April 17, 2009
Record Store Day spins profits and good beats at Metro Detroit shops
BY Adam Graham
Independent record stores offer exclusive discs on Saturday
There are places where the incense still burns, where you can hum a song and the clerk will help you name that tune, and where you can walk through the doors with a stack of music and walk out with a few bucks (or a credit slip to put toward even more music) in your pocket.
Those places are called record stores, and now they have their own holiday.
Saturday marks the second annual Record Store Day, a day set up to celebrate independent music retailers and the old-school record store experience -- you know, actually going into a store to buy music (what a concept!), as opposed to downloading it in your bedroom.
Artists from Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen to Jack White are among the dozens of performers offering exclusive products to participating stores for Record Store Day. That's a huge increase from last year, when fewer than 10 artists participated by offering Record Store Day-only exclusives.
"It's just exploded," says L.A.-based Michael Kurtz, co-founder of Record Store Day. "This is all about the connection between the community and the artist."
Not to mention the connection between the community and their local mom-and-pop record shop. Businesses that are thriving do not necessarily warrant their own designated tributes, and it's no secret that record stores have seen their better days.
Over the last six years, approximately one-third of all independent record shops in the U.S. have closed their doors, according to the Almighty Institute of Music Retail, a California-based marketing firm. Album sales, meanwhile, have eroded 45 percent since 2000, as downloading has chipped away at the music industry's bottom line.
But record stores are still alive and kicking. Even in an age of digital downloads, there's a purity about record stores that can't be captured by going online, no matter how many albums are available at your fingertips. At the 20-plus-year-old Car City Records in St. Clair Shores, home to some 50,000 used and new records, clerk Dion Fischer flips through the $1 used record bin and comes across albums by Bruce Springsteen, Jethro Tull and the Beatles. "No download can beat a scratchy Beatles record," he says, holding up a copy of "Let it Be."
Record stores allow customers to interact with music in a way that's impossible in the digital age, says Jesse Hughes, former record store clerk and current frontman for trash-rockers Eagles of Death Metal. He says the demise of record stores is due in large part to record store customers themselves. "The people who cry the hardest about its death are the ones sitting on their butts and downloading," says Hughes, which leads him into a quote from Edmund Burke: "Evil will prevail when good men do nothing."
Billy O'Keefe is one of the good men trying to do something. His Utica record store, Rock-A-Billy's, is hosting eight in-store performances on Saturday, including sets by formerly obscure '70s singer Rodriguez and indie pop-rockers the Silent Years.
O'Keefe is a big believer in Record Store Day, not only for its value in the community but at the cash registers as well. He says last year's Record Store Day rivaled his Christmas sales, and he expects this year to be even bigger.
Rock-A-Billy's has been open for 15 years, and O'Keefe says times right now in the record business are "as tough as they've ever been.
"But hopefully this is as tough as it's going to be," he says. "Down the road, it's going to be looking good -- I believe that, and I've gotta believe that. If I didn't believe that, I could not stay in business."
One of the bright spots on the calendar, he says, is Record Store Day. But there are still 364 other days on the calendar, a fact which isn't lost on record store owners or their loyal customers.
Says Car City's Fischer, "For us, every day is Record Store Day."
Record Store Day is a day to celebrate independent record stores. Here's a list of several in Metro Detroit that are worth visiting Saturday:
27360 Gratiot Ave., Roseville
Specialty: Techno and electronic music
8411 Hall Road, Utica
Specialty: Indie rock, punk
Street Corner Music
17620 W. 13 Mile, Beverly Hills (moving to Oak Park in June)
Specialty: New and used jazz, R&B and hip-hop
Car City Records
21918 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores
Specialty: Used R&B, jazz and rock
3161 Woodward Ave., Detroit
Specialty: Used 45s -- the store carries more than 80,000 of them
Damon's Record Center
20124 Plymouth Road, Detroit
Specialty: Urban music -- gospel, rap, jazz and blues
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Article List• November 21, 2013 - New York Times - Records Are Dying? Not Here
• March 27, 2013 - Glendale News-Press - It's a matter of record: Burbank's Atomic Records and Backside
• December 30, 2012 - Detroit News - As one record shop closes, vinyl music plays on in another
• April 20, 2012 - Boston.com - New vinyl album releases give record stores a kick
• November 20, 2011 - Salon.com - In an iTunes age, do we need the record store?
• June 9, 2011 - NJ.com - Curmudgeon Records closes its doors for good
• April 16, 2011 - Wall Street Journal - One-Day Record-Store Revival
• February 1, 2011 - Charlottesville News & Arts - Plan 9 Changes Location
• August 13, 2010 - The Tennesean - Anita Wadhwani: Nashville indie record stores' sales spin in right direction
• January 3, 2010 - Delaware News Journal - Delaware music shops get creative to compete with downloads, chain music stores
• September 24, 2009 - Los Angeles Times - L.A. independent record shop is still in a groove
• August 20, 2009 - CNN Money - You can make money off online music
• June 14, 2009 - New York Times - Retailing Era Closes With Music Megastore
• May 13, 2009 - Medill Reports - Resurgence in vinyl helps record store in recession
• April 26, 2009 - Los Angeles Times - In a digital age, vinyl albums are making a comeback
• April 18, 2009 - Charlotte Observer - Record stores band together
• April 17, 2009 - Detroit News - Record Store Day spins profits and good beats at Metro Detroit shops
• April 17, 2009 - Associated Press - Record Store Day celebrates indie retailers
• April 10, 2009 - Detroit News - Street Corner Music moving to Oak Park plaza
• April 10, 2009 - Toledo Free Press - New record store shakes up Adams Street
• January 8, 2009 - OC Register - Closing date for Virgin Megastore at The Block
• October 28, 2008 - Reuters - AC/DC back in "Black" with global smash
• September 23, 2008 - Chicago Daily Herald - Independent music stores haven't yet disappeared from suburbia
• June 23, 2008 - New York Times - For Tom Petty Fans, the True Sound of Vinyl, Also Captured on a CD
• April 19, 2008 - Lafayette Journal Courier - For some, record stores live on
• April 19, 2008 - New Jersey Star Ledger - It's Record Store Day. Play it again, Sam!
• April 18, 2008 - New York Times - Record Stores Fight to Be Long-Playing
• April 18, 2008 - Dallas Morning News - Retailers hope Record Store Day turns up volume at mom-and-pop shops
• April 16, 2008 - Timeout New York - Platter Up
• December 27, 2007 - Los Angeles Times - Virgin Megastore to close shop
• December 16, 2007 - New York Times - For a "Dinosaur," an Exuberant Second Life (Looney Tunes Reopens)
• December 3, 2007 - Detroit Free Press - The same old song: Music store closing
• November 7, 2007 - Washington Post - Eagles soar past Britney to top of charts
• November 4, 2007 - The Ledger - Two Young Entrepreneurs Unafraid of Risk of Going on Records
• August 20, 2007 - Billboard - Almighty Taps Hans As VP
• June 29, 2007 - ABC News - Long Live the Record Store
• June 28, 2007 - Orange County Weekly - Locals Only
• June 13, 2007 - Reuters - McCartney's Starbucks album heats up U.S. charts
• June 9, 2007 - Billboard - Commentary: Retail Recovery
• May 9, 2007 - Columbia Free Times - High Fidelity
• March 22, 2007 - NARM Awards - Almighty Retail Named NARM Related Supplier Finalist For Third Consecutive Year
• March 16, 2007 - Chortler - Shout! Factory Has Revamped Its Website
• March 9, 2007 - PhillyBurbs.com - Internet killed the record store?
• March 4, 2007 - Sacramento Bee - New groove for Solomon
• February 28, 2007 - USA Today - Exclusives aim to pull music fans into stores
• February 28, 2007 - New York Newsday - Latin record shops thrive despite changes in music business
• February 23, 2007 - Montpelier Bridge - Buch Spieler Sails On Despite a Music Industry Decline
• November 20, 2006 - Austin 360 - In Austin, Niche Indies Rule
• October 20, 2006 - Sacramento Bee - Tower brand could survive
• October 15, 2006 - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Tables have turned on record stores
• October 14, 2006 - Sacramento Bee - Small labels lose valuable ally in Tower
• October 6, 2006 - Desert Sun - Record Alley remodels
• September 27, 2006 - Music & Copyright - Niche Marketing of CD albums continues to rise in the US and Physical Sales overall decline
• September 22, 2006 - CNN.com - Indie stores confront a new era
• September 19, 2006 - New York Newsday - 34 years, and that's not all, folks
• August 18, 2006 - The Roanoke Times - Plan 9 Music puts new spin on 5 Record Exchange stores
• August 3, 2006 - The Hollywood Reporter - Nervous music retailers face hazy digital future
• July 16, 2006 - New York Times - The Graying of the Record Store
• July 13, 2006 - Rolling Stone - The iTunes Holdouts
• July 11, 2006 - Roanoke Times - Record store's "last dance"
• July 5, 2006 - Port Townsend and Jefferson County Leader - Quimper Sound moves, expands to change with times
• June 6, 2006 - Billboard - NARM Nominations Announced
• May 10, 2006 - Detroit MetroTimes - Out of the Groove
• March 18, 2006 - Billboard - Indies in a bind
• January 16, 2006 - Los Angeles Business Journal - Slipped Discs
• January 6, 2006 - Los Angeles Times - Indie record stores doing slow fade out
• December 26, 2005 - Los Angeles Times - The Music Stops for Indie Shop
• December 1, 2005 - Rolling Stone - Fall Sales Dry Up
• October 13, 2005 - Desert Sun - Music snobs rejoice: Independent record stores still thrive in desert
• September 12, 2005 - Salt Lake Tribune - Twilight for Starbound Records
• August 18, 2005 - New York Post - Oldies are now singing a new tune - Music stores go digital
• July 2005 - Rolling Stone - Record Biz Still Sinking
• June 18, 2005 - Billboard - NARM Noms Announced
• March 21, 2005 - CMJ - Hart of the Matter
• February 16, 2005 - MSN - Genius Loves Company
• October 12, 2004 - Rolling Stone - Wal-Mart wants $10 CDs
• July 10, 2004 - Billboard - Almighty Institute To The Rescue
• January 14, 2004 - Creative Loafing Charlotte - Manifest Destiny
• December 29, 2003 - New York Times - on the rise of mass marketers
• November 13, 2003 - Rolling Stone - Best Buy snags rights to band's new DVD
• October 9, 2003 - USA Today - Best Buy wins sales rights to Rolling Stones DVD box set
• October 6, 2003 - Reuters - Stones Paint It Black For Retailers
• May 31, 2003 - Billboard - Retail Track
• May 9, 2003 - Hits - Rerap