RSD 16: COMMUNITY AND COMPETITION

Chatting to several Record Store owners in the lead up to this year’s ‘International Record Store Day’ there was a sense the hype has well-and-truly overpowered the original idea. The releases were patchy, the prices exorbitant (and margins reduced); there was a sense of store owners being blackmailed via RSD propaganda into ordering LPs of dubious interest while not even knowing which albums would finally arrive.

So no surprise there was remarkably little excitement evident behind the counter. Who could blame them? The small businesses the day was invented to celebrate have become cogs in yet another corporate wheel. Suckering collectors and mad music obsessives with ‘limited editions’ and ‘exclusive RSD releases’… Wasn’t it about your local purveyor of vinyl? Oh, and the music?

Like all successful marketing strategies, RSD has developed a life of its own. Collectors ask each other, ‘Where are you starting?’ or ‘How many stores are you aiming for?’ as they discuss their vinyl obstacle race around the city. A sense of excitement used to be the dominant feeling; now it was more like steely-eyed determination. ‘I’m going to get that Prince LP on purple vinyl even if it kills me… or someone else’. This isn’t about celebrating records and the little stores that sell them, it’s about artificially manufacturing collectables and manipulating demand. As the hype mounts I find myself leaning away in some sort of counterbalance move.

Not that I’m immune to the dream of the ultimate score. Lots of stores stockpile a few juicy albums to beef up RSD interest, a strategy that does tend to get the old fantasy-find juices flowing. But this, too, has its down side as I discovered two years ago when I almost disappeared under a scrum of rabid record hunters bursting through the Quality Records…Plus doors as they were opened at nine o’clock sharp on RSD Saturday. Why was I inside? Same reason as this Saturday just past. Mel, the affable owner of the shop, always does something a bit different on RSD, and he and son Max invited me to be ‘in-store DJ’ for a few hours. The staff dressed up, a live musician played some tasty jazz guitar and I span some tracks. All-in-all it was much closer to the festival atmosphere one imagines should attend the event.

Quality Records Plus RSD 16

Than-yoo verr’much

So despite almost being flattened by the initial wave of desperadoes last time, I promptly agreed to a return gig and started planning a playlist for the day. I even created some voice-overs which I mixed into a bespoke CD-R to play when I was taking a break. Silly, but fun.

When the day came, it was pretty crazy at the beginning, but soon settled down into a pleasant flow of customers who seemed —after initial astonishment at being engaged by staff dressed as Elvis and a live radio show— to appreciate the carnival atmosphere Mel and Co had created. And just like 2014, Nick Freer again provided an afternoon set of beautifully played jazz guitar, bringing smiles to everyone’s faces.

Quality panorama

The pink and black blob, extreme left, is your correspondent doing his DJ thing

Of course I didn’t plunder the ‘specials’ bins in advance of the doors opening. I’m much too ethical for that and am deeply offended that the possibility could even be countenanced. Actually, it took longer to get my equipment assembled and working than expected —I blame the roady— and so the vultures, sorry, collectors, got a good head start. Still, I managed to grab a couple of things, of which the George Harrison was the most interesting.

George Harrison Electronic Music

One of the elements Max and Mel wanted to include was a quiz. Given that most shoppers were pretty focussed on the task in hand —grabbing RSD ‘goodies’ or trawling the specials— I figured that any quiz would have to be passive. Recalling that Vinyl Connection chums had enjoyed the two album cover quizzes posted here, I decided on that format. Having prepared an answer sheet, I printed off two A3 copies of the quiz and placed them on the walls at Quality, using my mic-ed up DJ status to spruik the competition. Mel did his part by putting up a generous Gift Voucher as prize, adding a small frisson of excitement.

The Vinyl Connectin quiz

Now, if I know my readership at all, I reckon by the time some of you have read this sentence you’ll have identified at least half of the albums in the above image and started composing a comment requesting a better photo.

So let’s do this properly. Fanfare please.

 

The Vinyl Connection / Quality Records…Plus

2016 RSD Album Cover Quiz

 

Below are 12 CD album covers sitting on top of an LP.

Name all thirteen artists and albums.

Cover quiz RSD 2016

Of course this is not really a competition, so let’s simply report our scores (Unassisted and ‘After research’ if you wish) in the Comments section, with each respondent adding JUST ONE or TWO answers.

There is no reward other than the joy of participation.

Than-yoo verr’ much.

32 comments

  1. I see Teenage Fanclub and U2, maybe Dave Brubeck. I dunno, I’m tired.

    I don’t have a shop in my town that participates in RSD, so I didn’t get to participate. I wanted a Maiden EP for Empire Of The Clouds, and Mike tried but he got one not two.

    Maybe RSD stuff will trickle down to me later. It did last year. I was in a shop that got its RSD shipment late, so they lots of everything. Ah well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there needs to be an inoculation agains RSD. It’s become a virus.
      Hope you feel better after a nice lie down Aaron!

      Like

      1. The sleep didn’t help. I still kinda wanna get the Maiden. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh dear. Does that mean the dreaded Discogs?

          Like

  2. It has become something of a circus, and a chance for record companies to rip off the novice record buyer and music obsessives. But from where I’m at I still see it as a celebration of the local record shop. It hasn’t yet been tainted for me. There’s still enough quirky 7 inches and one off live records coming out that it keeps the releases interesting. If someone is willing to buy some crappy color variant of an album they already own, well that’s their bad decision. Gotta learn to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    At some point RSD will implode and will become a complete joke I’m sure. Sounds like it has already in some spots. So I’ll enjoy it while I can.

    That George Harrison LP looks pretty cool, btw.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My two cents worth: “Traffic: Shoot out at the Fantasy Factory” and “ELP: Brain Salad Surgery”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And we’re off to a good start! Thanks.

      Like

  4. Midnight Toker · · Reply

    my two: paul simon’s ‘graceland’ and possibly split enz’s ‘true colours’

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nice work, Mr T. I don’t imagine many would have got the underlying LP as Split Enz.

      Like

  5. Steely Dan’s Gaucho, The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Time Out, U2’s Zooropa, Yes’ The Yes Album, and Cream’s Wheels of Fire.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a generous contribution! Cheers.

      Like

      1. (keepsmealive had already alluded to U2 and Brubeck … and I cannot follow directions)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Midnight Toker · · Reply

    I know I’m only supposed to put two answers, but I’m reminded of a certain quiz that started with Keith Jarrett…bit cheeky putting DB’s cover in the mix isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Waddyamean? It was the first hit jazz album! (But you get bonus points for reading the instructions)

      Like

  7. THE STORY SO FAR…

    Traffic – Shoot out at the fantasy factory
    Yes – The Yes Album

    EL&P – Brain Salad Surgery
    U2 – Zooropa

    Steely Dan – Gaucho
    Dave Brubeck – Time Out

    Cream – Wheels of Fire
    Paul Simon – Graceland

    All sitting on top of…
    Split Enz – True Colours

    4 to go!

    Like

  8. Kate Bush – the kick inside
    Teenage Fanclub – Bandwagonesque

    I spent my RSD building a shed on my garden … I suppose you could say it’s a limited edition shed?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Only if you included some coloured vinyl and charged Mrs 1537 a bucket.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A coloured vinyl, hand-numbered shed, maybe with a free poster.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I haven’t long dropped by Mr Hubner’s place, where I mentioned that I’m pretty disengaged from the whole RSD shenanigans. I don’t really feel all that excited about the releases (the odd one takes my fancy, but I’ve not had that “I need it” moment).

    The majors muscling in and hogging pressing plants and the likes with releases that are a tad bland is the bad side of things, along with stores commenting that they lose money, feel squeezed, and can’t get the releases the asked for. That’s not cool.

    But, if the indie labels and stores are benefiting then it’s all good. Seems to be a mixed bag, though.

    As for the quiz, I can’t see any that haven’t been mentioned already. Bah.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like RSD, the early bird catches the album (cover). Next time, I’ll pay more attention to my time zones.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I know 10, didn’t recognise U2, Split Enz, don’t know the other one.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I only got three: Graceland, Gaucho, and Brain Salad Surgery. But definitely a fun quiz. More in the future, please! Oh, and happy RSD.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you liked it,SitG.

      Like

  12. douglasharr · · Reply

    Plenty of answers above- I just wanted to say cool post, and that my 22 year old son sent me a photo of what he bought on record store day….. Jethro Tull’s Too Old to Rock n Roll Too Young to Die LP, the one from the tv special remastered by the great Steven Wilson…. warms ol dad’s heart…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Douglas.
      Who’d have thought ‘Too Old’ would rejuvenate for a younger gen?! Still, a lovely Father-Son moments, to be sure.

      Like

  13. I always forget Record Store Day, but then I found 5 or so Ry Cooder albums at a yard sale so there ya go.

    Is that Saucerful of Secrets by Floyd I spy there as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Certainly is. Well spotted. (And well done on the Cooders)

      Like

  14. Well said (and true, often unfortunately) about marketing strategies taking on a life of their own.
    WHen I saw the photo, I thought, hey, I enjoyed when Bruce had a challenge like that!
    Teenage Fanclub and Yes were the two that jumped out right away, U2/Brubeck/Paul Simon following shortly after.
    I trust you’ve already sent Gene Simmons a royalty cheque for including the bandwagonesque photo?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gene Simmons? Of the Kissy tongue? Please enlighten me!

      Like

    2. Ha ha just read about Gene’s copyright of a money bag + $ in Wiki. Greedy old bastard.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I only knew 7 without help; knew I knew Saucerful of Secrets but couldn’t quite reach it – my brain kept trying to force it to be King Crimson’s Wake of Poseidon despite knowing it wasn’t.

    I’ve never done a Record Store Day and always feel a little like an outsider when it comes around each year. I have as big a desire to “own” as anybody but am not necessarily drawn to rare or unique – in some ways my music collecting is more department store than out-of-the-way antique shop maybe?

    I would have liked to catch your show there, DJ Spruik!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s easy to imagine that RSD will eventually peak and fade; hopefully to be replaced with something that actually does celebrate vinyl culture. Whatever, I enjoyed my brief return to the microphone, even the parts pimping Quality Records offers and the adjacent French Patisserie’s discounted coffee.

      Like

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