owner Morrison Agen said. The store will still celebrating, opening at 8 a.m., “with great deals throughout the store,” he said.
Agen added that as a bonus, anyone buying any a Third Man Records product at his store that day will be entered into a drawing for a Third Man Bumblefuzz guitar pedal valued at more than $300.
At Karma Records in Warsaw, owner John Vance said they will be open at 8 a.m. with lots of Record Store Day titles available along with goody bags while supplies last. Vance said his customers are a little more transient, often choosing to make his store a first stop of many or a mid-stop between South Bend and Fort Wayne as they seek out coveted titles.
“Our audience is in and out all day,” Vance said. “Fortunately, we are in a cool location where customers often stop while they are making a day of it.”
At Wooden Nickel, owner Bob Roets said in an interview with Whatzup that he does his best to order as much product as he thinks people will want. However, it can be hard to predict what demand will be, while also being at the mercy of distributors who ration out releases among the hundreds of stores that participate nationally.
This year’s selection is chock-full of collectibles with some of the more sought-after items expected to include a new 7-inch single from 2022 Record Store Day Ambassador Taylor Swift and a double-LP edition of The Gold Experience from Prince, an album Roets said he hasn’t been able to get for years.
Releases from the Rolling Stones, Santana, and Stevie Nicks are also likely to be popular, as well as Pearl Jam, Childish Gambino, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, The Who, and Alice In Chains.
The soundtrack from David Lynch’s Blue Velvet should be a hot seller, as well as a new 7-inch single from Foo Fighters.
The full list of special releases is available at RecordStoreDay.com, although not every title on the list will be available at Wooden Nickel or Neat Neat Neat.
Often lauded as the main factor in the resurgence of vinyl, Record Store Day began in 2008 when vinyl sales were at an all-time low.
The renewed interest generated by the event helped sales begin growing at an astronomical rate as new fans discovered the warmth of vinyl and longtime fans repurchased classics and discovered new artists.
According to Statista, an online portal for market data, vinyl album sales in the United States have grown every year since that first Record Store Day, surpassing digital and CD sales in 2021 with a 41.7 million albums sold, more than 45 times what was sold in 2007.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic did its damage to independent record stores, those that were able to weather the storm found that vinyl collecting had come back in an even bigger way. Because many people were sequestered for a long period of time, Roets said, a lot of teens and 20-somethings began the hobby of collecting vinyl.
“Turntable sales went way up, and a new generation has been discovering it,” he said.
Demand Outweighs Supply
Unfortunately, the record industry was unprepared for this rapid increase in demand, resulting in long delays in manufacturing that continue to be an issue.
“A lot of these plants that were running a three-to-four-month lead time are now running 10-11 months,” Roets said. “We are still trying to get albums that were supposed to be produced last May or June.”
The result of this backlog is that most titles have taken a backseat at manufacturing plants, resulting in supply shortages on a lot of staple products.
“We are scouring distributors looking for product and buying as much as we can when we can get it,” Roets said.
The Party Returns
Record Store Day has been forced to pivot its focus since the pandemic began, organizing three separate and smaller events each year called Record Store Day Drops.
Drops were designed to help stores by simply getting the product to them, then into the hands of customers as safely as possible. While the records came, there weren’t the parties that had become associated with the annual event.
This year, Record Store Day returns to “normal” with one big day full of festivities.
Roets said that although all locations will have some of the exclusive and collectible products, Wooden Nickel’s celebration will be focused at the North Anthony location with Crystal C-Note, Alicia Pyle, The Kickbacks, and Adam Baker & The Heartache set to perform from noon to 5 p.m.
Old Crown Coffee will be on hand after a two-year absence to provide a delicious complement to the return of Cindy Roets’ highly sought-after homemade cookies.
Goody bags of free stuff will be available to the early birds at all locations, but, Roets said, they are usually gone by noon. You can currently pick up a coupon at any Wooden Nickel to get 10 percent off most non-RSD product April 23.
Customers may also enter a raffle at each location on Record Store Day for a chance to win one of the prizes available, including a Wooden Nickel gift certificate, an Audio Technica turntable, a Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street deluxe box set, a Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction super-deluxe box set, a History of The Eagles box set, or a Def Jam 30th Anniversary Greatest Hits box set.
At Neat Neat Neat, they will do things a little bit differently with collectors filling out “wish lists” while in line and giving them to store personnel to gather before the store officially opens, thus assuring there will be no mad rush for product when the sale commences.
Bands that will play at that location, starting at 4 p.m., will be The Namby Pamby, Swell Time, and Snakehandler Church, the new project from Fort Wayne’s Pete Dio.
This will be 40th anniversary of Wooden Nickel and the 15th anniversary of Record Store Day. Both have become traditions in our community that deserve to be celebrated. Thus, the only option is to get up early April 23, and fill your shopping bags with music.
Support local music and independent record stores. If you love music, this is your day.