I was approached by EMI a few months ago re the Record Store day and was told they would be releasing the 12 inch coloured vinyl of "Grendel" with Reading Festival 83 and the fair Deal demo version across the 2 sides. I asked if I could sell it through my mail order system and was told I couldn't as it was only for sale through records stores.
I commented that most of the indy stores these days had rather extensive mail order operations all on line and most through the Amazon portal. I'd discovered during my minor battle at the beginning of last year with the "pirated" "Internal Exile" and "Songs From the Mirror " CD's that most of these indy shops were basically shop fronts for back room on line stores and I found a lot of them on Amazon selling my products for ridiculous mark ups implying they were rarities and collectibles.
I was told by EMI that the stores would not be able to sell the "Grendel" vinyl online until the following week after the Record Store day "if they had any stock left".
I voiced my concerns and had to draw EMI's attention to Amazon about 3 weeks ago when "Grendel" was being offered as a pre order at around £14 or so. It was subsequently withdrawn as a pre sale and put up as a "register your interest" release.
It is today already on sale from indy stores through Amazon for over £14, on EBay around £50 and at various other prices in between on various sites.
More fan exploitation which could have been avoided by creating an even playing field at the start. Of course no one has to buy this product as is always the name of the game but for those that do want it they have been forced into a very narrow and expensive market if they couldn't get to an indy store near them today to physically buy it. And where are the stores? Nearest to me is Edinburgh! 14 miles away!
I believe that the Record Store day has turned into a marketing opportunity for major corporates who appear to have commandeered the event and are using nostalgia as a tool.
Maybe it's a guilt trip? If the majors hadn't given the huge discounts to chain stores in the late 80's onward or given those same discounts to the indies then we probably wouldn't have this dearth of high street record stores. Those discounts drove the indies out of business, the chain stores then insisted on more discounts and more "extras" got rich and more greedy as they were the only players left on the high street and one by one they vanished leaving Tescos and Asda etc as the online stores took their place.
I still go into second hand record stores to search for vinyl and rare cd's and I miss the physical browsing but the Record Store day idea has just been kidnapped and twisted into yet another marketing exercise.
There are some great indy stores out there who adhere to old fashioned values and who I am sure will not be taking cynical advantage of this occasion by selling "limited edition" releases at highly inflated prices online. But there will be a lot that are!
Everybody has the right to earn a living and I don't object to that by any means but selling an item at twice it's value as an indy store and nearly 5 times it's retail value privately only hours after the event closed sticks in my craw.
This is only a short snap of what I think about this having been in charge of a record company dealing with distribution to stores in the 90's , an artist working with them in the heydays and dealing with the corporate chains as both as the roof fell in.
Bottom line is that as an artist I release a main title ie a studio album every couple of years on average.
Stores deal with 100's a month, they mostly have "sale or return" and to them it's just another title that when the furore of release dies down becomes just another back catalogue piece.
For artists titles are always active and form the basic means of making a living from a career in what's left of the music industry.
If you have a choice between buying off a third party in any form or buying direct from the artist please choose the latter no matter who or what band you choose to follow or listen to.
Most artists have on line merch stores these days as we had to adjust as well to survive with little help from anyone apart from dedicated fans.
When they have an independent artists day I will crow from the roof and support that day to the hilt.
And just to finish with
On a basic sale of that "Grendel" 12 inch Mark, Steve, Pete, Mick and I will be earning less than 18p each in record royalties !