Outside of the plant issues, these seem to be the same complaints stated every year: It's too corporate, stores are too full, it doesn't support indies, etc.
It comes off to me as some labels and stores don't want to adjust to this, which they absolutely have to. Like the above poster said, they have to listen to what their patrons want and not worry about ordering every single rsd release if they believe people won't buy it. If they know RSD will push back the release of a vinyl, then plan ahead or release it after the fact.
My advice to small indies regarding RSD: don't participate
And what do you mean they absolutely have to adjust? That doesn't make any sense.
I'm not against RSD in theory, but it has been high-jacked by majors to the point that it's not even feasible for small (and in some cases mid-level) indies to participate. When you opt into an RSD release, you are obligated to distribute to shops no matter what the demand is. Saying something like "Support Independent Music!" regarding this event is a joke at this point. You're misguided if you feel that way.
"If you've got small labels who support record stores all year round saying, 'We don't like it,' that's a bad situation – very bad. Those are the guys that will go, 'Fuck you, we'll just sell our releases exclusively online.' Then stores are really in trouble."
That is a really telling quote from the article as well. When I buy records nowadays, more often than not I'm supporting indies who are small communities and one-man-shops who run all their own mailorder out of their house. Watch when smaller tier indies just say fuck it and only sell shit via BigCartel for example.
Agreed. And I rephrased that. Labels have to adjust to the demand placed on record plants. They can say they're waiting for the bubble to pop in this, but that's a fool's errand. Adjust for that demand and set your releases accordingly.
You're thinking about it completely wrong. Majors are high-jacking an entire release season, do you see that? It takes roughly 2 months for a record's completion through the printing process.
At this rate, Q2 will become obsolete for small indies unless they give into the pressure of releasing on RSD. That's bunk as hell.
The plants need to tell the majors NO or put restrictions on 1. the number of records they are allowed to press 2. the quantity they are allowed to press. This way, indies can still release a record between March-May and not be burdened by a capitalist "holiday" they do not wish to participate in
One more thing and then I'll let others chime in...
Someone brought up the point that small labels should adjust to demand by printing their records months ahead of time in order to beat the RSD rush. While that's good in theory, it's only in theory. The reality for small labels is they are running on very very slim budgets. When they put down money to press a record - which for mid-level and majors in small change - they need to be able to release those records for pre-order etc to try and make back some money asap. They can't just simple have that capital sitting on a shelf for months on end waiting for a release day.
Yeah, a lot of people seemed to have glazed over this part of the essay. It's really rough on labels like Orchid Tapes when they can't put out their comp when they planned to because plants all of a sudden shift and say they have to prioritize the major labels RSD releases. It's not as simple as just changing your schedules for releases.
I don't know what to tell you. Until some types of restrictions happen, they have to adjust. That's what comes with running a business, the ability to change when a problem arises.
I'm not saying it's right, but I don't think it's necessarily corrupt that majors flood record makers with requests with demands for RSD. It's been that way for about 5 years now and obviously continues to grow.
Sad part is a lot of plants are artist-run and they are feeding into that machine for profit vs working with the small guys who are actually adding something new and relevant to the market. They could put their foot down and say we're dividing up the releases to be proportioned between indies and majors around RSD but.....again, money talks.
I mean, the point about smaller labels not even getting access to pressing plants because of increased demand is certainly interesting. But I'd still argue that the point of the RSD specials is to give people incentive to be in the store so the store gets a boost not help the labels (which is why most of the deals are in-store things). Its not so much hurting the thing it was trying to help as just having unintended consequences.
Is it a problem? sure. But hearing the smaller labels complain about how RSD isn't helping them like its supposed to strikes me as a little misguided because as far as I'm aware it wasn't design to help them it was designed to help the stores themselves.
RSD does NOT help local stores bottom line. It may increase exposure in the short term, but the fact of the matter is, the people who support local shops will go there year round, not just on a "holiday"
The example stated earlier - about the two comparing record shops - is a fine example. Only problem is, most record stores don't have the time/overhead needed to pay an employee shift through hundreds of RSD releases to figure out which are going to make sense in their shop. It's very very rare for a shop to profit off RSD alone. You might be getting 10-fold people through the door on that given day, but your profit margin will be in the negative.
Sure. It very well could be the case that RSD doesn't accomplish what its designed to do. My point was that the supposed benefactor of the day is the stores not the labels. If its true that "Small record shops are getting hurt by RSD" then that is the real story/problem.
It literally answers your question. It could very well put stores out of business if they continue participating.
"It probably won’t put Crooked Beat out of business — but it could. When the roster of special Record Store Day releases begins trickling out each February, stores scramble to crunch their budgets and rush their wish lists off to distributors. Due to the frantic demand for a limited supply of recordings, as little as one-third of those requests might arrive in time for the big day.
And here’s the rub: Nearly every piece of vinyl is nonreturnable to those distributors. So if stores end up not getting the titles customers want, tough luck. If they get stuck with a surplus of records that nobody wants, too bad."
that sucks. Sounds like stores could manage their stock better (only do pre-orders except for a few big items) but I'm sure that would add a whole lot of additional overhead.
The problem is there's no real way to gauge demand unless customers are calling in requesting a specific release. Also, on normal consignment or distro, if something doesn't sell within say 6 months (that's usually standard) then the record shop is able to hand it back to the original seller/label without costs incurred.
Haven't read the down with majors stuff in a while -- that was a big debate about 10 years ago. Unfortunately there's a supply and demand -- majors release music we like and want. And then there's the phenomenon that as things get more popular and lose the small and cultured feeling around them -- people get bummed out. Everyone likes being part of something smaller and on the ground floor.
Know your local shops and spend your money there on what you want. If it brings you happiness, do it. If you're not into it - don't. The format is as popular as ever and there is a fun community around vinyl now -- calling it ruined or corrupted or whatever is just reductionist and probably hypocritical.
I know the post wasn't directed at me, but I never said it's ruined the spirit of RSD and the general sense of community in buying music and supporting local shops. The inner workings is what will need to be dealt with in the coming years. They can't continue to block out small label production in favor of some $50 Red Hot Shitty Peppers release of an album that came out 10 years ago. That's damaging and degrading to the entire purpose of RSD, imo.