Was Record Store Day a Success?

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Photo: Freeloosedirt's Flickr

Record Store Day, an annual event designed to stimulate interest in brick-and-mortar independent music retailers, came and went this weekend, and though it's impossible to know if the initiative will actually have any long-term benefit for the mom-and-pop shops in question, abundant anecdotal evidence suggests that it was, at the very least, pretty awesome. A large number of notable indie and major labels took part in the event by producing limited-edition exclusive releases for the day, most of which served as a draw for hard-core collectors and completist fans. As opposed to previous Record Store Days, this time around, most of the exclusives were not freebies, and they brought actual revenue to cash-strapped shops. Wise move!

Vulture visited Manhattan's Other Music a little after noon on Saturday, and we were surprised to discover that we actually had to wait on line to get into the shop. By that time, much of the exclusive stock had already been snapped up by eager collectors, but we were able to snag one of the last copies of the Pavement live album, and the split single by Beck and Sonic Youth. (Full disclosure: If we had not gotten a copy of that Pavement record, we probably would've started sobbing in full view of the cute girl at the cash register. We're big fans.) But wow, right? A line! To get into a record store! In 2009! Crazy, huh?

If there is any flaw in Record Store Day, it seems to be that it is very much targeted to people old enough to have a great deal of sentimentality for vinyl and record stores, and
it does not do much to reach out to younger music fans who are not inclined to pay for music or care about it as a physical product. Though there may be no shortage of young listeners who dig Sonic Youth, Bruce Springsteen, the Decemberists, and Green Day, we tend to doubt that very many kids got turned on to shelling out money for plastic discs on Saturday.