Why Record Store Day can't help record stores - U2 Feedback

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Old 11-29-2010, 12:06 PM   #1
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Why Record Store Day can't help record stores

On Black Friday, I was fortunate enough to get myself a copy of Wide Awake in Europe, but it wasn't easy. And as I went through the process, I realized how all these indie shops are missing the point of Record Store Day (RSD). The purpose of the day is to help bring customers into record stores, and get them to come back another time. But it seems many stores don't understand that they must first help themselves.

I live in the Philadelphia area so I'm only speaking on behalf of the shops near me. I "researched" about 25 different stores in the city of Philadelphia, Philly suburbs, Delaware, and South Jersey to prep myself to get this release. But as I was on my quest to find out who carried this EP and where I could get it, a lot of things came to mind about why RSD can't help record stores.
  1. Poor (or lack of) websites and information
    Some record stores listed on the RSD's website didn't even have websites of their own. Nowadays, with the tons of website creation tools or the plethora of web designers out there, there's no excuse not to have a website. Most that did have a "website" listed was just a link to a Myspace page, which I can't call a website. Some that had "real" websites listed were just plain awful and listed no information. Some were just plain weird, like this one. For the few non-Myspace websites that did exist, most of them were horribly outdated. Out of the 25 stores in my area, only two stores even mentioned RSD on their sites, and one mentioned that it was carrying the U2 EP. But even that one store that mentioned it had the U2 release didn't post its hours, so I had no idea when they were opening and by the time I contacted them at 10 am, they had already sold out. Some places I called that morning didn't even answer their phones and didn't have automated messages or voice mail either.

  2. Letting customers continue to shop online
    Back to the website issue, the only thing worse than a Myspace page as your website is an eBay page as your website. One shop's homepage as listed on RSD's webpage was their eBay page. No mention of their location, phone number, or anything on their page. A few stores in my area who did get the U2 EP put it right onto eBay and didn't even bother selling it in their stores. People say that internet sales are one reason that record shops are declining, but these shops seem to be part of the problem.

  3. Not being "in the know"
    About half of the stores I called that morning had no idea of the U2 release I was talking about. One store even said "Um... Record Store Day isn't till April... so... yeah... we don't have that." Another store said they didn't have it in stock, but would order it for me if I emailed them. Clearly they didn't know what I was talking about either, since any store who was selling one of the 5000 copies already had them in and they weren't getting anymore.

  4. Poor customer service
    I called one shop that morning asking if they had the U2 EP and I was told "NO! We ordered them, and we got them, and... you're like the 30th person to call here today!" *I hang up.* The store where I got the EP sold it for $50, and I told the lady most were selling it for $10-20. She was very nice, but tried to justify her price by saying that Universal told her she could sell it for how ever much she wanted, and that she decided to charge that much as opposed to putting it right onto eBay (as if she was doing us a favor). Apparently I was ripped off just as much as everyone else.
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Old 11-29-2010, 02:48 PM   #2
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Where is there a record store west of the city? I haven't been able to find any.
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Old 11-29-2010, 02:56 PM   #3
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i think it has more to do with the fact that, ya know, nobody uses records anymore.
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:16 PM   #4
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To be fair, vinyl sales have risen exponentially over the last few years. That is not to say that vinyl commands the market, but it represents at least a niche in the consumer base.

Last Friday brought me in to the local store, and I ended up buying several things beyond what I had planned to buy. Then again, I also frequent record stores, so I may not be an indicator of Record Store Day's influence on the casual music fan.
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:18 PM   #5
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RSD can help record stores only if they give enough of a shit to help themselves. That involves having the product, charging a fair price for it and having an informed staff. If they don't have this, why bother?
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:14 PM   #6
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In the stores defense, that wasn't the "real" Record Store Day that has existed for the last few years. It was a weird last minute planned mini day for Black Friday. Most stores, and also music fans themselves, barely even knew there was going to be an event in advance. One of the big reasons many of us thought the U2 release was BS in advance was because they kept saying it would be released for Record Store Day in November, and Record Store Day is obviously not in November.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Record_Store_Day
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:23 PM   #7
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I overheard the owner (I think he was the owner, anyway) of one of my local stores talking about it when I'd popped in on Friday, and he said it was a bit of a clusterfuck, and also an annoyance because of the timing with all their regular holiday stuff.
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrPryck2U View Post
RSD can help record stores only if they give enough of a shit to help themselves. That involves having the product, charging a fair price for it and having an informed staff. If they don't have this, why bother?

My apologies to any store that has been clusterfucked by The Man. I meant the real RSD.
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Old 11-29-2010, 06:01 PM   #9
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Also, Record Store Day gets more traffic to stores, and typically the stores have sales on stuff other than vinyl going on too since most sell DVDs and CDs as well. I enjoy it every year, but completely indie or used stores will not last much longer, even with the vinyl resurgence.
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Old 11-29-2010, 06:11 PM   #10
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I don't think you can generalize across record stores. There will always be good businesses and bad ones. Hopefully the good ones will continue to exist.

The record store that I use is pretty great, well informed and has an up-to-date website where you can buy physical or digital music (here is their link, as an example: Other Music - MP3 Downloads and CD & LP Mail Order). I have to believe there are other similar stores out there.
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iron yuppie View Post
To be fair, vinyl sales have risen exponentially over the last few years. That is not to say that vinyl commands the market, but it represents at least a niche in the consumer base.

Last Friday brought me in to the local store, and I ended up buying several things beyond what I had planned to buy. Then again, I also frequent record stores, so I may not be an indicator of Record Store Day's influence on the casual music fan.
yes, but that can be explained away simply be removing williamsburg and park slope from the demographics.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:04 PM   #12
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Sure, but every urban area will have its share of indie music fans/college kids/hipster or whomever buys records.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:40 PM   #13
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What I want to know is how a business is allowed to just place their products on eBay like that. Is that really ok?
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:44 PM   #14
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A lot of places sell online and in person at the same time, to maximize shrinking profits. Like, if it gets picked up in the store, then it immediately comes off of the web store/eBay/Discogs. It also comes off the shelf, should somebody grab it via the internet. Lots of places are using this model with great success/customer satisfaction and to better customer service.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:45 PM   #15
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Of course, these are Buy It Now listings about which I'm speaking. I have no clue about the legality of selling wholesale goods for auction. Pretty sure it's legal, though. Right? Maybe just ethically unsound?
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