Coming Around Again
The 11th Record Store Day Will Be Totally Groovy

By Lee Valentine Smith

For the 2018 celebration of Record Store Day, indie and major labels and participating record stores are going all out to mark the occasion. Locally, a number of the city's best indie retailers are joining in the festivities with live music, prizes and social bonding galore.

The three locations of the Atlanta branch of CD Warehouse are readying their stores for the annual pilgrimage of music lovers. Overnight before the fun begins at 10 a.m. on the 21st, they'll beef up their shelves with a healthy selection from the over 500 available new releases. Previews of the diverse slate of offerings is available at recordstoreday.com.

INsite spoke with owner David Kirk at the Duluth CD Warehouse as he finalized his orders for the event.

Can you give us a bit of history of CD Warehouse?

CD Warehouse is a corporation out of Oklahoma and back in the '90s, they bought out a couple of other corporations and eventually had over 300 stores worldwide, including France.

And locally?

We opened our first store in '94 and then we grew to include five stores in the area. Now we're down to three locations: the one here in Duluth and Roswell and Kennesaw.

Initially it was a dedicated CD store.

Yeah, back in the day it was all CDs. Used CDs were flying out of here. Everybody wanted to convert their collections over to disc. Then we got into DVDs and that morphed into Blu-Ray and then vinyl. Whatever format is out there selling, we're here chasing.

The vinyl inclusion was a gradual process, right?

Yeah it began when vinyl started coming back. Well it never really went away but artists weren't all doing vinyl releases. Some did, though. I think Pearl Jam kept going with vinyl. Then we started buying and selling it.

Right, Bob Dylan was a big proponent of vinyl, too. A lot of the heritage artists carried on the march for vinyl.

Around 12 years or so ago, vinyl really started coming back. And then Record Store Day started 11 years ago.

The Record Store Day movement really revived interest in collectible records and promotional goodies.

It really did. It got people interested in all these new releases, many specifically tied to the Record Store Day promotion.

The Day has definite ties to the Atlanta music scene.

Yeah, Eric Levin down at Criminal Records in Little Five Points was one of the main guys in the formation of the event. It's grown every year and the releases are just getting better and better. It has really brought a lot of attention to the small business who specialize in recorded music and entertainment. And they do stuff all year round, not just the one day.

That's good because the market is changing even as we speak. Stores are rethinking their inventory.

Right, Best Buy and Target are getting rid of their CDs. I think that actually helps people find us. It's really changing. Best Buy, for example, will stop selling CDs in June but they will still sell vinyl.

There's a definite market for vinyl - obviously for hardcore collectors but now even pedestrian listeners are picking up on the trend.

All these deluxe packages are great for collectors and there's also a trend for people to get in line and buy some of the limited-edition stuff and then flip it online. Sometimes you'll see the titles pop up on eBay that same afternoon.

How do you discourage that practice so real fans can purchase the releases?

We only sell one copy of any particular title to each customer. So they can't come in and grab all the David Bowies, for example, and take them home to resell.

Good idea because reselling the product is the direct opposite of what Record Store Day is all about. It's an in-the-moment event - part impulse buy and part communal experience.

It's cool because you can look at the titles online, see pictures of the covers and the track listings and there's often some special colored vinyl or inserts with each one. Glow-in-the-dark vinyl or multi-colored pressings to make each one unique.

It's turned into a competition of labels of who can make the most unique package.

Yeah, Jack White got into that where he had a hologram, a hidden track under the label, all kinds of special features. There's about 500 releases for Record Store Day and they are all competing for everyone's interest and that's good for everyone.

How do you select which titles you will have available in the store?

You can order as much as you want, but sometimes you might not get certain titles because some are so limited. A few of them are around 400 copies worldwide, so it just depends on what you get. We have a list and we'll let the employees check off what seems interesting to them, then we have to estimate how many copies we need to order. We have fourteen days to order and we also go by what customers are already asking for. That's the great thing about having all the info online is that people start to get excited about some of them.

With the limited amount of product available, it creates a definite social atmosphere on the morning of the event.

It really does. We'll have a waiting line. Last year the first person in line got here at 3:30 in the morning and we don't open until 10. I'll usually come in by 8. We had a radio station here last year and they dropped off donuts and coffee for the people in line.

It's like the old days of camping out in front of a record store to buy concert tickets. It was a ritual.

Yeah, I used to get in line for Springsteen tickets. You'd bring something to sit on, some snacks or whatever. You'd freeze to death, but you'd finally get your tickets. For Record Store Day, people in line start talking about music and which releases they want to get. People can make friends based on the music they like. It's just a lot of fun for all of us. Lately, pretty much every other customer that comes in are talking about Record Store Day.

Record Store Day is April 21. For more information, visit recordstoreday.com.

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