"It's gratifying to see the concept of Record Store Day successfully exported from the U.S. to the rest of the world. The music fans came out in droves and the participating artists had a blast."
—-Michael Kurtz


“Bigger Than Christmas,” says Michael Kurtz
It’s official. Record Store Day, held last Saturday (4/17) is bigger than Christmas for retailers.

That's the claim of Music Monitor Network President and event organizer Michael Kurtz.

The third installment of the annual event was an unprecedented success. Traffic to www.recordstoreday.com doubled over last year, with the participation of 1,400 indie music stores worldwide (and close to 1,000 in the U.S.), hosting in-store appearances and carrying hundreds of pieces of special and exclusive RSD product.

The media also contributed to the success, with NPR, USA Today, Rolling Stone, Associated Press and even Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update host Seth Meyers getting into the spirit.

Co-organizer and AIMS Chairman Eric Levin hosted a highly anticipated, packed out in-store performance at his Atlanta-based store, Criminal Records, by Detroit legend Rodriguez. The late-night set delighted a store full of fans who had purchased a special ticket—a limited copy of a seven-inch single made just for that day.

Participating Record Store Day retailers enjoyed a 41% sales gain over RSD 2009 and a staggering 109% sales gain over the previous Saturday. Silver Platters in Seattle celebrated both their 25th anniversary and Record Store Day and owner Mike Batt says chain sales were up 81% over last year, with one single-store increase an astonishing 106%.

Said Kurtz, "It's gratifying to see the concept of Record Store Day successfully exported from the U.S. to the rest of the world. The music fans came out in droves and the participating artists had a blast."

London’s Rough Trade Records doubled sales over last year’s RSD. Added Kurtz: "One of my highpoints of the day was getting a text from the Sister Ray store in London saying, ‘Paul Weller is in the store shopping and smiling.’"

RSD co-founder Chris Brown, with Bull Moose in Maine and New Hampshire, reports that while the special releases created the most excitement, recent albums by Jimi Hendrix, Coheed and Cambria, MGMT and She & Him were especially strong, while catalog by the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen and Grace Potter & Nocturnals, who performed in-store at Bull Moose, was very popular.

 “There is a lesson here for the music industry,” according to Brown.  “Focus on the music fans and treat them right and they will come out.  Boy, will they come out.”

Shake It Cincinnati’s Darren Blasé said, "We had the best day ever in our history, up about 40% over last year."

Steve Baron from CD Central in Lexington, KY, revealed he was up 20% from his previous best, last year’s RSD: “We sold through probably 80-90% of our special products and sold over 650 CDs/LPs in a $1 parking lot sale.”

Nashville retailer Grimey's Doyle Davis had his best day, too. “We had a line out the front door and down the block for the first two hours.”

Michael Bunnell, CIMS Chairman and owner of the Record Exchange in Boise, ID, reported that they had 50 people waiting in their coffee shop before they opened their record store, up 20%. “It was a great day to own a record store.”

According to Rhino Records and Mad Platter owner Chuck Oken, Jr, sales were up 33% and 40% from last year's RSD and on Saturday, the stores experienced their busiest sales days ever. Oken says, “It was a day where we sold more vinyl than CDs and DVDs in both of our stores. The in-store by Yo La Tengo at Rhino was attended by over 250 folks and was reflective and beautiful and a testament to the power of music and the record store experience.”

Terry Currier from the much-loved Portland, OR store, Music Millennium added, “RSD was almost four times what the average Saturday has been this year! We had about 75 people in line when we opened and it did not slow down till early evening, and even then there was a constant flow of customers at the register.”

And Uncle Sam’s Music in Miami’s Lisa Teger-Zhen said, “We were up almost 30% from last year! We had 35 people waiting at the door as we opened and the line just kept going!!”
Andrew Chinnici proprietor of Lakeshore Record Exchange in Rochester, NY, says, “Probably our single highest day ever. One weeks worth of business in 11 hours.” And another Rochester-based indie retailer, Alayna Alderman from the Record Archive called it “the best sales day in our history!!!”

Karl Groeger, owner of Long Island outpost Looney Tunes, adds, “When I got to my store at 6 a.m., I saw more then 100 people camped outside for the 9 a.m. opening... I knew it would be a great day!”

Rand Foster, owner of Fingerprints in Long Beach, CA, says, “An amazing example of people coming together to celebrate their love of music. People were helping each other find stuff, chatting about what they were excited about, and planning the next stop on their quest for the elusive Flaming Lips playing Dark Side LP, which was our first sell-out item.”  The store also enjoy stop-ins and in-store performances from the likes of Keith Morris of The Circle Jerks and Black Flag, who spent about four ours chatting about music and making recommendations to fans; and Gary Calamar and Phil Gallo, who stopped by to sign their new book, Record Store Days.

Of the major distributors, UMGD was particularly active in supplying one-of-a-kind product to indie retail, producing 16 different exclusive commercial items, including a Rolling Stones 7” vinyl piece from UMe’s upcoming reissue of Exile on Main Street that was merchandised at retail in a display unit along with Rolling Stones catalog product. Additional pieces included a limited edition Owl City 7” remix of “Fireflies”, an Elvis Costello & the Attractions Live at Hollywood High 7” single which was individually numbered, a limited Hole 10” disc and a Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society double LP colored vinyl set plus several other unique custom products by such artists as Them Crooked Vultures, Godsmack, La Roux, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and The Hold Steady.

For the second consecutive year, Coachella Music Festival, in Indio, CA, played host to an official Record Store Day pop-up store onsite run by the Southwest’s biggest independent record store Zia Record Exchange. The store reports bigger and better sales and turnout this year over last, with over half of the festival’s performing artists meeting and greeting fans at the store, including a revolving door of high-profile artists such as Spoon, Devo, the Avett Brothers and LCD Soundsystem. The Coachella store also reports that 50% of all of its sales were vinyl.

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