Aural Fixation: Record Store Day Comes Once A Year

Now It’s Here, Now It’s Hear

Robin Babb
6 min read
Record Store Day Comes Once A Year
Mecca Records (Eric Williams Photography)
Share ::
Vinyl junkies, recording enthusiasts and music lovers of all stripes rejoice: Record Store Day is upon us once more.

On Saturday, April 16, the annual event will celebrate the nation’s record stores with a batch of special, limited vinyl releases of both new and old records, including J Dilla’s long lost vocal album,
The Diary, and a 12” picture disc re-release of David Bowie’s 1970 album The Man Who Sold the World. You can find the complete list of special releases on the official Record Store Day website.

A couple of Albuquerque record stores are participating in the event, so you can join the rush to get ahold of some of those special releases this weekend—if you get there early. In past years, lines have stretched down the block at some stores, an event more likely to occur than not in Burque because our town only has a handful of the places.

All that being said, don’t have your sights too fixed on a certain release, as each individual record store can’t promise what titles it will actually receive from distributors. Stores won’t actually know what titles and how many copies they’ll have available until the delivery person arrives on Record Store Day. It’s like Christmas, but for a small, vinyl-loving subset of the population.

In recent years, RSD has been critiqued (see Pitchfork’s article from last year, ‘
Record Store Day and the Ambivalent Branding of Independence’) for creating more profit for large corporate record labels than for independent record stores. It’s certainly a high-stress event for most record store owners and employees, and, as record distributors are more likely to prioritize filling orders for larger stores, sometimes small indies are left with their orders unfilled and with long lines of disappointed customers on the big day.

“Honestly? It’s a pretty stressful day for us, and I’m looking forward to it being over,” says Rocky De la Vega, owner of Mecca Records on Central. He feels that the event has grown in both popularity and corporate-ness in the past few years. “It used to be a list of about 50 special releases each year, and it’s grown to something like 600 this time around. It’s less special these days.”

Some record stores get more out of it, though. Chuck Roast of Vinal Edge Records (in Houston, Texas) says that, although stressful, RSD is their most profitable day of the year. There are a lot of people who come in early to the shop on RSD just to buy special release titles and flip them on Ebay—a practice that frustrates some shop owners—but Roast says that he “can’t get too upset about it. I mean, that’s what I used to do.”

Although it can be profitable for savvy record store owners, participating in RSD is an investment, and one that doesn’t always pay off. If you order too many of a certain title, then those unsold copies sit on your shelves after RSD, gathering dust and getting more and more discounted each day. For small indie stores, it can be a make-or-break scenario.

So, what’s a discerning music lover/record store aficionado to do? “Just come to our store more than one day a year!” says De la Vega. “Seriously, you’re more likely to find cool titles on any other day of the year, when we’re not swarmed.”

You can try your luck for a special Record Store Day title at either Mecca Records or Charley’s 33’s & CD’s on Saturday, April 16. Nob Hill Music, one of Burque’s other local music outlets will be open, but is
not officially participating in the festivities.

Aural Fixation: Mecca Records

An Albuquerque institution if there ever was one. Mecca is one of the first places I ever went to upon visiting our lovely city for the first time, and it remains one of my favorite spots. Never mind the fact that they’re sometimes not open during their posted hours—that’s just part of the record store experience, you know? Mecca is a great place for crate-diggers and folks hunting for something interesting, rather than something mainstream. In addition to vinyl, they stock CDs and plenty of used books.

Aural Fixation: Charley’s 33’S & Cd’s

The biggest independent record store in New Mexico. Charley’s has been around since 1988 and has had the same owner for the past 10 years. While they sell (and buy and trade!) mostly vinyl, they have a wide selection of CDs and cassettes too, with plenty of band T-shirts and other musical paraphernalia as well. The owner of Charley’s, Colleen Corrie, is frequently around and ready to share her extensive musical knowledge. Charley’s 33’s and CD’s won this year’s Best of Burque readers’ poll for best local record store.

Aural Fixation: Nob Hill Music

Steve Schroeder’s shop in the middle of Nob Hill features a curated selection of many types of music in a multitude of formats, but is particularly strong on the jazz and rock fronts. The owner’s passion for music started off as a collecting hobby and has grown into one of the more interesting music shops in the local area. Besides recorded music, the store also features high-quality, used stereo equipment for sale as well as being a place fellow collectors can buy, sell and talk records.
Record Store Day Comes Once A Year

Eric Williams

1 2 3 316