Modern big artists notably absent on ​Record Store Day - Kevin Buckle

Robert Smith from The CureRobert Smith from The Cure
Robert Smith from The Cure
Thursday saw the announcement of this year’s Record Store Day titles and as usual there are some big hitters in the list.

There are releases from Blur, Gorillaz, Pulp, Queen, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones and, of course, inevitably David Bowie and The Cure, which to avoid confusion I should say are two different releases and not some mashup of the two, though it would certainly not surprise me should that ever happen.

All these artists have vast catalogues that can be mined, but what is conspicuously missing is anything from more recent big artists who are clearly keeping anything extra they might have to themselves.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As usual, record companies and labels make the mistake of putting out releases by artists they are trying to break, when quite honestly there could not be a worse time to do so given the competition.

At Avalanche we are glad to see the Gentle Waves album on Jeepster, though it is the second album rather than the much sought after first album. Gentle Waves were, of course, an offshoot from Belle and Sebastian featuring Isobel Campbell on vocals.

This year also sees some zoetrope releases including one of Parklife by Blur and more picture discs than ever, though you have to question whether the world needs a picture disc of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.

Zoetrope releases have actually been a mainstay of the direct to customer platform Blood Records, who are regularly allowed to sell their own vinyl version of a new release.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Given the fact that record companies and labels claim to be so supportive of shops, it is hard to explain why, for instance, Blood Records were given their own limited run of ten thousand albums for the highly anticipated album by Liam Gallagher and John Squire.

Regularly selling between a few hundred and several thousand records on new release depending on the size of the band, Blood Records, who have none of the costs of a high street shop, are being used to guarantee sales counting towards the official charts.

What isn’t clear though is how many extra sales they actually generate, as keen fans would simply buy from the artist or a shop if this option wasn’t available.

There is much amusement among older record shop owners to hear about the communities that these online sellers say they have built.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Often all they have done for established artists is tap in to a fan base created long before they even existed and when they talk about their community what they are really meaning is their mailing list.

New artists are also supported, but all that does is stop any word of mouth getting into shops as dedicated fans buy online, with the benefit simply being the short term one of a high chart placing that disappears after the first week.

Shops have always built up communities of fans for bands without the cynicism of the mailing lists and exclusive releases.

To this day Avalanche still gets people in from all over the world wanting to say they have bought a Belle and Sebastian or Frightened Rabbit album in the shop.

For Avalanche, Record Store Day is a brief diversion and thankfully not something we rely on.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.