The line inside Luna Music on Record Store Day.
A couple of Saturdays ago I went to my first Record Store Day. It was hard to plan for an event which I had never been to, and Googling wasn’t much help. So I decided the smart plan would be to head down at store opening (8:00am, which is really early on a Saturday). I decided to go to Luna Music in Midtown Indianapolis after checking out their Record Store Day event on Facebook.
Arriving at Luna
I ended up arriving in Midtown at about 7:40am. And the line at Luna was already extending down the block. There were college kids in front of me and high school kids behind me. I started getting a very “I’m to old for this shit” feeling. (As Leslie from StationNerdy tweeted me, “Oh no! Youths!!”)
The doors opened a little early and we started making our way in. When we got in the doors however, the line wrapped around the store several times. This was both good and bad. Good because it gave you a chance to look at everything. Bad because that’s a crazy long line.
Even though the line was long, it was set up well (meaning even a small record store in Indianapolis manages crowds better than Fandom Fest). There were employees easily reachable at most times, and a big notepad showing what was sold out. And since the line snaked up and down each aisle you got to look at everything the store had to offer. My favorite purchase from the day was something I wouldn’t have thought to pick up if I hadn’t been combing through each rack of records as I went. But because I was, I found one of the limited (run of 3,000 according to the sticker on the front) deluxe editions of Danse Macabre by The Faint. I also picked up a handful of other records that were on my “want list.”
While everyone was kind of quiet at first (it was early) as the day went on it got more festive. People were talking about what they were hoping to get, and what they had, and how long they had been collecting. There were some people getting snarky about bands they didn’t like on the list, which is completely unnecessary. Plus, if people buy the ones you don’t want they aren’t buying the ones you do want.
The Luna employees were amazing they were in a good mood, friendly, and didn’t seem as worn out as you knew they were. These lines were crazier than any of the Black Friday lines I dealt with when I worked retail. I can’t wait to check out this store when it’s calmer.
My Thoughts on Record Store Day
Record Store Day is a cool event, that like most celebrations of hobbies, brings people with a passion for something together to celebrate. And I understand the appeal of exclusives, but I’m not sure I like the way it works as of now.
I don’t love that I’ve missed the opportunity to get REM Unplugged on vinyl (it will be on CD on May 20th). I would rather see Record Store Day releases be special colors or sleeves (and yes I’d wake up early for something like that if a band I love was featured). Or maybe the record comes with a bonus that day only (like the album on CD instead of an MP3 download). But this was the seventh year for Record Store Day, so maybe my ideas are just off.
Record Store Day Tips
After going through my first Record Store Day, I know what to expect for next year and will have a different approach. Here’s what I’ll be keeping in mind for next year:
- Make a List: At my local store everything was behind the counter. Meaning you had to know what you wanted. I was expecting it to be more like Free Comic Book Day, where copies are in a certain area and you can walk by and browse. I ended up making my list while I was in line. Next year I’ll be prepared.
- Have a Budget: Record Store Day is like Vegas. You’re taking a gamble that you’ll be able to get what you stood in line for hours for. You’ll also see other things you want. Set a budget and stick to it.
- Proper Footwear: I had assumed that lines would be long so I made sure to make a good shoe choice. If you don’t, you’re going to have a bad time.
- Only Go Early if You Have To: Unless you’re super collector, or there’s something you must have, don’t go early. I spent 2 hours in line, and by the time I was through I was tired and ready to go home. So I missed the festivities. Next year I’ll show up closer to noon.
Oh and if you were wondering I did get the big two albums on my list, Death Cab for Cutie with the Magik*Magik Orchestra and Vitamin String Quartet playing Pinkerton. I would have loved R.E.M and Cake but I knew they weren’t going to happen. I also decided not to start my journey into 7″ (so many good 7″ records on the list though), because I know I’m not super likely to listen to them often.