You'd think from the way the gaggle of vinyl enthusiasts at Record Surplus in Santa Monica,Calif., were talking, they were war veterans. One bedraggled employee told a cluster of patrons on the hunt for prime goods that one guest had camped out at 5 a.m. to obtain a copy of Pixies' Indie Cindy. Over at Soundsations in Westchester, a clerk named Steve (no last name given) regaled us about a woman who got cheated out of a Built to Spill exclusive because another customer yanked it before she had the chance to nab it. And everyone wanted a piece of the 100-copy action that De La Soul dropped.
This was Record Store Day 2014 in all its glory. And despite the protestations of some that the music-lover's holiday had become bad business for the very entities it was meant to uphold, we witnessed mostly positive vibes.
In visiting the two aforementioned record stores in the early afternoon on April 19, nearly all of the most precious cargo was gone. The Soundsations crew noted that all their copies of Bruce Springsteen's American Beauty had been gobbled up early by the 50 or so people who'd waited in line upon opening that day. Conversely, piles of Jake Bugg and Randy Newman releases practically wagged their tails like dingy, overlooked dogs at a kennel, envying their glossier counterparts in finding a home.
The orphans won't be euthanized, though. Soundsations and other participating stores tend to keep the unsold exclusives until a buyer scoops them up. Supply and demand still rules the day; Steve noted there was a chance they'd be getting backlogged copies of Indie Cindy within a few weeks.
As for Record Store Day naysayers? The Soundsations guys collectively shared a laugh over them. One clerk who declined to give his name said that the holiday was such a boon for his store, they'd be idiots not to participate. And he added that most of the people who attended April 19 were regulars.
Sure, there might have been the odd duck or two who came in solely to stock up on rarities and resell them immediately on eBay. And perhaps a few beards were pulled. But the mayhem was nothing compared any given Friday following Thanksgiving when shoppers gun down one another for a Tickle Me Elmo. Plus, the stats point to good news: Vinyl sales shot up by 32 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
So love it or hate it, Record Store Day is here to stay.