Record Store Day 2018 is almost upon us.
By now, fans have earmarked the releases they’ll be queuing for, while record shop regulars will be sharpening their elbows in anticipation of an influx of new punters and cashiers will be making sure there’s enough till roll.
They’ll be hoping, along with many across the industry, that RSD 2018 does the business, and we can celebrate healthy physical market figures in due course.
As discussed in our Big Story earlier this week, nothing is ever certain when it comes to fans parting with cash for CDs and vinyl, but hopes remain high nonetheless, and RSD ensures a feeling of festivity permeates the biz.
Already this week on musicweek.com, cover stars and Record Store Day ambassadors Run The Jewels have dug deep on their love of the physical format and we've picked out a selection of the hottest wax on offer this weekend. Now, it’s the turn of RSD’s UK co-ordinator Megan Page to spread the love.
We sat down with Page, who has featured in our Rising Star column, to discuss final plans for this year’s event and to take a wider look at where RSD sits in the music industry ecosystem.
Ahead of a weekend during which the industry turns its focus to record shops, physical music and the role of both in our business, where better to start than a far-reaching chat with the person responsible for the UK leg of the whole shebang?
How is Record Store Day 2018 shaping up?
“We have over 240 record shops taking part this year, which is the highest number of participating stores since RSD began. I’ve personally been really excited to welcome lots of new independent shops on board and seeing how differently everyone plans to celebrate the unique culture of their stores. Of course, our partnership with BBC Music has once again been a huge boost for the campaign and raising the profile of record shops across the country. A run of activity culminates in a special RSD show on BBC 6 Music today (April 20), as Lauren Laverne decamps to Cardiff to broadcast from Spillers Records – the oldest record shop in the world!”
Rag’N’Bone Man is the UK ambassador this year – how big a coup was it to get him?
“It’s been an incredible experience working with Rory [Graham] and his team. Obviously, the most important thing for RSD when working with ambassadors is finding an artist who genuinely cares about supporting independent record stores. But also an artist who can make a really positive impact. It was obvious from the start that Rory really wanted to create a special moment and a memorable piece of art as part of his role as our ambassador and that comes across in the two songs he recorded especially for the event.”
We have over 240 record shops taking part this year, which is the highest number of participating stores since RSD began
Are you trying anything new or different this year?
“The main goal of RSD is to get new people into record shops. We have a debrief, regional meets and work really closely with a board of independent shops to ensure the strategy works for the 240+ shops that take part. We also work closely with labels and distributors to ensure that the product offering is the strongest it can be.”
What are the most desirable releases this year?
“There are, of course, some real heavy hitters from the likes of David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and The Cure, who have produced some really creative and compelling products that will be highly sought after for collectors. Third Man Records are reissuing Frank Wilson’s Northern Soul classic Do I Love You (Indeed I Do), which has a really great story behind it and will no doubt be on the list for avid collectors. Some of the releases that have had the biggest impact on our socials include the only vinyl release of Sigrid’s Don’t Kill My Vibe EP and Niall Horan’s Mirrors EP as they clearly appeal to a younger and more mainstream audience. But there are hundreds of releases out this year and the beauty of the event is that there’s always going to be something meaningful and desirable for everyone.”
Is there anything you can do to stop or monitor people buying limited records just to flog them on eBay?
“It’s very frustrating that there are some unscrupulous eBayers who look at RSD as an opportunity to cash in. Unfortunately, it’s the inevitable downside of having a desirable product in a limited quantity. The reality of the eBay issue is that it is still a very tiny percentage of RSD releases that end up on the site [about 4%] and the overwhelming majority of releases end up in the hands of real fans. In the last few years we’ve managed to successfully take down all releases listed by UK sellers in the run up the day, which has really helped curb the opportunity for sellers to rack up excessively high prices before the event itself.”
Why is RSD so important to the industry – what tangible impact has it made?
“It’s a reminder to the industry that they wrote off an important format and culture way too soon. It’s given independent retailers a shared voice and reminded the industry they are an integral part of the ecosystem and are certainly here to stay.”
Subscribers can read our Run The Jewels cover story in full here.
The inside story of vinyl’s secret societies can be found here.
To subscribe and never miss a music biz story, click here.