Independent Companies Shun Record Store Day

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

With Record Store Day less than a month away, more and more independent companies are speaking out against the day dedicated solely to vinyl. Frank Merritt, Mastering and Cutting Engineer at Carvey Cuts – an independent company who specialize in vinyl mastering restoration, pressings, and dubplates – isn’t quite sure how he feels about Record Store Day:  “Last year we did a lot of records for Record Store Day, and we predominantly worked with independent labels. This year, we haven’t done any. To me that’s a good thing. Last year, it took us over six months to recover from all manufacturing worldwide for vinyl, because of Record Store Day.” Merritt also says that “Record Store Day puts an enormous strain on to an already overstressed record industry, and it’s predominantly hi-jacked by the major labels.” 

Earlier this month, two UK-based independent labels, London’s Sonic Cathedral and Bristol’s Howling Owl Records, announced, in a protest against what they feel “Record Store Day has become,” they would be releasing a new single on Record Store Day; though instead of selling multiple copies only on Record Store Day, they will be releasing one copy every day for an entire year. A joint statement released by the labels reads, “We can’t compete, so we won’t compete. Record Store Day is a beautiful concept but even the most fanciful of flowers fry when in the sun for too long… It’s turned into a circus so we’ll be the clowns. 365 Records available. One day for 365 days.” In a separate statement, they explain that “Record Store Day really isn’t fun, and it’s certainly not beneficial to small, backs to the wall labels like Sonic Cathedral and Howling Owl.”

Kim Bayley, from the Entertainment Retailers Association, responded with a lengthy statement stating that “the two labels conveniently raise this to coincide with the release of a single (publicity stunt anyone?), what is really objectionable is the way they have misrepresented one of the most beneficial new music promotions of the past two decades…To make it clear, the purpose of Record Store Day is not to promote independent labels. It is to promote independent record shops (the clue is in the name).”

She goes on to say that, “While media coverage inevitably focuses on superstar acts often signed to major labels, in fact three out of four RSD releases are on indie labels. That’s hardly a ‘betrayal’ of indies…we do suggest a minimum of 500 copies– though we do make exceptions – but with over 220 stores participating and huge public demand, we don’t think a little over two copies per store is too onerous. Remember too that smaller runs can increase costs, which does not serve fans…I could go on. The fact is that everyone involved in Record Store Day is passionate about it. We know it’s not perfect and we know we need more pressing plants. But it’s a hell of a lot better than a world without Record Store Day.  Give us a break.”

FDRMX Eyes: The New Tarot is a five-piece indie band from Brooklyn. The quintet has released a music video entitled “Makeup,” featuring actress Julia Garner.

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