Record Store Day 2020

Record Store Day 2020

Photo by Konstantinos Hasandras on Unsplash

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you might remember that last year I wrote about Record Store Day (RSD) as a change from talking about financial planning and personal finance. 

If you’re new or can’t remember, here’s a reminder:

One day each year over 200 independent record shops across the UK come together to celebrate the records and music they sell.  Special vinyl releases are made exclusively for the day and many shops and cities host artist performances and events to mark the occasion.  It’s a worldwide event with thousands more shops around the world celebrating the day.

My local independent record store is Hundred Records in Romsey  https://www.hundredrecords.com/.  

Due to Coronavirus, they’ve now also got an online store  https://hundredrecords.co.uk/  but their commitment to operating an actual record store hasn’t changed – they’ve got no intention of becoming the next Amazon!

This year’s RSD was scheduled to be on Saturday 18th April.  In preparation, I’d made sure that I’d be working from home on Friday the 17th April so I could get ready for a night out on the street!  I’d reviewed the list of releases and knew the records I was interested in but then, due to the worldwide Coronavirus lockdown, the event was postponed to the 20th June.  Like other shops, independent record stores were shut and lots of people queuing outside all at once just wasn’t sensible.

However, as we now know, even 20th June was optimistic, and RSD 2020 was cancelled.  The 20th June became an online only event where a small number of additional limited releases were available at 9 am on the independent stores’ websites.  No queuing and a full night’s sleep were good but this was replaced by the frustration of broadband issues, websites crashing and trying to complete checkout before the record was gone.  It was more like an Amazon event than a day celebrating independent record stores, but hopefully, the revenue brought in by the sales of these sought-after titles helped a few stores stay in business.

Having cancelled RSD 2020, the organisers decided that instead they’d hold three ‘drop date’ events spread over three months on 29th August, 26th September and 24th October.  

It is great that they are still doing something, as I am sure most independent record stores need the revenue brought in by the sales of the sought-after titles on the RSD list and need, more than ever, the increased awareness and customer support RSD generates.  It also helps the distributors and the smaller artists. 

The three days are designed to reduce the number of people attending on one day, however, I have my doubts that this will work as most of the ‘vinyl nerds’ I know will just go to all three days.  Stores will publish their own social distancing measures so if you are interested in getting hold of some of the releases, I suggest popping down to your local store before the first day to find out their arrangements.

You can find the 2020 releases and their new ‘drop dates’ on the RSD website https://recordstoreday.co.uk/home/ or you can download a copy of the list at https://recordstoreday.co.uk/media/1386825/rsd20-release-dates.pdf

If supporting your local record store sounds like a good idea, then have a look what’s on the list and let your store know what you’re interested in.  This helps them know what to order … and gives you more of a chance of bagging your vinyl!

In my blog last year I highlighted some of the rules of RSD – if you want to check them out you can find that blog here: https://financialjamming.com/record-store-day/

There’s a change this year to the online rules to help stores reduce customer numbers and to sell more records.  UK shops can sell the releases for that date online from 6pm that day which means that if they’ve got any stock remaining when the shop closes, they can sell them via their website that evening.  Not all shops will have an online presence, and some might decide not to do this or even to only sell online, so again I suggest getting in touch with your local store to check what they’re doing.  If they are open during the day, I wouldn’t expect many of the popular releases to be left by the evening but if you can’t attend in person it’s always worth a try – I’ve managed to pick up exclusive releases the next day or weeks later so don’t give up!

My tips for each ‘drop date’ are similar to how I’d approach a normal RSD but will obviously depend on what lockdown, or other, rules are in place at the time.

I’ll still be deciding on a few top choices (3 or 4) for each day and have another tier of choices in reserve in case none of the first group are left.  I’ll also be setting myself a budget to help me focus on finding my top few records first.  From experience I’m not sure that this actually helps limit the damage to my bank account, but at least I feel like I’m trying!

So, if you want to support another local business the RSD ‘drop dates’ are an excellent excuse …  you might even get to add a limited edition to your record collection. 

Cheers

Charles