Last Saturday marked the 10th anniversary of the International Record Store Day. A worldwide recognised holiday that aims to boost sales and popularity of vinyl music.
The day fell upon April 22 and was celebrated on every continent – minus Antarctica – by a range of different brick and mortar stores.
The same as last year, 17 stores in Auckland met the criteria to participate. The day is celebrated in 20 different countries and has been a growing traditional day since its inaugural day in 2007.
This year International Record Sore Day (RSD) went off without a hitch. According to the official site, the most popular vinyl was, unsurprisingly, David Bowie’s No Plan.
Behind Bowie, on the top selling singles, front are The Smiths' The Boy With The Thorn In His Side, Pink Floyd's Interstellar Overdrive, U2's Red Hill Mining Town picture disc and The Beatles' Strawberry Fields Forever.
Last year, when streaming music hit an all-time high, Record Store Day enjoyed its biggest year yet. With a record-setting 383,000 vinyl LPs sold during that week, an increase of 321 percent from the prior week, fueled by releases from David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and the Deftones.
Here in New Zealand, Record Store Day has its own success. 17 stores participated who met the criteria from Auckland all the way down to Dunedin.
Co-owner of Just For The Record, located in Napier, Janis Stevenson says their business has been involved with RSD for five years but have been selling records in New Zealand for 22 years.
Stevenson acknowledges the day as an important part of a record stores ability to pull ahead in sales.
"National Record Store Day is extremely important for independent record stores who compete with larger alternative retail outlets as well as giving independent labels and their artists more recognition. It also has a big impact on the resurgence of vinyl for both young and old."
Stevenson says their store saw a "dramatic increase in customers and records sold on the day through our retail store." But also noticed an increase of online sales to overseas customers.
"Five days after Record Store Day we are still trying to obtain more copies of certain albums for customers who have missed out and are still receiving more international orders online."
Relics Music, located in Dunedin, has celebrated its fourth annual International Record Store Day. Owned by David James and Irene Hundleby, the married business partners say this International Record Store Day was the most successful since their opening in 2013.
Similar to the other stores included, Relics Music had to meet the criteria of rules to be part of the day. These standards are set by the foundation.
The business duo share a love for music and their store is a fine example of their efforts to share that enthusiasm with Dunedin.
Hundleby says the day for them is celebrated by the importing of over 100-150 records, including limited editions released exclusively for the day.
“We had a sale on everything in the store including these releases. This is our way of celebrating all those that support us every other day of the year,” says Hundleby. “We begin planning for this day several months before RSD and put a lot of thought into what we order in for the day and how we are going to celebrate it.”
Inside Relics Music
Hundleby says that Record Store Day is an important day for the music community as it gives them a chance to reach out and promote themselves. Her husband David James says the store sees people travel from lower parts of the South Island to be involved in the day.
“Supporting the music culture of Dunedin as well as New Zealand bands are really important to us,” says James. “Being a hub for people that love music is part of the community culture we foster and work hard to create.”
Like most stores involved with the day, Relics Music attracted people from across the lower South Island who all share a mutual love of music or specifically vinyl.
“We had people travel to us from around Otago and other parts of the South Island (Southland, Canterbury) for the day. At the close of business on RSD, we post our left-over RSD stock on our website. Often these items are bought by customers around NZ & internationally.”
Relics Music turned over an impressive profit of five times their normal Saturday.
The day remains an important part of the couples’ business, financially as well as for the sheer enjoyment of the day. As Hundleby agrees, in a time when brick and mortar stores are facing issues, the day’s ability to boost sales worldwide is important to the industry.
“Record stores were rapidly closing all around the world. This event reminds people that enjoy physical music products how much it means to them - and enables them to show physical support for the stores they love.”
Hundleby says the store will continue to be involved in the day as a chance to connect with the customers and share the things they love.
“We will continue to be involved as long as we are open, as long as the day continues to be celebrated, and as long as it remains relevant, which we don't foresee changing anytime soon.”
David and Irene have a combined total of 55 years music experience between them.
In the past five years alone, vinyl sales reported through International Record Store Day have climbed more than 320 percent, largely from an older, more affluent music fan base getting involved.
Thanks in large part to Record Store Day's spotlight, vinyl now accounts for more than 11 percent of total physical sales across New Zealand alone—well above the minuscule 0.2 percent just 10 years ago.
International Record Store Day is a solid chance for the music type to stand its ground within the ever-changing music environment.