Since its introduction in 2001, the iPod has continually decreased in size, from something resembling a small, white brick, to a tiny screen that can fit in the palm of a hand, easily making its way into a washing machine completely unnoticed.
It is capable of carrying an entire music library, plus a few movies and television shows. The iPod’s success over the past 10 years is impossible to ignore. The ability to carry an entire collection of music in your pocket has revolutionized the way people listen to music.
However, there’s a now deafening cry ringing from dimly lit, dusty record stores around the world. A cry that started out as a dull whisper had now turned into what is considered to be the most widely recognized music holiday in the world.
Independent record store employee Chris Brown introduced the concept of Record Store Day in 2007. Now in its fifth year, this annual celebration and the eccentric culture that accompanies the record store atmosphere spans several countries around the world, including England, France, Japan and many others. On the third Saturday in April, artists occupy indie record stores, giving intimate performances and releasing Record Store day exclusive albums.
Vinyl culture has been rapidly increasing over the past few years, with more artists deciding to release their albums on this once-antiquated format. The invention of the compact disc, which many audiophiles argue has a much higher sound quality than that of a vinyl album, should have brought about the demise of the 12-inch, black-lacquered albums. So why the sudden surge in sales?
Since the invention of the iPod, music has become highly digitized, and an entire library can be easily deleted with the press of a button. Something as tangible as a big circular disk brings a sense of connection and intimacy into a form of art and expression many people consider to be very personal.
An MP3 can be passively listened to as it’s pumped through small ear buds, but listening to a record requires a higher level of attentiveness. Vinyl albums demand your attention, while digital formats are content to serve as background noise.
Noticing the increasing trend in record sales, artists have more commonly begun to release vinyl pressings of newly released albums. The 2012 list of Record Store Day exclusive releases includes classic acts such as Paul McCartney and David Bowie, newcomers like The Black Keys and The Tallest Man On Earth, and even dips into the realm of popular music with releases from Katy Perry and Foster The People. Only a limited number of albums are available from each of the artists, and vinyl lovers everywhere have probably already cleared their schedules for this year’s Record Store Day on Saturday, April 21.
Independent record stores in San Antonio are participating to cater to those participating in this newfound celebration of music and record store culture. Hogwild Records, located downtown, offers a wide variety of both used and new albums, considering everyone’s unique tastes.
For more information of Record Store Day, and a complete list of exclusive 2012 releases, visit www.recordstoreday.com.