Saturday, 19 April 2014

record store day

Today was record store day. I'm not sure when all these extra days started creeping into the calendar. The week before last there was international gin and tonic day. I was happy to embrace that. Record store day is potentially more expensive. Especially seeing as I don't have a record player. And yes, I did actually think about it.

Record Store Day is an internationally celebrated day observed on the third Saturday of April. Its purpose is to celebrate the culture of the independently owned record store.

It was officially founded in 2007 after a record store owners' meeting in Baltimore. One of those throwaway comments that made the big time. And clearly there was a global desire to celebrate the record store because it has taken off around the world. Today saw hundreds of recording and other artists participating in the day by making special appearances, performances, meet and greets with their fans, the holding of art exhibits, and the issuing of special vinyl and CD releases along with other promotional products to mark the occasion.

Down at Northside Records in Fitzroy, I watched the queue before the door opened. I have to say, there is a particular demographic who lines up for Record Store Day.

There were a lot of happy customers walking away clutching brown paper bags of record sized proportions. I started thinking about the whole vinyl vs. digital debate. Is it just for nostalgic reasons that vinyl has made a come-back? There are arguments about warmth of sound and analog recordings being continuous, so our ear can detect changes in pitch as a note descends or ascends, as opposed to digital recordings which are not continuous but use specific values to represent information, which imperceptibly mean change in pitch or tone would be represented as a series of information. But really, say the experts, the difference in sound quality when either of these means are employed on good quality equipment is negligible. The act of flicking through a stack or shelf of records, sliding the record out of its sleeve, putting it on the turntable, placing the needle in the groove possibly has more to do with the warmth of sound than anything else, because that all comes form the soul. 

For me, it's a moot point. I don't have a turntable. But I am very happy to have been part of record store day.

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