When “Record Store Day” started in 2008, it was merely a beacon of awareness for independent record stores. Keep in mind, this was two years after the closing of giant-chain retailer Tower Records, but the indie stores persisted to give real music fans a place to get their vinyl.
Ten years later, you can buy vinyl albums at Target. Again.
While paid music subscriptions like Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora and Tidal serve the general public, physical music eclipsed digital downloads in sales for the first time since 2011 this past March, according to Fortune.
Record Store Day returns this Saturday, April 21, 2018, and according to the official website, there are participating stores on every continent except Antarctica.
Sorry Antarctica, but with your -70° F average this month, vinyl becomes brittle at sub-zero.
The (virtually) worldwide event happens to be the place to land exclusive collector’s limited-editions of albums pressed for the event. While many of these end up on eBay soon-after Saturday, their demand will drive increased price tags. A 2012 picture disc from David Bowie of Starman averages $380.
The albums are often very limited (like in the low thousands, sometimes hundreds), so once your local store sells out of the 2 or 3 copies they had in stock, you’ll end up on the search at other stores for the remainder of the day.
Here are some highlights of this year’s exclusive RECORD STORE DAY editions I’ve got my eyes out for…
VARIOUS – FREE TO BE… YOU AND ME
(limited to 3,000 copies in the US)
This album from Marlo Thomas and Friends released concurrently with a television special and quickly became the seminal album for what would become Generation X. This RSD edition will be pressed on blue/pink vinyl, and comes multi-page lyric book like the original. Not that you don’t already know every word to every track.
Go ahead, it’s alright to cry. Rosey Grier said so.
JOHNNY CASH – AT FOLSOM PRISON
(limited to 2,500 copies in the US)
One of the most iconic live recordings of all time is getting a box set with 5 vinyl albums, containing both of the two concerts, for the first time on vinyl. The recordings include performances by June Carter, Carl Perkins and the Statler Brothers. Packaging will be individually numbered, and contained in a deluxe hard shell slipcase with booklet. It will also include unreleased audio of Cash and company rehearsing in Sacramento’s El Rancho Motel the night before the concerts took place.
THE CURE – TORN DOWN and MIXED UP
(each limited to 7,000 copies in the US)
Last year The Cure released their greatest hits, as well as an acoustic version of those hits, for RSD, selling out pretty much everywhere fast. This year, they have a pair of new releases: Torn Down (Mixed Up Extra), containing 16 new remixes by Robert Smith of classic tracks and a vinyl reissue of their classic 1990 remix album, Mixed Up, pressed on vinyl for the first time. Both releases contain two discs.
PRINCE – 1999
(limited to 5,300 copies in the US)
Unavailable on vinyl for 35 years, this is the original alternative single LP version of the critically acclaimed, breakthrough album 1999 from Prince. It features 1999, Little Red Corvette, Delirious, Free, Let’s Pretend We’re Married, Something In The Water (Does Not Compute), and Lady Cab Driver.
FLEETWOOD MAC – TANGO IN THE NIGHT ALTERNATIVE
(limited to 4,000 copies in the US)
Last year’s Fleetwood Mac release was a completely alternate version of their Mirage, made up of alternate takes from each track of that album. This year’s release will do the same with alternate takes from Tango in the Night, which personally is my favorite of theirs. This album remains the final studio album released by the quintet of Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie and Stevie Nicks.
VARIOUS ARTISTS – KRUSH GROOVE
(limited to 1,500 copies in the US)
Long out of print, this is the soundtrack to the classic hip-hop film, featuring some of the biggest acts of the 80’s – LL Cool J, Beastie Boys, Kurtis Blow, Run-DMC, Sheila E. and more. This very limited edition will feature the cover only used by record clubs around the release. Better yet, it’s pressed on Orange/Blue Haze vinyl.