The music industry united behind the inaugural edition of National Album Day this month and, following a successful launch, there are already calls for it to return in 2019.
The initiative was deliberately intended to be all-encompassing - streaming and physical, new albums and classics - so it’s perhaps understandable that it’s found widespread support. Crucially, it also appears to have gone down well with music consumers. Here, ERA’s national organiser Megan Page gives us the official verdict on the first year of National Album Day...
Are you happy with the first edition?
“We were quite conscious of trying to manage expectations for year one. Everyone has seen how Record Store Day has taken off but has probably forgotten that it is now in its 12th year! I think everyone’s been quite surprised at the outpouring of love from music fans.”
Did it exceed expectations?
“It was really successful. We had a hunch that people still really wanted to talk about the album, and commemorate the album as an art form and as something meaningful, so the reaction on the socials proved that for us really. We were trending pretty much all day on Twitter and it wasn’t even just musicians and music fans, we had tweets from footballers, authors, celebrities and even Rastamouse, so that’s when we knew it was working when we saw those kind of people getting involved.
“We had so much creative and interesting content from the BBC channels as well, media really got into the spirit of the event. For year one we’re off to a good start. Shops were really busy and they all had a really nice vibe, which was great, they all seemed to have lots of chatty customers and staff talking to people.”
Why do you think the social media campaign was so effective?
“It was simple - people like to show their appreciation of music, people like being given the opportunity to appreciate their favourite artist and band and be a fan. The nice thing for me was to see the diversity of genres, ages, genders and backgrounds all getting involved to just appreciate their love of the album really. It was a coordinated campaign but also people like to have the opportunity to share that so they really got behind it.”
We’ve really tapped into the emotional value of what the album means to artists
How much did retailers benefit?
“Resident in Brighton said it was their busiest day of the year so far outside of Record Store Day, which is pretty phenomenal. Amazon’s topline was that they had great engagement and click through on the service, HMV said they had really busy shops across the chain and they are expecting a good commercial bump off the back of it. It's all pointing in the right direction.”
How would you change it?
“We were quite conscious not to overstretch ourselves in year one. What this has shown us is that this can grow, and it can be bigger. There could be a potential special product element to it, there could be a live element, there could be themed years - there’s lots of different routes we could take it. I don’t see why we wouldn’t do it again next year. I think if everyone had a good day we’d be silly not to do it again.”
Is it important that it remains agnostic and doesn't lean towards just physical music?
"Absolutely, it is about the music at the end of the day, it’s not about a product, it’s not about the format, it is about the artist and their body of work. One of the things that we’ve realised from speaking to so many different artists throughout this whole campaign is that we’ve really tapped into the emotional value of what the album means to artists. I don’t think it would make sense to eliminate one side of the retail world from that. You should be able to listen to an album wherever you want to listen to it and however you want to listen to it. So National Album Day is definitely not about leaning heavily towards one side or the other."