Record Store Day (s)

The article was originally started TEN years ago in 2013. It then mainly focussed on 45s, which at that point were to be the subject of ‘Around and Around.’ It will be continually updated. It had been up several days when someone said, ‘You didn’t mention Starman from 2012 …’

Plural. Days. Thank you for the days … Covid lockdown meant two and three Record Store days to spread the crowds. Then there’s Black Friday creating a second Record Store Day.

Record Store Day started in the USA in 2007, designed to promote independent record stores. Its primary aim was not only vinyl releases, but vinyl has since become the major feature vastly outstripping CDs. It takes place on the third Saturday in April. Some stores add live music, most open early. Queues form several hours before some stores open, and stores are not supposed to take orders or pre-sell releases or put them online afterwards at higher prices. People start queuing the evening before at key stores and wait overnight.

Boiler Room Records, High Street Poole. 5 pm on Friday before Record Store Day 2023
The queue has just started … and went on all night.

Originally, there was a strong aspect of altruism from musicians and labels. Record stores were a threatened species. The concept was attracting people to independent stores, and the major chains were not allowed to participate, By the 2020s, in the UK, major chains only meant HMV and Fopp- which is a subsidiary of HMV. There was great excitement for example when Parlophone made a last minute offer of The Beatles’ Paperback Writer in a new sleeve design. The Beatles would have had no discernible profit from doing it. It was a conscious ‘support the record store’ move. I had a conversation with musicians on this around 2012. As they pointed out, you design a new sleeve, you press two thousand. The record store, distributor and label take a cut. You split the rest four ways. It is not a financially worthwhile project for established artists. You do it because you loved buying your first records from a local shop and you want to spread that enthusiasm. For me I want to capture the excitement of Bourne Radio in Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth in the 1960s. It’s still there … see Boiler Room Records, Poole above. Or Sound Knowledge, Marlborough … or your local independent.

That kind of altruism by major artists has partly disappeared. Step forward Taylor Swift bunging out a Record Store 2023 release at £59.

Wikipedia adds:

In the UK, the event has been criticised for catering to record collectors rather than casual music fans, and delaying the release of non-affiliated records by monopolizing the capacity of record pressing plants. Major labels ave been accused of hijacking the event, and the policy of shops being obliged to buy on a no-return basis has been criticised, along with many of the limited releases being re-sold online within hours, at inflated prices.

2009

This 2009 US only Sony release is basically a highly eclectic sampler of Sony material and was free if you’d spent $50.

2010

The big guns were out for the UK’s first major efforts in 2010.

Paperback Writer / Rain: The Beatles 2010 Record Store Day

Plundered My Soul: The Rolling Stones 2010  Record Store Day special edition

2011

Singles outnumber LPs for 2011.

Daft Punk’s Translucence 10″ EP is the investment. US release, not UK. It now goes for up to £200. At this point many RSD releases were released only in the USA.

Black Friday 2011

The water was getting muddied with  the Black Friday vinyl day, the day after Thanksgiving in the USA, starting in 2010. RSD sites list Black Friday as an RSD day.

This American November 2011 box of four Beatles singles turned up again as an RSD release in the April 2012 racks, and releases might not be as rare as people think.

This applies especially to The Beatles US Capitol set. UK stores had Black Friday imports, though there was no special day and most were a week or so later. It was a run of 15,700 box sets. I bought it from a shop that personally imported several (i.e. in luggage on a plane). I have seen copies in three stores since. Just after release, £40 sets were £70 on eBay. The last one I saw was back to £39.99. It has a Discogs highest price now of £42.

2012

Massinet: Meditation from Thais: Nicola Benedetti, 10″ LP Decca, 2012

By 2012, Classical entered the event- note that the Decca 10″ release in a 1930s design sleeve, states “Record Store Day 2012” on sleeve and centre label.

Early key releases, such as The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and The Clash sold out within minutes. They were limited editions. 1000 or 2000 was the sort of quantity available with supplies rationed to stores in the UK. Supply was, and still is, dependent on how much business the store has given labels over the year.

2013 button

Stores bemoan the rationing. The Beatles Black Friday box was out in the UK. A store owner who sold eight Beatles box sets in ten minutes told me he could have sold thirty sets if only he could have got them. On the other hand, a store just forty miles away had had four sets, and still had two left a fortnight later.

A lot of the material was reissues with different sleeve designs. The Beatles Paperback Writer, Paul McCartney’s Another Day, The Clash’s London Calling, Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water, T-Rex’s Telegram Sam, The Sex Pistols’ Anarchy in The UK. That doesn’t stop prices soaring on eBay. Others were remixes, such as Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues – Ting Tings Remix in 2011, others are unreleased material, like The Rolling Stones’ outtake, Plundered My Soul or Leonard Cohen’s Back in The Motherland, a two LP live radio broadcast from 1988. Billie Jean by The Civil Wars was a current album / download track that had never been on vinyl. To enhance its collectability, they are numbered. Mine is 0149, which is low.

RECORD STORE DAY 2012
Record Store Day releases: Start top left, and move clockwise: Subterranean Homesick Blues – Bob Dylan, Back in The Motherland LP – Leonard Cohen, The Beatles four US singles box set, Billie Jean – The Civil Wars, Shake Some Action – The Flamin’ Groovies, Day Tripper– The Beatles, She’s 22 (Remix) – Norah Jones, Sweet Jane – The Velvet Underground, Plundered My Soul– The Rolling Stones.

By 2012 there were four hundred Record Store Day releases.

As well as stuff that flies off the shelf the first day, there are newer items that are hanging around a couple or three months later. Most items hit their peak price in the couple of days or week after release.

The singles vary. Some are American large hole, some not. The large hole makes sense if one “limited edition” is being made worldwide, which has become the norm. No one’s giving away free ‘spiders’ that’s for sure. Ten-inch releases are getting popular … the Decca Instrumentalists classical series, A Leonard Cohen Live At Fredericton 10″ EP, White Flag by Gorillaz.

Starman

The star man is Starman picture disc by David Bowie. The single is coupled with a Top of The Pops performance. This is as far as I know the most valuable Record Store Release with a pressing of just 2000 copies. Last sold at £250. Copies are on sale at Discogs at £500 and £750. They may even get it. I haven’t got a copy. Rare Record Guide has this one, and dates it 2013. Discogs dates it 2012. Being a picture disc, I would assume most copies are mint. Unplayed.

2013

Record Store Day 2013 for me

2013 saw Record Store Day elevated further. A popular local shop, Square Records, Wimborne, opened at 8 a.m. When I drove past and stopped just before 7.30, it looked as if they’d exceeded the eighty in the queue of 2012, and I was told one guy had been in a deckchair with a Thermos for two days. When copies are strictly limited to two or three for the whole shop, being 81st isn’t a lot of point.  I kept on driving to Red Rose Records, Boscombe Arcade, where I was merely thirteenth in line half an hour before they opened. 

Enter The Flipper. That was the year when the Flipper became so apparent. The first two guys in line in Boscombe had been waiting for hours, possibly overnight. They had the shop to themselves- I think it was four allowed in the shop at a time. They bought one of everything in sight. You were limited to one copy, so between them they got two of all the remotely desirable stuff, and were on their way back out to put them on eBay in minutes. It’s lucrative. If there are two of you, and you sell immediately, that’s a decent night’s queuing paid for.

From I Want To Take You Higher 10″ EP, Sly & The family Stone

The Sly & The Family Stone release I Want To Take You Higher shows how it was going. The word ‘vinyl’ was already replacing LP, EP or single: Exclusive 10″ Vinyl. Ten inches is a popular RSD format when you don’t have enough for an LP, but a bit too much for a single. 180 gram is supposed to be a magic word. The rarities preview a forthcoming box set or an album, so though rare on the day, they won’t be rare soon. It’s numbered. Mine is 000435. Were they hoping to sell enough to use up all three zeros? (The print run was in fact 3000). There is a ‘Previously unreleased instrumental medley NOT AVAILABLE ANYWHERE ELSE!’ To me, this “TV Medley” sounds like the backing track with the vocal removed. In this case, the live 1970 Isle of Wight recordings are not special- they’re not as good as the Woodstock set anyway.

See below. Discogs highest price in 2023 is just short of £14, but copies are advertised on sale at £25 to £40 – mint, sealed. I’m even dubious about that ‘sealed.’ Music on Vinyl used a shrink wrap on this with a top fold-over you can unpeel. When I got my copy out to scan, the fold over seal looked perfectly intact, though it had been played a few times, and copied onto CDR. Recent jazz LPs at RSD have a similar fold over seal.

2013 was on a Saturday with Reading Record Fair on the next day, Sunday. The Rolling Stones EP reissue Five By Five was already being flipped at the fair. There were copies at £15 to £20, which is more than its 2023 value. Another stall owner pointed out that he had two original 1964 releases, one excellent, one near mint at £7 and £10 on sale (Discogs lists a 1964 UK original as £9 median and £35 highest in 2023) and he wondered why people were buying the reissue from the day before rather than a 1964 copy. Ten years later, a near mint 1964 would be worth more. That is guessable- there was no added content to the reissue.

2013 ABKCO reissue. It is not a replica though.

or a 1964 Decca original?

Case Study: Bowie ’65

Bowie 65: typeface and design are pure Parlophone 1965, not that this EP ever existed then.

There is only room for two to browse at any of these stores, and the first two in line in 2013 had hoovered up the gems, including both copies of the one everyone in my line wanted, Bowie 65 (Parlophone)

This was a new EP with two very expensive old singles, As and Bs, on it: Davy Jones (and The Lower Third)’s You’ve Got A Habit of Leaving (£800 for a mint 1965 one) and The Manish Boys I Pity The Fool (£900 for a mint 1965 one), so a bargain. On the other hand, EMI had released the same EP in 1979 and again in 1982, and See For Miles reissued it in 1985 and 1990:

Not RSD:

Rare Record Guide rates the earlier EMI excursion at £20 mint, but Discogs ‘highest’ sale is £40. Back in 2013, it seemed a bargain. Most importantly it had a 1965 Parlophone EP centre label, not that it was ever an EP back then, and the sleeve complete with EMITEX advert looks vintage Parlophone 1965.

I decided to track offers. When I got home at 9.45 copies were already on eBay at £66. By 1.30, they’d hit £130.

They’d cooled by 3.30, as so many went up for sale. On Sunday, it was down to £29 for a sealed copy. I think the seller could have removed the £6.99 sticker though.

Limited editions? Coloured vinyl?

A growing feature was the ‘Limited edition / numbered copies’ tag. Numbered copies date back to The Beatles The Beatles (aka The White Album). 3,200,000 double LP sets were numbered before they stopped … though 4,000,000 world sales were achieved soon after release. A website dedicated to the album says that # 3116706 is the highest number they have found. Even the CD issue was numbered.  And low numbers determiner the value. There were twelve copies of #1 as souvenirs, and twelve with the number 2,000,000 to commemorate the sale of that many. Very low numbers go for £10,000 upwards.

Now take that forward to Record Store Day 2013. Is Willie Nelson’s Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die worth more because my copy has # 5220 on the reverse? I doubt it. Compare books. Folio Society’s “collectable” editions at high “limited edition” prices had print runs of 40,000.

2014

Record Store Day 2014 – my purchases

The Singles Box Set:

Singles box sets are a favourite. I bought this a couple of weeks after RSD. I was in a famous London store and had already bought several items, then I saw it. I think it was £59.99. I asked to look at it, but said I couldn’t afford it. The woman in the shop said how sad it was that most of the ones sold would remain forever sealed. I agreed. She said, ‘Would you break the seal and play the singles?’ ‘Absolutely,’ I replied
‘Then as we have just one left, you can have it for £50,’ she said. This is it. Unsealed and played. Current discogs highest value £140.

The Creation singles box set, released the same year, is virtually as desirable.

Rhino Side-By-Side

Rhino did a Side-By-Side series, pairing two versions of great tracks, like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin’s Respect, and the MC5’s Kick Out The Jams coupled with Afrika Bambaata’s 1985 version. The records are coloured vinyl, sold in transparent sleeves and feature a facsimile of the original labels for each side. They did one or two every Record Store day. I love them.

The vinyl colour pairs the sides.

Rhino Side-By-Side put out a release in a black sleeve with just a ? mark for the daring to buy. It’s Iko Iko in three versions, by The Grateful Dead, Dr John and The Dixie Cups. On the Tuesday afterwards, I was curious to see what was left over. They had four copies of Iko Iko left. Out of five they’d bought. Only one guy was foolhardy enough to buy it, they said. Yes, that was me.

The other left-overs in two stores were both Hawkwind singles.

2015

The international nature of the day, one issue worldwide, favours large centre holes on 45s.

Record Store Day 2015 … got to my chosen shop at ten past eight and queued for 20 minutes. I got most stuff on my wants list, with For What’s Its Worth by Art (i.e. Spooky Tooth) at the top of the list. I’ve got an original single but it’s hissy and crackly.

I bought the Art single in Christchurch, Dorset (The Vault, now Castle Records). They flew off the shelf there. A couple of weeks later, I was in London and a store had half a dozen of them. I asked. They hadn’t sold any. There is an ongoing regional difference.

(2015 posted by me on Facebook: For our North Americans, reading this on the iPhone waiting for the store to open, do not have a panic attack about finding the Bob Dylan single … I checked out a second shop on the way home at 10 am. Both shops had over a dozen copies left. it’s not actually “limited” and if it’s like the limited edition Wigwam 45 you’ll be able to get it any time.)

Frank Wilson’s then $25,000 single on Motown, Do I Love You, gets a facsimile Record Store Day release at £9.99. Well, not quite facsimile, since the three known original copies are all autographed by Frank Wilson. (FOLLOW LINK) Also, this one is twinned with the Chris Clark version of the song on the B-side. The $25,000 copy was resold for $100,000.

Another week, and just about all the records in the collage were available in Sound Knowledge in Marlborough (and many others).

However the promises of free downloads with the vinyl (Introducing Shuggie Otis on Sony Legacy / Epic) do not materialise if you are outside the USA.

RECORD STORE DAY 2015 FOR ME

The one that got away in 2015 … neither shop had been able to get even one copy … is Family’s first single (on Liberty) Scene Through The Eye of A Lens (1967 Liberty original is £200 in Rare Record Guide). I found it a couple of months later elsewhere. My favourite purchase was 2 LPs … The Animals Live in 1964 and Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames Live in 1964.

2016

I was nearly tempted by this picture disc but resisted. I already have a red vinyl reissue. Film soundtracks are a RSD area to explore. These are in short runs. You rarely see more than one in a store.

2017

Picture Disc day?

Fawlty Towers Demon LP, two episodes (I’d prefer a DVD of both series for the same price)
Africa / Rosanna Toto, CBS 45 rpm shaped picture disc
Without You I’m Nothing: Placebo featuring David Bowie, V12 picture disc

The range is great, compilations, live, reissues, classical.

Physche France 1960-1970 Vol. 3
Live From York Minster: Laura Marling 2017

The Laura Marling has easily doubled or tripled its price.

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown: Esoteric (Cherry Red) LP, 2017, yellow splatter disc.

I have the original Track Record LP from 1968. Discogs median £23, highest £55. I saw them live at the time too. The reissue is priced at Discogs median £30, highest £62, so more than the original LP. It is stereo, where nearly every original is mono. I also suspect that nearly every original is in very far from mint condition.

Back story

Now here is an important Record Store Day criterion. Back story and a first issue of the recording. Why was this record lost / abandoned by its creators / never released? What’s the story?

This is the kind of rarity that draws attention. The Mstislav Rostropovich recording of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No 2 is a Russian recording, reissued by Warner Classics in an edition of 3000 copies. It’s a silvery picture disc too, The thing is, I don’t see many classical collectors on Record Store Day because there are usually so few items of interest for them … and the majority of independent shops barely cater for them. This is fascinating. I wish I had it.

‘Bone music’ and ‘rock on ribs’ are two other terms that describe 1960s Russian bootleg recordings of music from the West, ingeniously cut onto X-ray film discarded by hospitals. This Record Store Day release bears an X-ray image of a spine and pelvis – with a 1966 recording that has its own underground history. When the great cellist Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007) was exiled from the USSR in the 1970s, a resourceful Soviet archivist saved the original tape from destruction by hiding it in a mislabeled box. It is Rostropovich’s world-premiere performance of the Cello Concerto No. 2 by his teacher and mentor Dmitri Shostakovich, recorded live in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire with the USSR State Symphony Orchestra under Evgeny Svetlanov, on the composer’s 60th birthday. This is its first ever release on LP, in a numbered, limited-edition pressing of 3,000.
Discogs

2018

Record Store 2018: My finds

These are both ‘lost albums’ re-assembled from surviving tapes. This is another popular RSD format. They are more examples of having a Back Story (legend?)

Special 45 single picture discs. The ABBA Summer Night City was definitely one to buy.

2019

The 2019 Record Store day Rolling Stones release was a live She’s A Rainbow on a 10” single. You needed a magnifying glass to find out whether it was 45 rpm or 33 rpm, (it’s 45 rpm) and it only had the one side on yellow vinyl. £10.99. It had to be a live version because the original from Their Satanic Majesties Requests was an ABKCO copyright.

Just pre-Covid, and the price rises were getting clearer. The original altruism of supporting stores were replaced with focus on actually making money for the label.

Coloured vinyl was becoming ubiquitous, in this case ‘marbled red vinyl.’

Soundtracks, obscure jazz and classical were appearing in increasing numbers. The numbered edition was increasing, particularly on limited runs, such as Max Richter’s La Primea Linea.

The 10″ EP is a popular RSD format. Weirdly some play at 33 rpm, which eliminates the virtue of the extra space afforded by 10″ rather than 7″. Not only that but Island’s Jessie Buckley 10″ EP is just a few millimetres too large to fit in a 10″ polythene protective sleeve.

2020

Record Store Day 2020 was scheduled to take place on April 18, but was postponed to June 20 because of the pandemic. Then it was postponed again,  and rescheduled to spread across three dates called RSD Drops: August 29, September 26, and October 24. A fourth date, RSD Black Friday, occurred on November 27. 

We move from marbled vinyl to splatter vinyl.

We were in Lockdown. This was a Black Friday release (sticker top right), and in the UK. In the USA, Black Friday bridges Thanksgiving on Thursday and the weekend, so it never had any purpose in the UK. Now we have ‘Black Friday Weeks’ on stores in the UK. Black Friday releases started filtering in. Under Lockdown it became official to spread Record Store Day over more separate less-crowded events.

2021

Record Store Day 2021 took place, again titled as RSD Drops, across two dates: June 12 and July 17.

This is a double album of early 60s Cameo-Parkway Dance Craze hits. I bought this copy a couple of months after RSD 2021 for £10- a sealed double album. I thought it was an incredible bargain. See the table below. It was.

2022

Sound Knowledge Marlborough RSD 2022 logo

Roger Dean artwork, plus a 10″ single? Then add a reissued LP of XXX as a picture disc. Asia ; 2022. The single is a fortieth anniversary release.

David Bowie is a mainstay. EPs for Record Store Day 2022.

I bought this 2022 double LP Miles Davis Live: What It Is, Montreal 7/7/83 release early in 2023. The store had one at full price, but then in the “Sale” box there were two at £12 each, sealed. I asked. Yes, one was being kept for stock and staying at full price, while the two excess copies had gone at a heavy discount.

2023

250 independent stores participated in the UK.

2023 Record Store Day carrier bag for LPs

2023. The difference between stores still holds. We did not queue. We were in Cheltenham overnight, and had plans to goto Tintern Abbey the next day. I said I’d wait and see what was left. The drive back to Poole took us through Marlborough, and we stopped at 2 pm. I went to Sound Knowledge. I immediately found the David Bowie box set of singles, Laughing with Liza. It was one of five boxes still left. In Poole, with the same allocation, they’d all gone before lunchtime.

Laughing with Liza Box Set

Laughing with Liza: David Bowie singles box set, Decca 2023

The pitch, as with Bowie ’65, is the price of an original single, in the case of Liza Jane by Davie Jones & The King Bees, £2000 according to Rare Record Guide 2024. Or £4000 median price on Discogs (I round up £3,999.99) or Highest price £5000. Discogs is actual sales, not theoretical.

The A side reproduces a European sleeve with autographs, the B-side reproduces the original Vocalion 1964 single.

Still in that box set. An original 1967 The Laughing Gnome? Discogs Median £52. Highest £125. Then the identical 1973 re-release is just £2.15 median. I paid £1 for mine.

A 1967 Love You Till Tuesday on Deram is Median £350, Highest £625. This is why you say, £72 for five singles? Great. But they aren’t original singles, are they? A few days after Record Store Day, Discogs was showing the box set at Median £69.99 (The new price in some shops) and Highest £87.

2023 cont.

A known factor is that labels “find” more copies of records that sell fast on Record Store Day. A store owner was laughing when he said you always got a phone call a couple of days later, ‘We’ve just found another box of that record if you want some.‘ Found another box? Yeah, right. Not so limited a limited edition.

In the last five years, the altruism by artists has gone out of the window. Prices now often exceed normal LP prices. It’s limited. It will be on coloured vinyl, which costs more. Really? Splatter definitely costs more because they pay per ink colour. Double LPs suddenly cost the price of two LPs … only one point of sale, one item to transport, one sleeve (albeit a gatefold one).

The Rolling Stones have been particular Record Store Day graspers- one sided singles at very high prices. But they do the same with box sets. No extras, high prices for a new version. Having said that, a new Beggar’s Banquet for £32 is worth it for replacing a worn copy. An “excellent” original copy was on the wall of another shop at £120 the same day.

Record Store Day 2023: Marlborough & Poole

Paul McCartney chose the Audiophile pressing route to re-selling old albums, rather than the bonus track or fancy vinyl route. 2023 was Red Rose Speedway by Wings, which has been issued many times and is not hard to find but the 2023 version is Half-speed mastered.

It says:
Vinyl cut by Miles Showell at half speed using high-resolution transfer of the original 1973 master tapes at Abbey Road Studios, London. This half-speed master closely references the 2018 remaster by Alex Wharton and Steve Orchard. It was made as a vinyl specific transfer in high resolution and without digital peak limiting for the best possible reproduction.

Black Sabbath continue reissues with splatter vinyl:

Carole King issued The Legendary Demos ticking another RSD box: demos. Plus ivory clear vinyl.

There’s a category represented here by Bert Jansch. In the dark ages, the nuclear winter of vinyl, between say 1988 and 2010, many albums were CD only releases. Now some are finding their way onto vinyl. When The Circus Comes To Town was 1995. Toy Balloon was 1998. These are the first vinyl releases:

In the week containing RSD 2023 in the USA, 1,800,000 vinyl LPs were sold by independent stores.

Bob Dylan & Record Store Day

Bob Dylan has been especially active in Record Store Day and Black Friday 7” vinyl releases. 2016’s release previewed songs from the imminent Fallen Angels set so was “unreleased … but will be released in a month’s time.” It was done up as a Japanese tour special release, but a lot went in the USA and Europe as Record Store day specials.

Note that every one has a different centre label design, usually in a retro style. Bob knows about collecting. Often these RSD releases promote a new Bootleg Series box set. However, look at the table under Price and Value below. They have not accumulated extra value. Mostly they’re selling for less than they cost, and mint or near mint. That’s a shame for a Dylan completist like me, who had to get them all. The Avener Rework of Masters of War is one of the worst things anyone has ever done to a Dylan track.

Subterranean Homesick Blues (Ting Tings Remix), 2011 Record Store Day. Flowers design like 1967 single centres. One sided. Yes, one sided.

Dusquene Whistle, 2012. Black Friday US issue, subsequently sold in the UK

Wigwam (Unreleased Demo) Record Store Day 2013

The Night We Called It A Day: Bob Dylan, Record Store Day 2015

Like A Rolling Stone (Alt Version: Take 11): Bob Dylan, November 2015, Black Friday

Melancholy Mood (EP): Bob Dylan, Record Store Day 2016
Melancholy Mood centre, perpetuates tale that it’s a Japanese Tour special edition

Masters of War (The Avener): Bob Dylan Record Store Day 2018

Jokerman / I and I: 12″ 33 rpm EP. Record Store Day 2021

Price and value

Note that in 1966, an LP cost 32/6d. That’s £1.62. I was paid £10.10s.0d a week working in a gap year job in a museum. Friends on a ‘career path’ starting in banks were on less than me, though I suppose they were polishing the seats of their trousers while I was wearing a dust coat and polishing brass handrails – i was paid the same as the middle-aged attendants. It still took me one and a half days to earn the price of an LP. This is why EPs were historically more important in Europe than the USA.

Look up an inflation tracker online. £1.62 in 1966 is £28 now, so the price of the average Record Store Day 2023 record (well, £27 to £32 … the extra £4 being for the limited and colour vinyl). It won’t take many buyers one and a half days to earn £28 either.

There is horrendous pricing by the likes of Taylor Swift … £59 for her Long Ponds Sessions double album. To add insult to injury, it then became the first Record Store Day release to enter the Billboard chart immediately, debuting at #3. 75,000 were pressed for the USA alone, so the words ‘limited edition’ have been stretched.

According to Variety many Record Store Day exclusives have a US pressing run of 10,000 copies. The next after Taylor Swift was Pearl Jam’s Give Way a live album with an initial RSD pressing of 15,500 copies.

CDs have virtually gone from Record Store Day. Just a week before I bought Keep Your Courage by Natalie Merchant. The CD was £10.99, the LP was a swingeing £39. I’m not a vinyl snob. I bought the CD. There’s no justification for that price differential.

It’s also amusing to see that the added value advertised on an LP is the Obi strip under the shrink wrap. An Obi strip is a translation strip used in Japan, so the sign of an elite Japanese pressing. Otherwise it’s a bit of paper.

The emergence of the Super De Luxe Box Set (Beatles, Beach Boys, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Steve Miller Band, Frank Zappa and all the rest) has taken some of the steam out of Record Store Day. These artists are not dependent on a particular day. Newer bands are much keener on the promotion and sales opportunities.

Keeping value? Rare Record Guide has taken an attitude to RSD. I just can’t find most stuff listed after 2012. This may be policy. The selection below is personal- I’m not buying newer stuff so I miss out on some of the recent bands. I’m rounding Discogs prices to the nearest pound.

These are nearly all reissues of classic records.

The Smiths The Queen is Dead is interesting in that the 2011 Record Store Day reissue is worth more than a 1986 12″ original (£25 mint, Rare Record Guide) or the 1993 10″ re-issue (£30). Rare Record Guide doesn’t list it but Discogs does, and these are unlikely to be ‘mint.’

The copy of Aretha Franklin’s Respect with the London Philharmonic Orchestra is 2017. I bought it in the USA, and because of the number of stickers, I slit the shrink wrap carefully but left it intact, so it’s one with the original price sticker: $7.99.

LPs are in bold … obviously the original price was higher.

As with anything that’s sold as “collectible” these will invariably be around Near Mint condition and are often sealed, so mint. If sealed, an intact Record Store Day sticker is desirable.

artisttitleRSD
Year
Rare
Rec
Guide
Discogs
median
2023
Discogs
high
2023
VariousRecord Store Day 2009 Edition (LP)2009/£2£8
The BeatlesPaperback Writer / Rain2010£40£11£40
The Rolling StonesPlundered My Soul2010£10£8£11
The SmithsThe Queen Is Dead (10″ LP)2011/£35£60
Daft PunkTranslucence 10″ EP2011/£79£200
Bob DylanSubterranean Homesick Blues
(Ting Tings Remix)
2011£10£21
Velvet UndergroundSweet Jane2012 £8£31£48
David BowieStarman (picture disc)2012£150£200£250
The Civil WarsBillie Jean (numbered)2012 / £9£13
Otis Redding / Aretha FranklinRespect2012/£11£15
The Flamin’ GrooviesShake Some Action2012/£17£25
Bob DylanDusquene Whistle2012/£6£9
ColdplayUp With The Birds2012/£22£35
David BowieBowie 65! (EP)2013 / £22£32
Sly & The Family StoneI Want To Take You Higher! (10″)2013/£6£14
Davy Graham, Alexis Korner3/4 AD2013 /£15 £23
Shuggie OtisIntroducing Shuggie Otis (LP)2013/£18£23
Bob DylanWigwam2013/£5£11
The Rolling StonesFive by Five (EP)2013/£8£12
ColdplayMidnight2014/£5£10
The Action Singles Box Set2014/£80£140
The CreationSingles Box Set2014/£79£100
ArtWhat’s That Sound (For What It’s Worth)
45 / picture sleeve
2015 /£4£9
FamilyScene Through The Eye of A Lens2015 /£25£40
Frank Wilson / Chris ClarkDo I Love You (Indeed I Do)2015/£38£50
Bob DylanThe Night We Called It A Day2015/£4£9
Martin Simpson, Andy Cutting, Nancy KerrGreen Onions2016 / £5 £6
Placebo + David BowieWithout You I’m Nothing
picture disc
2017/£34£44
Aretha Franklin & Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra
Respect2017 / £7 £23
The Crazy World of Arthur BrownThe Crazy World of Arthur Brown LP2017/£31£62
Laura MarlingLive From York Minster LP2017/£32£60
Shirley CollinsShirley Sings Irish (EP)2017/£6£7
Mstislav RostropovichShostakovich Cello Concerto
No 2 (LP)
2017/£22£35
Bobbie GentryLive at the BBC (LP)2018/£22£42
Bob DylanMasters of War (Avener Rework)2018/£4£12
The NazzFungo Bat Acetates (2 LP)2018/£16£40
ABBASummer Night City2018£51£74
U2Lights of Home (picture disc)2018£10£18
BeverleyWhere The Good Times Are2018/£20£25
Otis Redding / Booker T & The MGsCaptured Live at Monterey2019/£52£80
The Rolling StonesShe’s A Rainbow 10″ single2019/£10£16
Nancy Sinatra & Lee HazlewoodSome Velvet Morning2020/£11£18
Various ArtistsYou Can’t Sit Down (2 LP)2021/£16£31
David BowieThe Next Day Extra (EP)2022/£10£20

Conclusion? A lot of stuff stays around what it cost. Some drops a bit. Some go up well (See ABBA Summer Night City or Translucence by Daft Punk, Starman by David Bowie) As ever, buy it if you want to hear it. Buy it even if you love the sleeve. Some will be an investment. Most won’t be.

A finishing story

As above, we were in Cheltenham the Friday before Record Store Day, 2023. In the afternoon, I went to the Vinyl Vault secondhand store, and my wife checked out Oxfam Books & Music over the road. We met back in Oxfam. They had a couple of LPs on the wall, but that’s all.
‘I thought it was books and music,’ I said, ‘There’s almost no music.’
‘It is, books and music’ replied the man, ‘But we’ve put them all away in the back room. It’s Record Day tomorrow, so we’re not allowed to sell any records until we open in the morning. That table’s for them. I’m afraid we can’t let anyone see them now.’
‘You mean Record STORE Day,’ I explained, ‘That only applies to shops selling new records, not secondhand ones.’
“No, it’s all shops selling records,’ he affirmed.

What do you say? I decided my time was too valuable to get into a discussion. Perhaps someone had decided that Record Store Day would see enthusiasts in town, and they might well come that way to check out the excellent Vinyl Vault (which does not sell new records), and then look in Oxfam. So it would make some sense to put records at the front of the store. However, it is hard to see what authority they thought would not ‘allow’ them to sell records the day before.

COMMENTS are welcome below. If you have points to add (including prices) please do. I may incorporate some above.

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