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Analyzing Record Store Day

Celebrating its eighth year, Record Store Day looks to continue to latch onto the recent revival in vinyl sales with releases penned in from the likes of this year’s ambassador, Dave Grohl and his Foo Fighters, abrasive rap duo, Run the Jewels and legendary chameleon, David Bowie.Amid the ambivalence towards the event, I caught up with Dennis from independent gaming and vinyl retailer, The R.A.G.E. to wax lyrical (pun intended) about the big day. With famous customers to its name such as Shane McGowan and Real Estate, the Fade Street store is opening its doors, gearing itself up for an influx of hipsters and vinyl enthusiasts alike.I’m brought downstairs to where I’m surrounded by a plethora of vintage Game Boy cases, record players and 45s, in other words, Jack White’s hagiographic dream. There’re echoes of Pitchfork’s recent interview with Pete Gulyas, owner of Cleveland record store, Blue Arrow.

“We get our list from the record companies but we might not always get them because there’re limited editions of everything.” Alluding to British labels, Sonic Cathedral and Howling Owl’s diatribe, Dennis elucidates, “That a lot of the independent vinyl releases get pushed back and don’t get as much attention as the major record labels is totally wrong. A lot of Irish bands I know-their EPs and 7”s are not coming out because [they] have precedence over the vinyl. There’s a lack of pressing plants. They were shut down in the 70s and 80s.”

Ultimately, however, harking back to Hilco Chief Executive, Paul McGowan’s comments in relation to HMV’s demise in 2013 that there were a lack of in-store gigs and local selection, “[The R.A.G.E.] still go ahead with it because it creates a good buzz. We get new customers that we never had before because we put cool events on.”

Describing the romanticism involved in the album, citing Royal Blood and alt-J and homegrown acts, All Tvvins, No Spill Blood and Girl Band for whom there is the most demand, “People are moving away from the MP3 format. They want something more tangible where you actually have to take it out the sleeve and put it on the turntable. Rather than picking through the tunes, you have to listen to the whole thing.  You’re able to read through the line notes and put it on your wall. It’s a limited work of art.”

In effect, Record Store Day does wonders in increasing the fortunes of those already at the top of the pyramid, it is precisely those who need to be supported most, the stars of tomorrow, the poor yet passionate, the skint yet sought-after who are missing out.

By Ally Murty

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