If you’ve come here because of the title of this post, expecting to see some sort of indie-minded rant about how the involvement of major labels has excluded small labels from Record Store Day, ebay profiteering, the overloading of poor quality re-pressings, or even a long winded moan about what Record Store Day should or shouldn’t be about, sorry, you’ve (mainly) come to the wrong place. Yes, the title of this post is unashamedly click bait, and yes there’s definitely been a slight waning of enthusiasm for the day in some quarters, but there’s a very simple reason why we won’t be in the queue at our local store trying to grab one of those limited edition Ah-Ha singles or such like....
We’re doing something else.
So sorry, we’re not on a high horse here, it’s just practicalities keeping us away from the consumerist fun. But a massive shout out to our favourite local store anyway - Pie & Vinyl - you should really check them out, here. Grab a pie, buy some records, then go for a walk along the seafront just over the road. Lovely.
So what are we doing that's keeping us away? Whilst some of you are setting the alarm super early to get your space in the queue, we’ll be travelling to Reading, Berkshire to attend a music festival. Not that Reading festival of course, that’s in August, but instead we're going to Are You Listening Festival – a one day multi-venue wristband event for charity. Depending on how long our journey takes in the morning, we might even nip into Sound Machine, Reading’s record shop, after the queue has died a little, before we catch some live music, which will hopefully include the likes of Robyn Sherwell, Sophie Jamieson and Smoke Fairies.
So now you know the answer and you’ve got this far, what’s this post about then?
No doubt on Saturday many music lovers will be posting excited tweets and Instagram photos about what they’ve purchased, but the reality is that Record Store Day is just the icing on the cake, or even the cherry on top of that. It’s a cliché to say, but it’s true, that if you’ve got the money you can buy physical music 365 days of the year.
And we do.
That’s something that we’re determined to find out for 2015.
So throughout the course of this year we’re recording every single one of our music purchases, be it vinyl, CD, cassette, MP3 or the use of a streaming service. We’re also recording where we buy from – an online store, a real life one, from the artist directly or a car boot sale. At the end of the year we’ll add it all up and be able to see exactly how much we spend on recorded music. We did something similar for live music last year. You can see the results for that by using this link.
So whilst you’re splashing the cash this Saturday on vinyl, here’s where we’ve spent our money on the rest of the year:
1. Everyone knows that streaming is changing the way we consume music and there’s no doubt that it has changed our behaviour. So far we’ve listened to in the region of 25 new albums that have been released in 2015. Yet of those 25 records we’ve only purchased 12 of them to own. 19% of our spending so far this year has been on streaming, yet 50% of our listening is accounted for in this way (yes we've also been recording what we've been listening to and where).
2. The vast majority of our spend is for physical forms that are purchased online (63% of spend)
3. Streaming is killing our download purchasing. Whereas we are still buying albums of artists we like the most physically (not in that sense - the boys out of Public Service Broadcasting do nothing for our sexual attraction buds), this year we’ve only spent £10.14 on downloads – the majority of it via Bandcamp. iTunes is losing our custom to Spotify.
4. Bands: Selling your music at gigs still works – we’ve brought several physical EPs and singles after seeing new bands live (and then sometimes have come home and written about those artists on the blog).
5. Our total spend on recorded music in 2015 so far is £174. Far less than we’d spent on live music at this point last year, which was around £ 800 at this stage (including travel and other associated expenses).
6. And the record store? Sadly only 6% of our spend so far is in that location. Maybe that’s why Record Store Day is important after all – forget the indie vs majors debate, the ebay profiteers and the like. There are people in these stores who have salaries to earn to keep a roof over their head just as much as the online guys. After all this isn’t ‘indie label day’ – this is about the stores and the people who work there themselves.