Record Store Day 2013: A comprehensive guide

Categories: Things To Do

Josiah Hesse
The scene at Twist & Shout during last spring's annual Record Store Day.

This Saturday is 4/20. You know what that means? Uh-huh. Time for all of us Coloradoans to celebrate our favorite annual holiday. That's right. Record Store Day! Record Store Day has come a long way since it kicked off in 2007. The third Saturday of April has morphed into an international holiday of sorts, a celebration of tactile music.

See also:
- In honor of Record Store Day this Saturday: Ten records we treasure
- Record Store Day: Phish's Junta is fetching double its Record Store Day price on eBay
- Five famous record collections and a look at their doomed (and almost doomed) fate

Josiah Hesse
The scene at Twist & Shout during last spring's annual Record Store Day.

The business of running a record store has transformed completely in the past fifteen years. While there's no single silver bullet for brick-and-mortar owners looking to compete with online music stores and file sharing, many have come up with creative ways to keep the customers rolling in. It's gone far beyond diversifying a store's merchandise or stocking up on more vinyl for the hard-core collectors.

Twice a year, Record Store Day offers a whole wealth of incentives for customers to get away from their laptops and buy their music the old-fashioned way: Rare releases from record labels, special in-store deals, support from local bands in the form of live performances -- it's all part of the international Record Store Day celebration, and this Saturday, April 20, will be no different at stores across the metro area.

The April celebration is still much bigger than the Black Friday version of the promotion that takes place in November. In Colorado, the spring event has morphed into something bigger than a simple promotion, with several of the town's best-loved stores using the event as a live forum for local bands and a way to reconnect with the local music community.

Josiah Hesse
The scene outside Wax Trax during last spring's annual Record Store Day.

At Wax Trax, for example, the celebration will stretch across the entire weekend this year, with performances by bands like the Nu, Accordion Crimes and the Outfit. At Twist & Shout, guest DJs will be spinning records throughout the day, and Arvada's signature store Black & Read is set to host Speedwolf and DJ Buncha Grief. In Aurora, the owners of Angelo's CDs and More are taking the celebration a step further, giving the day a community feel with an open mic event and a barbecue cookout.

"To me it's getting back to the actual physical copies of the music," notes Marcel Veal, a manager at the Angelo's store in Aurora. "It's a good old-fashioned feel: going into a record store, getting a piece, meeting people, getting tickets to concerts."

Of course, all of that local flavor comes on top of an overwhelming list of special releases specifically timed for Record Store Day. The 2013 list of special editions includes hundreds of titles by artists that range from Lamb of God to Frank Zappa. Judging from the sales last year, records geared toward hardcore collectors and fans like the 12-inch vinyl deluxe edition of Phish's "Lawn Boy" is set to go quick.

Josiah Hesse
The scene at Wax Trax during last spring's annual Record Store Day.

"I'm sure that Phish has a dedicated fanbase, and that's certainly something that overlaps with vinyl collectors," notes Dave Wilkinson of Wax Trax. "If last year was any indicator, that shit will go out the door like gangbusters. Everyone was gunning for the Phish record." But more importantly, the effect of the special releases and in-store shows goes beyond any single day for many record store owners. Wilkinson says the day tends to lead to a larger shift in shopping habits.

"I think it certainly does have a radius of activity, where it may not last the whole year between Record Store Days," Wilkinson admits. "But the two months leading up and a month or so afterward, it's still on people's minds." That means that customers are still looking for the rare Record Store Day vinyl releases days and weeks after the third Saturday of the month. It also means they're more liable to remember that brick-and-mortar shop as a place to spend money, a community resource that offers a lot more than Amazon or the iTunes store.

"That's something that we'll always be pushing. Record Store Day is just one day," Wilkinson maintains. "The record stores that truly matter and that people truly love exist outside the day."

Josiah Hesse
The scene outside Twist & Shout during last spring's annual Record Store Day.

At Angelo's, owners are hoping the day will introduce customers to the diversity of the store's stock. In the past decade, owner Angelo Coiro has worked to expand beyond CDs, including more vinyl and other products. The stores in Aurora, Littleton and Wheat Ridge carry clothes, pipes, perfume and toys. It's all part of a push to redefine the traditional role of a record store. "All of the stores have diversified," Coiro notes. "Each store does a little bit different sales according to their neighborhood."

Keep reading for details on what each local store has planned for Record Store Day

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