Words by Elizabeth Tolbert
There’s been a lot of debate recently about whether Record Store Day is more harmful or more beneficial to indie record stores. On Saturday, April 19th, I visited my local record store The End of All Music in Oxford, MS to find out for myself. I arrived at the store half an hour early to find a pretty sizable line of around 60+ music fans already forming. With more people arriving as time moved on, I considered it a great turn out for this tiny record store in northern Mississippi; an outlook owner David Swider shares. “It was the single best day we’ve had since opening in 2012,” he reveals. “It’s so awesome to see a line of folks waiting for us to open, and it’s even cooler to see those same folks come back later in the afternoon to hang out and have a beer.”
One of the main points among skeptics, however, is whether the turn out on this one day outweighs the costs of the exclusive releases. When I asked David about this later in the week, he admitted that this was a downside to Record Store Day. “There were just too many releases this year; there’s no way we can stock them all without going broke.” And he’s right, there was an incredible number of releases this year, well over 500. But stocking every single release isn’t the point of the day. David believes that its more about celebrating record stores and the communities surrounding them. It would seem that those in attendance at his shop that day, myself included, would agree.
This celebratory point of view was mirrored in the releases chosen for the event at The End of All Music, including a compilation cassette tape of several local bands. “The music scene in North Mississippi is the best its ever been. It’s unbelievable that all of this great music is being made in such a small area,” David explains. I was completely impressed by the quality of music featured on the compilation tape. I’ve lived in North Mississippi for much of my life but had no idea that there was such an abundance of talented bands in the area. This, I think, is the beauty of Record Store Day. Sure, the major labels are still the ones profiting the most from this event, but at the end of the day, Record Store Day is more about discovering and appreciating music and connecting with those who want to honor it.
Visit The End of All Music’s website to learn more.