South Floridian music collectors, rejoice.
Record Store Day arrives on April 23, and owners across the area are gearing up for a celebratory embrace of music through the open exchange of vinyl, CDs and other media.
Many of these shops have been plagued with pandemic-related shipment delays and order cancellations in recent years. To maneuver through these obstacles, Record Store Day has been split into separate dates. A separate one is planned in June.
Despite this shift, Boca Raton-born record enthusiast Johnny Lynch anticipates an exciting day. “I just saw an ad for it the other day,” he said. “I am not missing that.” The 21-year-old attended his first Record Store Day last year at Tallahassee’s Retrofit Records.
Lynch has dealt with long delays himself. Most recently, he waited more than half a year for My Bloody Valentine’s reissue of the 1991 LP, “Loveless.” He believes the new RSD format has its benefits, but it could also lead to some dismay.
“I feel like it’s a lot more accessible for someone who has a tight schedule, but still wants to participate,” he said. “The only downside is that some drops are on separate days, so you really have to keep track of what drops on what day, and it can get confusing.”
RSD was spawned as a way of commemorating the culture of independent record stores worldwide. Traditionally, it’s come with live music, large crowds, refreshments and promotional deals across participating locations.
Since the inaugural Record Store Day in spring 2008, it has grown in stature with each passing year. Some of the biggest names in music have signed onto the event, including members of historic groups like Metallica, Public Enemy, Black Sabbath, and Nirvana.
The popularity of vinyl has skyrocketed since lockdown, and as a result, there’s been a massive disconnect between the supply chain and the demands of eager audiophiles.
According to Statista, yearly vinyl sales have been on a steady increase since the Record Store Day organization was formed in 2007. That year, roughly 1 million vinyl sales were made in the United States.
Compare that to the 27.5 million units sold in 2020, and 2021’s eye-popping total of 41.7 million. The hype isn’t going to die off any time soon.
Vinyl pressing plants have been forced to deal with labor shortages, rising manufacturing and shipping costs, and material scarcity in the midst of this rapidly growing trend. With about 30 pressing plants scattered across the country, only so many records can get distributed.
At the Lauderhill location of We Got The Beats, head clerk Andrew Rains is making the most of what he can get for RSD. Since he began working there in 2020, the store has used a wristband raffle for the event with assigned time slots for each customer. This practice has helped deal with both inventory management and crowd control.
Customers will be able to come in at noon on April 18, the Monday before Record Store Day, to secure a wristband. The first time slot begins at 8:00 a.m. when doors open on the 23rd.
Rains places considerable emphasis on getting rid of the annual long lines, as he’d rather have shoppers come in bunches to avoid monotonous wait times.
“I personally believe it’s a better system,” he said. “I’ve done the whole Black Friday thing, I’ve lined up 24 hours to get a TV for fun. I’d much rather do this. It’s the same procedure [this year], it’s very organized. A little complicated, but on the day of it just goes so smoothly.”
Additionally, Rains is prioritizing health and safety protocols, while also hoping that every customer will be able to leave the store with their desired merchandise. The wristband raffle essentially allows We Got The Beats to kill both birds with one stone.
About half an hour away in Fort Lauderdale, Radioactive Records is preparing for Record Store Day in their own way. Store manager Natalie Martinez is excited about bringing back a block-party atmosphere for the first time since 2019.
After the pandemic forced Radioactive to do RSD from outside of the store for the past two years, Martinez looks forward to re-opening the doors this year. A “spring cleaning” sale will take effect, as hundreds of records will be marked down to four for $1. Additional secondhand LPs will be up for sale, with vendors setting up shop outside as well.
The store will host live DJ performances and provide complimentary food, along with cases of beer courtesy of Wynwood Brewery and Riverside Market. Martinez believes that after some time away, Radioactive’s clientele will welcome the traditional proceedings.
“I think that everyone was very understanding when we had to change the rules,” she said. “So that just goes to show, at least for our customer base, everyone that comes here is a family. Everybody is down to do everything we have to do to be respectful of one other.”
The store will open at 8 a.m., and they anticipate a hectic turnout with a long line out the door. Radioactive has a reputation as a hub for special guest appearances on Record Store Day, most notably from hip-hop legend and RSD ambassador Chuck D in 2014.
Other record stores in South Florida that will take part in Record Store Day include Miami’s Technique Records, Sweat Records, and Yesterday and Today Records, as well as Oakland Park’s location of We Got The Beats.
Notable artists with RSD releases this year include The Doors, Prince, Future, David Bowie, St. Vincent, and many more.
All details on Record Store Day releases, events, and locations are available on recordstoreday.com.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified We Got The Beats head clerk Andrew Rains.