Independent record store owners and employees concocted Record Store Day as way to celebrate the format, attract consumers and encourage new releases.
Metallica played a live performance on the first Record Store Day April 19, 2008 at Rasputin Music in San Francisco. "Metallica was the first band we took the idea to that said, yes they would help," said Michael Kurtz, co-founder of Record Store Day and president of The Department of Record Stores, which has 72 independent stores in the U.S. and 12 in Canada.
.This year, Pearl Jam is the event's ambassadors and they have a special limited release available Saturday, "Pearl Jam Live at Easy Street," a recording of a live 2005 performance at Seattle's Easy Street Records.
The first Record Store Day had only 10 special releases, but this year there will be about 375. Check for participating stores and all the releases – from Al Green and Janis Joplin to Albert King and Jeff Tweedy.
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•Vinyl spending. It may sound like a broken record, but consumers spent more on vinyl last year than in 2017. Vinyl sales increased 8% to $419.2 million. That's the most since 1988, when vinyl sales hit $532.2 million.
Despite increased interest in vinyl, record store revenue has declined about 7% annually over the last five years, and will hit an estimated $1.5 billion in 2019, according to market research firm IBISWorld.
•Listening habits. Vinyl LP percentage of total physical album sales has grown at the same time CD sales and overall physical album sales have declined.
There were 16.4 million LPs sold in 2018, accounting for 19% of all albums sold (86.5 million), Nielsen says. Back in 2009, vinyl LP sales of 2.5 million, accounted for only 1% of the nearly 307 million physical albums sold.
Sales of vinyl on Record Store Day alone have risen from 17,000 discs to 733,000 in 2018, Nielsen says.
•Record stores by the numbers. Independent record stores accounted for 45% of vinyl sales in 2015, according to Nielsen. Overall, there are 2,419 record stores in the U.S., down from 5,259 in 2012, according to IBISWorld.
Higher margins for vinyl have led other stores including Barnes & Noble and other retailers to add vinyl sections. More than 3,000 independent record stores worldwide are participating Saturday.
•Rock rocks on. The most popular genre for vinyl? Rock. Consumers bought 10.4 million rock albums in 2018, about 12% more than in 2017, according to Nielsen. R&B/Hip-hop came in second with 2.25 million sold, an increase of 25%.
•Vinyl projections. Record store industry revenue is expected to fall an annualized 3.4% to $1.3 billion. Albums of all formats (vinyl, downloads, CDs) are in decline as streaming lets listeners pick and choose.
Album sales are expected to fall from about 350 million units sold in 2010 to about 150 million this year and 125 million in 2024, according to IBISWorld.
Still, there's some hope that vinyl will hook younger consumers. As spending has risen an estimated annualized 23.7% over the last five years, there's been increased interest from the college-age demographic, IBISWorld says.
More than half of record buyers are aged 45 and over, IBISWorld says, 35% are aged 25-45, with nearly 10% aged 24 or younger.
Record Store Day special releasesWith about 375 special releases available in stores, there's probably something for everyone. Record Store Day co-founder Kurtz listed his top five in . His favorite? A four-disc set with 43 songs by Todd Rundgren in .
Other coveted releases:
•Aretha Franklin, The Atlantic Singles 1967. A box set that collects five 7-inch singles including "Respect," "A Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel)" and "Chain Of Fools."
•Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks. A recreation of a rare test pressing made in early 1975 before the actual album was released. Dylan re-recorded five of the songs for the final album. Tracks include "Tangled Up In Blue" and "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go."
•Soccer Mommy, For Young Hearts. The original EP that launched the career of the singer-songwriter Sophie Allison was only made available on 300 cassettes. The green vinyl disc comes with a poster.
•Green Day: Woodstock 1994. The band's live performance from the festival is a 10-song set that includes “Welcome To Paradise,” and “Basket Case” on a single LP.
•The Grateful Dead, Sage and Spirit. Record Store Day brewery Dogfish Head partnered with the iconic band's archivist and legacy manager, David Lemieux to create a 10-track special release that includes live recordings of “Jack Straw” and “Brown-Eyed Women” from the band’s European tour in 1972.
.•Prince, Prelude 2 Gold. A recreation of a cassette given to Versace collection attendees at 1995 Fashion Week in Paris. The tracks include rare tracks and remixes of songs from then-forthcoming The Gold Experience.
•John Hiatt & Lilly Hiatt, You Must Go/All Kinds Of People. The singer-songwriter and his daughter, an acclaimed artist herself, recorded one of the other's songs for this limited edition 7-inch 45.
•My personal favorite? An until-now unavailable live set by R.E.M. The story, according to , the band played two nights at London's the Borderline in March 1991 just before releasing their album "Out of Time." They played under the assumed name of Bingo Hand Job.
, which plays special 3-inch discs. Some will come with a special Foo Fighters, "Big Me" disc. Third Man Records in Nashville and Detroit will offer their own 3-inch player and offer a special set of singles from The White Stripes.
•Scavenger hunt. Not all the most cherished finds will be special releases. A dozen record stores will each have one hidden record, valued collectively at more than $1,500, hidden in the $1 vinyl bins. Among them: a rare original mono pressing of Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde and a Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab 1979 reissue of the Pink Floyd classic "Dark Side of the Moon." Details on the .
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Record Store Day 2019: Special releases hit Saturday as vinyl LP sales continue climb