Issue 74

Monthly newspaper and online publication targeting 18 to 35 year olds. The ultimate guide to the hottest parties, going out and having fun. Music, fashion, film, travel, festivals, technology, comedy, and parties! London, Barcelona, Miami and Ibiza.

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8 Issue 74 / 2015 GUESTLIST This April 18th marks the eighth annual celebration of the UK's independent music sector, but is Record Store Day really all rosy? Record Store Day began back in 2007 when independent music stores in the US decided to make a celebration out of their unique culture. The UK has adopted the tradition, and increasingly artists have got involved, and RSD sees a raft of exclusive vinyl and CD releases, and special artist appearances and performances. There will be hundreds of special releases this year from A$AP Rocky to U2 and virtually everyone in between. It's widely regarded that RSD is a good thing for the independent music sector; Universal Music's sales manager Marc Fayd'Herbe has gone so far as to call it "the single best thing that has ever happened" for record shops. It's beyond doubt that independent record shops deserve our business and should be celebrated as an integral part of the music scene in this country. If RSD helps them survive, we're all for it. However, Record Store Day isn't simply a riotous festival of independent music, and questions have been raised over the impact that actually has on these stores. Namely, does it only boost sales for struggling retailers for one day? Obviously getting people into the stores is important, but one busy day may not be enough to sustain a shop for an entire year. There are and will be people who make a big show about shelling out for an exclusive item, satisfied that they've done their bit to support the industry, and although many are dedicated to buying music in independent stores, many will also go back to buying online, at much lower prices. And speaking of online shopping, some exclusive releases and products created for RSD have already begun appearing on eBay, and will continue to do so, which is the complete antithesis of what the day represents. Quite simply, some people out there just want the special swag and don't actually give a shit about supporting the independent shops. Social media is sure to be awash with smug selfies and artfully filtered Instagrams of people with the limited edition Happy Mondays vinyl they got their mitts on. And unfortunately, others just want to make money. RSD has also been criticised for having become a marketing scheme, with big labels hijacking the day to promote well-established acts – it is slightly strange that U2 are flogging [Songs Of Innocence] on vinyl after already assaulting our ears with the automatic download. In an article for The Guardian, Sonic Cathedral label boss Nathaniel Cramp protests what RSD has become. It can be a difficult and risky time for independent shops because they have to buy the stock up front and are unable to return any of it, so they have to make the price back. Dealer prices around RSD are also high. Cramp points out that this year's reissue of The White Stripes' [Get Behind Me Satan] is a staggering £25 per copy. Stock ordering for this one day can eat up a small store's budget and there's no telling how the sales will go. The focus on one specific day also makes it difficult for stores to offer releases either side of RSD. As pressing plants get clogged with orders, some albums that people might actually want, or have sold out when offered for sale before RSD, might not get a repress in time. As a protest, Cramp has combined with Howling Owl Records for a joint project – Spectres and Lorelle Meets The Obsolete covering each other – which will be released, not for RSD, but rather one copy a day for the next year. It's their way of making the point that RSD should be every day. The idea behind Record Store Day is honest and pure, and anything that helps keep independent shops alive is good in our books, but with each passing year, it feels slightly more like a cynical marketing ploy. So go down to your local record shop on RSD, buy something and support the industry. But for God's sake, go back and buy something on a normal day too. RecoRd StoRe day

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