There are a lot of ways to listen to music today.
But for many who know and love music, vinyl remains the gold standard. There’s something special about the rich, unique sound produced by records. There can also be a deep satisfaction in physically holding and owning a favorite album.
Record Store Day is a celebration of the brick-and-mortar stores that still sell old-fashioned vinyl. The event happens one Saturday every April. This year that’s April 23. A selection of limited edition records are specifically released on the day and exclusively distributed in independent record stores participating in the event.
Watch OPB’s “Oregon Experience” video on the history of Record Store Day:
Terry Currier owns and operates Music Millennium in Northeast Portland. The iconic record store opened more than fifty years ago. Currier says he started the Coalition of Independent Music Stores in 1995 to promote locally-owned record stores.
In 2007, the organization joined two other coalitions to found Record Store Day. The idea was not only to promote the lagging record industry but also to celebrate the culture of independent stores.
“We went to the industry and said, ‘Can you make us some compelling product for our customers on vinyl?’ Vinyl had been gone since the late eighties, and most of the major labels didn’t make it anymore.”
Currier says the labels agreed to put out a few records. The coalitions hired a publicist to promote the event.
“There were going to be 50 unique releases on this day that you could come down and get. Some were colored vinyl. Some were unreleased,” says Currier. “Some were records that hadn’t been in print for years. That was the beginning of the renaissance of vinyl. It just kept going up, and Record Store Day got better and better.”
Record Store Day is credited with reviving vinyl sales and is now celebrated in stores worldwide. Music Millennium opens early for the annual event and always draws large crowds. In addition to the special releases, it hosts in-store performances along with meet and greets with artists.