Record Store Day celebrates vinyl

About midnight Saturday, patrons will begin to line up in Oklahoma City and Norman for the seventh annual international event known as Record Store Day. The event helps vinyl enthusiasts expand their collections while boosting sales for small businesses.
By Grace Gordon, For The Oklahoman Modified: April 17, 2014 at 8:17 pm •  Published: April 18, 2014


photo -  Guestroom Records, a record store selling vinyls, CDs and various merchandise at Western Avenue. Photo by Aliki Dyer, The Oklahoman
Guestroom Records, a record store selling vinyls, CDs and various merchandise at Western Avenue. Photo by Aliki Dyer, The Oklahoman

Round about midnight Saturday, patrons will begin to line up for the seventh annual international event known as Record Store Day.

It’s the one day a year where you can score the 12-inch reissue of Joy Division’s debut EP “An Ideal for Living,” or snag a split 7-inch between Dawes and Conor Oberst, among hundreds of other exclusive releases.

Guestroom Records is leading the charge on local festivities with a surfeit of events at its Oklahoma City and Norman locations.

It’s not just icons such as the Pixies or Tame Impala that cash in on the benefits of an international vinyl celebration. Locals are keen to get in on the action, too.

Guestroom Records orchestrates Record Store Day in-store performances to coincide with the respective releases of popular Oklahoma-based bands, including Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and Sugar Free Allstars.

“It’s easily our biggest day of the year,” Guestroom co-owner Justin Sowers said. “And we like to give Oklahoma bands exposure on Record Store Day, too.”

Vinyl revival

Other participating vinyl retailers around the country experience the same profitability on Record Store Day.

The remarkable thing about the event — other than how an obsolete format has experienced an unexpected revival in recent years — is that it exclusively benefits small businesses. There are no vinyl conglomerates, so the profit margin in this case belongs to the little guy.

The 10-year span from 2002-12 saw vinyl sales in the United States increase by 250 percent, while CD sales have declined drastically. Streaming services and digital formats have all but killed off the compact disc.

The growing success of Record Store Day and climbing vinyl sales are inexorably linked, and Guestroom serves as the perfect case study. In 2013, the stores experienced a 30 percent jump in sales on the day, up from the previous year’s 20 percent bump.

“When we started out, we sold more CDs than records,” Sowers said. “Now, it’s not even close.”

‘Cool factor’

For Sowers, the comeback of vinyl is multifaceted.

“The argument could be made that vinyl simply sounds better,” Sowers said. “Plus, there’s been a big backlash with MP3s because they seem disposable, and a lot of people prefer something tangible. Another reason is that people love collecting things. Putting together a record collection is difficult, but it’s rewarding, especially since records can appreciate in value.”

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Going on: Record Store Day

Participating stores

Guestroom Records

701 N Western Ave. in Oklahoma City and 125 E Main St. in Norman. Open at 10 a.m.

Live music in Norman

•1 p.m. John Calivn

•2 p.m. Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey

Live music In Oklahoma City

•3 p.m. Sugar Free Allstars

•4 p.m. Travis Linville

•5 p.m. Colourmusic

Size Records

8915 N Western Ave.

Charlie’s Jazz & Blues Records

5514 N Classen Blvd.

Trolley Stop Record Shop

1807 N Classen Blvd.

1960s KOMA Radio DJ, Dale Wehba, will be spinning records & giving away prizes for rock ’n’ roll trivia.

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