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Overheard on Record Store Day
Saturday’s music-retail extravaganza catalyzed spikes in traffic and purchases at four local shops—and a few good quotables to boot. Come for the stats; stay for the eavesdropping.
A drive-by look at the LUNA scene on April 19.
Photos by Jonathan Scott
Based on last Saturday’s Record Store Day, it seems as though it’s cool to buy physical copies of music again—at least for one day. For the past seven years, independent record stores have been celebrated internationally on the third Saturday in April. With the help of a rising interest in vinyl records and ongoing shop-local cheerleading, each year looks better and better from an indie-shop proprietor’s perspective. April 18’s RSD14 event was no different: Indy’s popular music havens saw some of their best numbers in history.
The store opened at 8 a.m. and had customers in line well before that—say, 12:30 a.m. That premeditated sit-in of sorts activated what owner Todd Robinson called "the best sales day in the history of Luna Music."
The store's biggest seller was an exclusive of Indy-based rock band Margot & The Nuclear So and So's new album, Sling Shot to Heaven. The store had a special yellow vinyl made just for its use that day—and it sold out before 3 p.m.
Luna turns 20 years old this December and will host special concerts throughout the rest of this year.
Indy CD & Vinyl:
This shop, housed on the Broad Ripple Avenue strip, beat its previous best day of sales, which had been (of course) Record Store Day 2013, by more than 20 percent. “It was our single biggest day in the 13-year history of our business,” co-owner Andy Skinner told IM.
“Record Store Day allows all of the record stores across the country that are independent, that operate on word of mouth and customer service, to spend the rest of the year with our bills paid," Skinner says. "And we can order cool stuff that before we wouldn’t take a risk on.”
Of all the indie record shops boasting in-store performances on RSD14, Karma Records had April 19's most popular act in the flesh. Indie-pop band Twenty One Pilots rocked their relatively low-key staging by day before doing the same in front of a sold-out crowd in Old National Centre’s Egyptian Room by night. By virtue of the band’s in-store performance and RSD at large, Karma posted its best day of sales since Christmastime in the late 1990s, says owner Jim Ector: “We sold more vinyl by far than we ever have in a single day."
Vibes sold close to 1,000 records Saturday. Owner John Zeps says that's double what he's used to seeing. “Fifty times better than a normal day," Zeps told IM. "It is absolutely a huge spike, and off the charts compared to what it usually is here.”
It's been said, or warbled, that music makes the people come together. (Thanks, Madonna.) That certainly held true for Record Store Day, on which Jack White (formerly of the White Stripes) set the, well, record for the fastest album release of all time, from performance to pressing. Thousands descended on Indy CD & Vinyl, Luna Music, Karma Records, and Vibes Music on a perfectly sun-drenched Saturday. Here are excerpts from their conversations:
"You want to spend $18 on that?"
—Boyfriend to girlfriend, who relunctantly turns and files away The World's Loneliest Record
"It sure smells sweaty in here."
—A different girlfriend to a different boyfriend
"There's a band out here somewhere ..."
—Teenage hipster to companion, walking up to a crowded Margot & The Nuclear So and So's performance behind Luna
"This is a good buy. My wife helped fund the Kickstarter campaign for it."
—Clerk at Luna Music checkout
"You don't see this one very often!"
—DJ Indiana Jones to Luna owner Todd Robinson, pulling out a Helmet record (cover pictured at right)
“People still buy that stuff ...?”
—50-year-old man, asking Indy CD & Vinyl crowd why there's such a long line
"How do you play this?"
—A sweet young girl to Luna owner Todd Robinson, thinking a 45 might go into a CD player before employees showed her how it worked