If you’re new to Record Store Day, you’re probably going to need some help figuring out exactly how it works. For starters, RSD only happens at participating independent record stores, which are defined by the RSD team as “stand alone brick and mortar retailers whose main primary business focuses on a physical store location, whose product line consists of at least 50 percent music retail, whose company is not publicly traded and whose ownership is at least 70 percent located in the state of operation.”
RSD is celebrated on the third Saturday of April every year and has steadily grown since its inception in 2007. But even though there are more participating stores and artists each year, RSD is still pretty much a game of luck. Some of the releases are extremely limited, others are easier to come by, but it’s still a toss up because the stores aren’t guaranteed anything they order. They get what they get from the powers that be, and that’s what is there for you to choose from.
Here are some other tips from people who’ve been there before (aka the IN Staff). We hope they help you make the most of your RSD this Saturday.
• Do Your Homework
Just because a store sells records doesn’t mean they get in on the RSD action, and just because you like a band doesn’t mean they are going to have a RSD release for you to buy. You are going to want to make sure you know what you’re looking and where to try and get it before the big day. Studying the list of official releases on recordstoreday.com is the best place to start. As far as where to shop here in Pensacola, see “Know Your Store” for the lowdown on Revolver Records and Music Box (the two local shops participating in RSD this Saturday).
•Don’t Sleep In
Anyone who has ever been to RSD will tell you the good stuff goes FAST. Like within the first ten minutes of the store opening fast. So if you’ve got something on your list that you really can’t live without, you’re going to want to get there early. How early depends on how bad you want said record(s). For example, the line at Revolver Records was about 20 people deep two hours before they opened for RSD 2013. The early birds also get the free swag (if there’s any to be had) like buttons and label promo compilations.
If you do decide to line up outside of your local record store hours before doors opens, good for you for being ahead of the game. Just remember this doesn’t mean the store has to rush to get ready or is OK with being bombarded before it’s time. An opening time is an opening time.
Use the time in line to make friends. Or catch up with people you know—this is Pensacola after all, so you know there’s a good chance you’ll know at least one or two people. It’s also not a bad idea to feel out what the people around you are shopping for. If you happen to want different things, you might be able to help each other out once inside the store. One IN staffer got a copy of Jack White’s “Blunderbuss” at RSD 2012 this way—so we know the power of an RSD line alliance firsthand.
This one really should go without saying—but there’s always at least one jerk out there who seems to forget, so here it is. Be nice to your fellow RSD shoppers, even the ones who are a little high strung. Also make sure and be nice to the record store staff, even if you learn they don’t have (or didn’t order) whatever piece was at the top of your list.
Although we may joke about fighting over a record, it’s not the way to go. Karma is a bitch and nobody likes a bully. Don’t push your way into the store or to the crates.
•Don’t Be Greedy
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and just pick up anything with an RSD sticker on it, but don’t let greed get the best of you—especially if you know the record in question is a super limited release and wasn’t even on your list. Just because there’s only one in the store doesn’t mean you have to get it.
•Focus On The Good
No one is going to get everything they want on this music fanatic’s holiday, so just be happy with whatever you happen to land. The disappointment of not obtaining X is usually dulled, often removed, by the excitement of hearing Y come through your speaker anyway.
•Don’t Forget Why You’re Really There
Remember what RSD is all about, and that you’re celebrating not only your own independent record store, but an entire network, a culture, a movement and ultimately the music. Also, don’t forget that on all the other days of the year, your local shops are just as likely to have something super rad sitting on the shelf without the early wake up call and elbow-to-elbow crowds of RSD. Make sure you show your love more than just one day a year.