America’s New Favorite Holiday, Record Store Day, Premieres to Mostly Good Results

Confession time: I am a local news JUNKIE. I love their low-budget advertising campaigns. I love their cheesy news anchor banter. And I especially love to reminisce about hard-hitting, in-depth investigations. One of my personal favorites was a shocking story concerning Red Bull and Jagermeister, and how downing a ton of the shit can be bad for you. But how bad? The consensus of the story was "we don't really know how bad, but let's just say pretty bad, because you wouldn't really think it'd be good for you, would you?"

That's kind of the verdict of a recent Billboard report on America's new favorite holiday, Record Store Day. Except the consensus of this story is more along the lines of "we don't really know how good, but let's just say pretty good, because you wouldn't really think it'd be bad, would you?" Evidence points toward Record Store Day charting somewhere around "kick ass" on the "good" scale, but opinions differ. Nielsen SoundScan results for the inaugural Record Store Day, held April, 19, 2008, reveal that sales for indie stores rose 1.6% from the previous year while chain stores' sales dropped 20.8% from 2007. Sounds good right? Well, album sales dropped 8.1% for the week.

Store owners held varying opinions as to the effectiveness of Record Store Day. In Philadelphia, overall indie record store sales were up 13% from the previous week, and in the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose area sales were up 12%. Special events such as the Metallica in-store at Mountain View, CA's Rasputin's drew 400 people and added significantly to the figures. Statistics varied across the country, with the Boston area reporting a 4% increase in sales and Nashville-based Grimey's experiencing a 400% increase. At the same time, however, some stores reported no surges in business whatsoever, and some, such as Atlanta's Criminal Records, reported an 18% decrease from the week before. Indie store managers in some locations were uncertain whether sales were up due to nice weather, amazing Record Store Day tie-ins, or Boston area creeps' desire to watch Dresden Doll Amanda Collins paint her underwear.

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