This past Saturday indie record stores gathered their stock and Record Store Day exclusives to serve thousands of vinyl-hungry punters across the country and around the world. In Berwick Street, home to Central London’s most popular record stores, it looked like Carnival had come 4 months early. Soundsystems boomed out of Phonica and Black Market Soho, whilst The Augustines’ live set blared out to revellers taking advantage of the rare sunshine. The aforementioned sunshine meant the street and queues to all shops were rammed, but returning a few hours later provided the opportunity to browse in Sister Ray Records.
Record Store Day has been criticised for putting too much strain on vinyl production, but on this day, it seems that shop assistants deserved the recognition for catering to immense demand. Attendees at various locations began queueing from the previous evening, resulting in long lines, even in suburbs. Even after having served innumerable customers, Sister Ray was incredibly organised and had great selections of Country, Dub, Hip Hop, Jazz and Soul. It was into the late evening but business showed no signs of slowing down.
Special releases to mark the occasion included a posthumous release of Gil Scott-Heron’s Nothing New, Jack White’s ‘Lazaretto’, which will now be regarded as the fastest released single and 20th anniversary re-issues of Nas’ classic, Illmatic. Surprisingly, One Direction even had Midnight Memories pressed into vinyl as an out-of-the-box release.
Despite the doom and gloom proclamations over downloads affecting physical sales, Record Store Day only helps. It reportedly gains more record sales than in the week leading up to Christmas and last year it generated £2 million worth of sales. It may never reach the heights that physical sales once had, but crowds flocking to countless stores up and down the country only shows that some music lovers have yet to give up on clutching a 12″ copy of their favourite album in their hands.