The annual celebration of physical music product and independent music retailers, Record Store Day, comes around again this Saturday, April 18. SHANE PINNEGAR speaks to Record Store Day Australia Ambassador, Tim Dalton, about why the day is so important.
Music shoppers should expect a fun and rewarding day out as thousands are expected to visit their local independent record stores on Saturday, with many of Perth’s retailers offering special discounts and promising to stock many of the much-sought-after items released specially for the day.
Dalton, a music industry educator born in Liverpool with a long history as a recording engineer and front of house engineer to Public Enemy and Beastie Boys, then tour manager for bands such as Atomic Kitten, Elvis Costello, Faith No More and Simple Minds, says he’s passionate about representing Record Store Day, and this is his second year running in the role.
“It’s going very well – I’m really enjoying it, actually. They get a grown-up to do the responsible part – I get to do all the fun stuff, which is talking about Record Store Day and what’s going to happen on April 18. I kind of seen myself as someone who’s kind of evangelical about it – that’s what I’m here to do, to jump up and down and get excited about Record Store Day but I don’t need much encouragement.”
Since Record Store Day started in America in 2007 vinyl sales in America alone have more than quadrupled – but is Record Store Day only about vinyl records?
“No it’s not,” insists Dalton, “and it s a bit of a misconception really, in that it’s not ‘vinyl record day’, it’s actually about independent retailers, it’s about recognising that music fans have kind’ve lost the joy that comes from owning tactile product. It’s one thing owning music that’s a stream of digits on a hard disc drive, it’s another thing owning a CD or vinyl or a cassette or whatever – something you can pull off the shelf in 10 or 20 or 30 years and say, ‘you know, I bought this when I was dating that girl’, or ‘I bought this when I just moved to that location’, or ‘I bought this because I saw this band play at this festival’, and it’s nice having that tactileness. That’s the stuff that will become family heirlooms, cherished and handed from father to son and mother to daughter in years to come.
“I think as long as you’re buying the music,” he summarises, “and you’re buying it from an independent retailer, that’s what Record Store Day is about.
“Do you really want to buy everything off Amazon?” exclaims Dalton when asked why Record Store Day is so important. “Do you really want to buy all your food and clothes and everything online? Probably not! There are some items that you do want to buy in store.
“The independent retailers are the ones that tend to do all the really creative stuff,” he explains, referring in part to the more-than-450 special Record Store Day releases this year, “that seek out the product that the big online retailers don’t want to involve themselves with, and the people who run these shops – be it clothing or records or whatever – these people tend to be the enthusiasts. They’re not doing it to make a huge profit, they’re doing it because they love it. They have a real interest in their stock line and can tell you about stuff. That’s one of the other reasons why I’m involved in this.”