By Damian Dominguez
It’s only one day a year, but for those with the passion and love for vinyl, Record Store Day is one of the most important days of the year.
“It’s been a shining star in a sometimes otherwise gloomy time for small record store owners,” said Bill Broyhill, who has been through the fall and resurgence of vinyl records as the owner of the Record Cellar in Rock Hill.
Record Store Day, which this year is April 18, was created in 2007 by and for independent record store owners. Exclusive vinyl and CD releases are made available to participating stores worldwide to give them an advantage over corporate stores.
“You could compare Record Store Day to Black Friday,” said Ashtin Potridge, an employee at Kilgore Trouts in Myrtle Beach.
Kilgore Trouts has its regulars, he said, but on Record Store Day the crowds can be surprising.
“We expected two or three people to be hanging around when we opened shop, but there was a line of around 60 people last year,” he said.
For Anderson-based Rainbow Records, each year has seen better business than the previous, said owner Mark Hembree. Customers of all ages buy vinyl, but the majority of customers are in college and high school, he said; many are starting a collection. The unique offerings that Record Store Day provides can draw in new customers, he said.
One nonvinyl release that he said he was looking forward to is a Metallica cassette, harkening back to their 1982 demo tape, No Life ‘Til Leather.
Some of the exclusive releases are a red, heart-shaped single by Father John Misty, I Loved You, Honeybee; a picture disk of David Bowie’s single, Changes; and Rockabye Baby, a collection of lullaby renditions of Grateful Dead songs.
Broyhill said that vinyl is his preferred way to listen to music.
“Digital music, personally, has never really appealed to me. Not everyone is in-tune to high quality audio – some people still like AM radio – but for people who are, the quality makes a world of difference,” he said.
Potridge said that vinyl records provide more than a listening experience. “You’ve got a big, 12-inch piece of art that you can share with your friends,” he said.
He said that sacrificing the portability of digital music files is worth the experience of going to a local store and buying a physical album, which doubles as a display piece.
The owner of Goats Head Records in Florence, Brandon Harrington said that some people just like “flipping through bins.”
“On Record Store Day, we get a lot of fathers coming in with their kids. They want to pass down the way they listened to music and experienced it when they were young,” he said.
Store owners said they were eager to find out what exclusive materials they’ll be sent. Record Store Day specials usually arrive a few days before the actual day, and that means store owners get an exclusive look at the special offers.
“We don’t know what we’ve got until we open the boxes,” said Woody Jones, an employee at Papa Jazz Record Shoppe in Columbia.
The other thing that gets owners excited about opening those boxes is the boost to sales that Record Store Day provides.
“We do more than a week of business in a single day,” said Jones.