April 18, 2008
Retailers hope Record Store Day turns up volume at mom-and-pop shops
By ANDREW McLEMORE / The Dallas Morning News
Music retailers across the nation will celebrate the culture of buying and selling albums Saturday with the first Record Store Day, an attempt to reinvigorate interest in what many consider a dying business.
Presented by a consortium of independent music stores and record labels, Record Store Day will feature artists, including Metallica and Regina Spektor, performing at many of the nation's record stores. Many locations will display new music offerings and promotional material.
Since 2003, more than 3,100 record stores 1,400 of them independent have closed, said Joel Oberstein, president of California-based Almighty Institute of Music Retail, which helped spread the word about the event.
Of the existing 12,250 stores that sell music, 2,450 of those are independent, he said.
The record industry has been plagued in recent years with declining sales as consumers either purchase songs legally from online sites like iTunes or share them illegally.
Mr. Oberstein said the slow decline of the record store industry has been a big story for years; that negativity has permeated the psyche of many consumers.
"This is a way of grabbing people's attention and saying, 'We're still here and still viable,'" he said.
Independent record stores provide a place for people to discuss music with like-minded people, Mr. Oberstein said.
Record Store Day is not just about celebrating music, he said, but human interaction.
"It's mom-and-pop joints of all kinds that are being affected, and if we don't do something about it, all we'll have left is strip malls," Mr. Oberstein said.
Some of the area stores participating are CD Universe, Movie Trading Co., Good Records and Forever Young Records in Grand Prairie.
CD World opened in 1992 as an independent record store in North Dallas that generated decent profits until business dropped by half in the last four years. It's kind of scary," manager Jeff Webb said.
Mr. Webb said the store offers more than just CDs and vinyls now, selling vintage Western T-shirts, movie posters and DVDs. For Record Store Day, the store will display new albums and offer giveaways from record labels promoting their top artists with buttons, stickers and posters.
"Little record stores like ours need as much help as they can get," Mr. Webb said. "Record stores are dying. There's just not that many of them any more."
But the real problem, Mr. Webb said, is the lack of younger consumers.
"The majority of our clientele is past college age or older," Mr. Webb said. "Young people are into just downloading one song and listening to it on their iPods and computers."
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