The third annual Record Store Day took place on August 17th this year. In observance of it hundreds of new records and rather exciting reissues were being released exclusively to independent record stores, as well as tons of free performances, give aways, etc. - and hey, with the closing of the Virgin's last year almost every record store in New York City was an independent. There was a big hunting ground. Most of the releases were centered on vinyl, and with a little time spent saving up I had a few in mind for myself. A long-coveted pressing of the Moon and Antarctica on vinyl, REM's debut Chronic Town EP, a split single with Mogwai and Fuck Buttons covering each other, SoundGarden's amazing first single repressed, new 7" singles by Japandroids, Blur, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fucked Up. Sixty Nine Love Songs got its first ever vinyl pressing. I knew I only had only saved the money for, maybe, three of these discs, but I was excited none the less.
I showed up to my favorite store fifteen minutes before its special early opening, there was a line around the block. I thought, ok, there are maybe fifty people in front of me, big deal.... By the time I walked in the door The Moon and Antarctica was sold out. Chronic Town, a twenty five year old EP reissue, was sitting on the wall for more than 15 dollars. The Mogwai/Fuck Buttons split, just two songs mind you, cost more than 10. Sixty Nine Love Songs cost almost 100. There was nothing I could afford. I looked around. In the arms of most people in the crowded store I could see my coveted M&A disc. And further more, in there arms were five or six or eight or ten other over priced records as well. I realized I was beat. I lost because I came to celebrate with thirty dollars while they came with two hundred.
Sitting on the subway heading to another shop to try again, I realized that I had gotten hugely excited for all three Record Store Days so far, I had even told most of my music loving friends about them, effectively advertising for the cause, and yet I had never walked away with any Record Store Day specific release at all. And I thought about when I had gotten into vinyl, how it was the most amazing format in the world because I could find Led Zeppelin IV for six dollars. I could pick up a beat up copy of Cream's Disrali Gears for two. The White Stripes' White Blood Cells cost me eight bucks, a new copy of Minor Threats 12" on bright green wax cost me nine. I could forsake convenience for quality - and for quantity.
That was only four years ago and yet.... vinyl isn't made for me anymore. I tear my hair anytime a deluxe x2LP 180gram record comes out, because I know they'll try to make me pay 25 dollars for one album, and I know I won't be able to. I hide my head when they speak of good packaging and pristine sound, because I know I won't be able to see and hear it. Vinyl is now for the rich who can afford to love all the high quality pressings, or for the stupid, too rapped up in the hipness of the format to realize they're being ripped off. This is a hard thing for me to realize. And I feel like because of the rampant theft of music online is putting so many bands and record labels in a tough place, they're taking it out on us - those who have been committed to paying for their music. And I don't know what to do about this.