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Vinyl Tuesday: help, hype, or headache?

May 28, 2015

The new weekly Record Store Day event is so crazy it just might not work.

Since its inception in 2007, Record Store Day has always been a double edged sword.

While the yearly event undoubtedly boosts sales for independent retailers and allows some shops to cover their overhead for months with a single day of profits, it has also come at a cost. The so-called “vinyl hype” has resulted in unnecessary releases and reissues (think 180 gram pressings of meat ‘n’ potatoes classic rock anyone can score in a dollar bin, or a nine-LP box set of The National playing the same song) vastly eclipsing the sparse selection of interesting RSD titles.

The primary consequence of this increased production is a bottleneck at pressing plants, causing multi-month delays for smaller labels or artists releasing records on a limited scale. Canadian DIY imprints have sounded off about these frustrations, and for Mammoth Cave Records, RSD’s consequences played a major role in the harsh reality surrounding their recent shut down.

Ironically, unsold or unordered RSD releases can clog up the crates in record stores as well. For many everyday record collectors, the third Saturday of April is the 24-hour period each year when they stay as far away from brick and mortar shops as possible.

It seems that these concerns have fallen on deaf ears with the organizers of RSD, also known as “The Dept of Record Stores.” In a press release issued by the American Association of Independent Music, these organizations have now announced the launch of Vinyl Tuesday, a weekly event following the same format of special releases meant to drive traffic into stores. These are separated into five categories including catalog releases, commercial and promotional releases, vinyl editions of albums that were previously released digitally or on CD, “rare” (yuk yuk) vinyl releases that drop before their digital editions, or vinyl releases made specifically for “the Record Store Day indie retail community” (yecch). No clear info is provided on where and when Vinyl Tuesday will begin.

For anyone who worked or shopped at record stores in the past, Tuesdays were known as the day each week when new releases hit the shelves. This has recently been shifted to Fridays for reasons that remain mystifying, with Vinyl Tuesday certain to cause extra headaches and debates in its place. Or hey, maybe some sales too. In the age of Black Friday, Cassette Store Day, Spotify, TIDAL, and poems from Jack White, all anyone can say for certain is that nothing is certain.

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