The 2019 Record Store Day event was held on April 13th with as much or more fanfare than usual. This year marks the 12th year of the event. We will briefly explore the special vinyl album and single releases along with some other physical objects that were produced for the day. RSD is the special event that some people absolutely love while some stay as far away from it as possible. We will also take a trip back to the record store almost one week after to see how the store is during normal days.
Many vinyl special issues were announced which contained quite a few entries. To see the entire list check here. Many were the typical special reissues containing previous albums with unreleased material or records pressed on various colors of vinyl. There were several new releases by both iconic as well as new artists.
My thoughts on going to the event this year were mixed, but, of course, a dedicated music collector like me just couldn’t resist. I do like the event, so my main concern was what I would end up spending when I walked through the doors of my favorite local store Harvest Records. There were more people already in line when I arrived an hour and a half early than there were last year.
I was much closer to the front of the line then, and I arrived just 45 minutes early. The line became significantly longer as the time for the store opening approached. This crowd was definitely happy to be there for RSD and nobody seemed concerned about the wait. The people attending were of all ages, but the majority were of a younger generation than when vinyl was the king of recorded formats. Everyone’s main fear was that the special releases they wanted would already be gone by the time they got into the store. Harvest Records only allows small groups to go into the store before letting others in.
The line did continue to move forward, and finally, I was allowed into the store. Quite a few people were thumbing through the special releases; however, I did notice that several people were going through the store’s regular selections. I first went to the 7″ singles since I really wanted the Cheech and Chong release of “Up in Smoke.” However, the person behind the counter informed me that someone had already bought it. Apparently, the store had only ordered one copy. From my observances, it did appear there were more 7-inch 45 rpm records this year and the majority were by newer artists. I then began going through the exclusive RSD releases and quickly developed a massive pile of albums.
I found a couch and began totaling up how much all of these would cost. That figure ended up being somewhere around $450, so I had to do some thinning. I kept what I considered the albums from more obscure groups such as Hawkwind, ones by artists I especially like such as John Lennon (5), and what I considered a rather unique shaped single selection by Culture Club featuring Gladys Knight. (6) The single is shaped like the figure of Boy George. I put back the albums that I considered more mainstream such as R.E.M and the Rolling Stones. I reduced my total to seven selections costing somewhere around $169.
There was another reason I wanted to reduce the cost of my album purchases, and that was because of some very unique items. These included a book named “Prom Night” which is about horror film soundtracks and the most intriguing of all which was a new mini-turntable that plays 3-inch singles. Unfortunately, I did not see the cassettes released this year for Record Store Day. It is possible that they were available; however, as I have stated my wait time to get in the store was much longer than last year.
At first glance, I wasn’t sure about getting the $69 mini turntable or the book. However, as I saw more people grabbing the turntables up, I decided it was just too unique of an item to pass up. Although the book was interesting and did contain a 7-inch vinyl record, I decided to pass on it. The 3-inch record is not a brand-new idea. They were released and sold in Japan for a short time shortly before the resurgence of vinyl began in the early 2000s. When thinking of new ideas for RSD 2019, representatives of the event took a trip to the factory in Japan where these were made. The result was the RSD3 Mini Turntable by Crosley. Although some people balk at the idea of anything made by Crosley, anyone must admit that the company has been around for a very long time and has been a significant factor in the Vinyl Resurgence.
RSD3 Mini Turntable
The RSD3 Mini Turntable by Crosley includes several features as well as the 3-inch single “Big Me” by the Foo Fighters. Also released for RSD 2019 was both a 4-pack and a 6-pack of 3-inch singles by Jack White’s band The Raconteurs.
The turntable was a limited edition and was only available on Record Store Day. However, resellers bought up quite a few of them as well as the special singles. In looking at eBay, it is incredible to see the prices people are now charging for these special and incredibly unique RSD items. The prices are currently in the hundreds of dollars. People are bidding and paying these amounts as well. Luckily, I did pick up one of the turntables at Record Store Day especially after seeing so many people carrying them to the checkout line. When I picked mine up, there was only one left. I also had a 4-pack of The Raconteurs for $9.99 that I, unfortunately, decided not to buy. However, realizing I had made a mistake, I did indeed go on eBay and found one buyer who was selling them for $34. Yes, that is a big jump in price, but I did purchase a set, and when I look at the price now, I’m glad I did. Supposedly, there will be more 3-inch singles produced during 2019 and beyond. We shall see what happens with this new vinyl format.
As for the features of the RSD3 Mini Turntable, it has quite a few. It is a belt-drive turntable with a moving-magnet Audio Technica full-sized cartridge and a transparent dust cover. It has adjustable pitch control, a built-in speaker as well as an aux-out which allows the unit to be attached to a stereo system for playback through larger speakers. The box even includes an RCA cable adapter for hook up. 4AA batteries power the turntable. Although the unit has a small size and could be considered a novelty item, it is actually more powerful than you would imagine. For an excellent unboxing video as well as several images see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbSExzGwi1Q. What will the future of the mini turntable that plays 3-inch vinyl records? Only time will tell, but I am glad to have it as part of my extensive collection of audio players.
I decided that it would be interesting to take a trip back to the record store once the hype of Record Store Day was over. I returned almost a week later. For one thing, there was no line waiting to get in the store. There were several people inside looking through the everyday items though. The environment was much more relaxed. I looked through the remains of the RSD special releases. There was not much left, and nobody else was looking through them. The only album I had put back that remained was a copy of The Rolling Stones “Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits, Vol. 2)” on orange vinyl for $27.95. For a moment, I thought maybe I should buy it. However, I went over to the regular album bins, and there were two copies of the original release for $6.95. Of course, they were used, and they were on black vinyl; however, they were in excellent shape. I decided I didn’t need orange vinyl. I found it interesting to see what was left behind. Obviously, The Sylvers and Tiny Tim special releases were not big sellers.
Even though some people genuinely hate and avoid Record Store Day, I have to say that I still really enjoy going to it. It is a significant boost to our local independent record stores which is always a good thing. I’m sure that my local store, Harvest Records, made a lot of money on that day. I do believe that the day makes it possible for all of us to enjoy our record stores every other day of the year. For more on the history and everything else about Record Store Day, please see my previous articles here on Collection Connections.
2 – All other photos by Jack B. Stephens