Record Store Day, a movement initiated two years ago takes place every third Saturday in April to celebrate the 80 percent of music sales made without the click of a mouse, and the independent music stores still providing the human touch.
According to a recent report released by the IFPI, the international organization representing the worldwide recording industry, digital music sales accounted for 20 percent of all recorded music sales in 2008.
“There are some things that define a community. For us music nerds, the record store becomes the town square,” said John T. Kunz, the president and owner of Waterloo Records and Video.
Waterloo Records, nestled in the heart of downtown Austin, is among the most renowned independent music stores in the world. Waterloo has won The Austin Chronicle’s “Best Record Store” title each of the 27 years it has been open.
“We were with Record Store Day right from the get-go,” Kunz said. “This year, we are going to have two big events. At 11 a.m., we will be previewing the new Bob Dylan CD, 10 days in front of its release. Later that day, we will have Mark Louris and Gary Olsen of the Jayhawks, after many years apart, playing live in the store at 5 p.m.”
Kunz said despite the growth in online music purchases, record stores would continue to appeal to music lovers.
“For what it’s worth, I think the entire music industry has been limping since 2000, when Napster came along. There are definitely a lot of challenges out there and, unfortunately, we have lost a lot of good (record stores),” Kunz said. “The record stores that are still out there are the ones most connected to the music, the people who make the music and the people who love the music. The stores continuing to make that connection will make it.”
Waterloo and other independent record stores will host special events on April 18 in honor of Record Store Day. The official Record Store Day Web site has lists of businesses across the world registered to participate.
Recording artists have also made efforts to support the holiday by playing live shows in stores nationwide and playing pro-bono at the Record Store Day tent at the annual Coachella Festival in Indio, Calif.
Paul McCartney is one of the supporting artists quoted on Recordstoreday.com.
“There’s nothing as glamorous to me as a record store,” McCartney said. “When I recently played Amoeba in Los Angeles, I realized what fantastic memories such a collection of music brings back when you see it all in one place. This is why I’m more than happy to support Record Store Day and I hope that these kinds of stores will be there for us all for many years to come.”
Sundance Records is a local independent music store that has been serving San Marcos since 1977.
Customers are greeted by the smell of burning incense and music, ranging from lazy jazz solos to blaring guitars, playing throughout the store. Some form of music memorabilia covers almost every square inch of the establishment. A poster of The Doors and one of Lil’ Kim hang side-by-side, while fading newspaper clippings and yellowing concert flyers are stapled or taped to the walls around them.
Sundance, like most independent record stores, has a variety of merchandise for sale. Frisbees, flasks, Zippos, magazines, posters, T-shirts and vinyl records are all available for purchase at the store.
Landry Jackson, performance freshman, is a regular customer at Sundance.
“Sundance is absolutely the best. They have a great combination of used and new vinyls,” Jackson said. “You can ask them unbelievable questions that nobody should know about music, and they’ve got it spot on. Give them one line of a song and they’ll go pull it off the shelf.”
Jackson agrees with the purpose of Record Store Day.
“Digital has no soul. I think iTunes is killing music,” Jackson said. “I bought a Killers CD the other day and when I opened it, the CD looked like the rings found on the inside of a tree. That says something about the music; that gives it soul. You miss that with digital music.”