The people behind the one-day indie-music-retail blowout Record Store Day are hoping so; they’ve declared the third Saturday of every month Vinyl Saturday, on which limited-edition vinyl releases will be available at participating indie shops. The first installment is Saturday, June 20, and there will be four special releases on shelves that day:
• A Wilco seven-inch (”You Never Know” b/w “Unlikely Japan,” recorded in 2003);
• A Green Day seven-inch (”Know Your Enemy” b/w “Hearts Collide”);
• A Modest Mouse seven-inch (”Autumn Beds” b/w “Whale Song”–this will actually be at all record stores on the 23rd, but Vinyl Saturday participants will allegedly get it in time to sell it Saturday); and
• A Pete Yorn/ScarJo seven-inch (a duet b/w a Yorn demo).
By some measures, this list is certainly impressive. But like the list of Record Store Day exclusives before it, I can’t help but feel that the organizers aren’t doing themselves any favors by being so genre-narrow, particularly when one looks at the types of records that sell lots of copies on days when indie retailers aren’t banding together to fight for survival. And that restrictiveness is certainly not a question of whether or not major labels will participate; all four of the bands above are signed to subsidiaries of The Big Four.
I’d think that people invested in the survival of record stores would want to broaden their consumer base, rather than superserving a slice of the pie that in recent years has proven hostile to paying for music on an aggregate basis. (Divide the number of words written about your recent-vintage bloggo darlings’ albums by said records’ sales; chances are that number will be much greater than one.) Plus there’s even more chance for cross-pollination between genres then: A 7-inch of Chrisette Michele’s “Epiphany” backed with her cover of “Don’t Speak” could draw in fans of No Doubt / Gwen Stefani, for example. Or, heck, William Beckett’s cover of “Heartbeats” could be a nice b-side for a single by The Academy Is…; his band has a rabid fanbase, and I’d think bringing them into new retail realms would be a greater boon in the long run for those businesses’ survival than clinging to some outdated notion of “cool.”