Happy Record Store Day!
Record Store Day, as artist Macklemore said in an official
Record Store Day interview, is the “Christmas,” “Kwanzaa” and “Hanukkah” for mom-and-pop independent
This year, Record Store Day will be held on Saturday, April 20.
Two Boone record stores, Fat Cats Music & Video at 965 Rivers St. and 641 rpm at 691 W. King St., are celebrating by holding in-store discounts and limited album runs.
Fat Cats is offering 20 percent off all new and used vinyl and books and an all day music show from 1 to 8 p.m. The live music features artists and mixers C. Shreve the Professor, Phlo Deli, D.J. Jet, Martin Snoddy, Andy Farrell, Aqua Mule and others. The live music is co-sponsored by ReGear, the outdoor consignment store next door to Fat Cats. ReGear will open its indoor rock climbing wall for attendees.
Saturday marks the final day of 641 rpm's week-long sale. From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, the store will feature record discounts and exclusives. Every record purchased will receive a same-day discount at the Lucky Penny next-door and a raffle ticket. Raffle prizes include giveaways, such as seven-inch record box sets and a Proper restaurant gift certificate or discount. Raffle results will be decided Saturday evening.
Record Store Day was first celebrated in 2007, eight years after 1999, when Napster, the first notable online peer-to-peer file sharing service, was created. Before Napster was charged with copyright infringement, the service monopolized music distribution by making millions of songs available for free download. Napster’s technology inspired new file-sharing services, resulting in the continual decline of brick-and-mortar music sales.
In 1999, record sales hit $38 billion per year. In 2012, they plummeted to $16.5 billion. But that $16.5 billion shows a 0.3 rise in sales, the first increase in 14 years.
Kevin Frith, owner of Fat Cats, believes that part of that rise is attributable to the “general difference in sound and a general difference in experience” to be had with vinyl that is impossible to obtain with digital downloads.
“Records are an all-encompassing thing,” he said. “It’s a tangible thing that you touch, feel, hold; something you hold onto for a long, long time. If (digital music) is your relationship with your music, then it’s just background noise.”
Fat Cats opened in 1995, when that relationship with music could be called romantic, Frith said. An owned, printed record, warbling on a turntable, was an emblematic part of a person’s identity.
Frith said that although downloading mp3s or tracks from iTunes may be effortless, it is also clinical and removed, like many other aspects of the Digital Age.
Because of its is difference in technical creation, a record “sounds way better” and makes listening to music a “more engaging” experience than listening to digital files, said Travis Reyes, owner of 641 rpm.
“The frequencies are more abundant," Reyes said. "You're sending a sound into a (machine) that actually etches the embodiment of a song.”
The price tag of a $200 turntable and a $20 new record can easily daunt the current generation.
“It's expensive, but people find the money for stuff they really like,” Reyes said. “Buying records is an extravagance, but so is going out to the bar.”
Frith said the price is fair, considering the effort and cost of record creation. Purchasing music not only shows ethical respect for the artist and support for the local business, but it also results in a more fulfilling appreciation for a song and its context.
On Record Store Day, Fat Cats will sell select rarities, such as Mumford & Sons’ “Live at Bullmoose” and Grateful Dead’s “Rare Cuts & Oddities.” Fat Cats will also sell its usual record products, from $3 used records to $100 collectables to “records that are 40 years old that people have kept for decades.”
For more information, call Fat Cats at (828) 265-2287 and 641rpm at (828) 865-9641.