The Vinyl Frontier: A Spin Through Record Store Day

The Vinyl Frontier: A Spin Through Record Store Day

Click here to jump to the highlights and special releases of the 2024 edition.

On April 20th, vinyl enthusiasts and music aficionados around the globe unite for a celebration that spins beyond just a routine shopping spree—it’s Record Store Day, the annual event that’s been putting the needle back on the beloved grooves of vinyl culture since 2007. Designed to champion the independent spirit of local record shops that have long served as sanctuaries of sound, this day has grown into a worldwide jam session that rekindles the communal vibe of flipping through bins of records, uncovering auditory gems in the least expected places.

From limited edition LPs to special artist performances that pop up in cramped aisles, Record Store Day isn’t just about snagging that exclusive pressing—it’s an homage to the crackle of creativity and the skips of surprise that define the music industry’s most enduring format. As vinyl continues to claw its way back into relevance against the tide of streaming and digital downloads, Record Store Day stands as a beacon of analog appreciation.

The Origins of Record Store Day

Record Store Day first dropped the needle on its inaugural celebration in 2007, an idea spun out by a group of independent record store owners and employees, with Chris Brown of Bull Moose Music at the forefront. The founders were driven by a desire to resurrect the ailing fortunes of local record stores, which were facing an onslaught from digital music platforms and mass-market retailers. Their mission was simple yet profound: to spotlight the unique culture of record stores and rekindle interest in the vinyl music format that had defined generations of music lovers.

The concept quickly resonated, turning into an annual event every third Saturday of April, drawing attention to the art of music, the warmth of vinyl records, and the personalized experience that brick-and-mortar stores offered. The first Record Store Day was marked by modest yet enthusiastic participation from both stores and artists, featuring exclusive vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products made specifically for the day. The response was overwhelmingly positive, setting the stage for what would become a global phenomenon.

Record Store Day tapped into the collective nostalgia and the tactile pleasure of music collecting, giving fans not just records but experiences: live performances, artist meet-and-greets, and the thrill of hunting rare editions. It wasn’t long before the event gained traction worldwide, with stores from every continent except Antarctica (boo!) participating, turning Record Store Day into a global festival celebrating the enduring allure and social hub that indie record stores had always been.

Chris Brown of Bull Moose Music

The Vinyl Revival

The resurgence of vinyl records in an era dominated by streaming services and digital downloads is nothing short of a cultural rebirth. This revival, affectionately termed the “vinyl renaissance,” has been significantly fueled by the enthusiasm surrounding Record Store Day, which has not only celebrated but also catalyzed the return of the record as a beloved music medium.

Since the advent of Record Store Day, vinyl sales have seen a remarkable resurgence. According to data from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), vinyl revenue grew from $56 million in 2007 to an impressive $1 billion in 2021, marking the first time revenues reached the billion-dollar mark since the 1980s. This resurgence is not merely a blip but a steady climb, with year-over-year increases attributed in part to the annual excitement generated by Record Store Day releases and events.

Experts in the music industry attribute this comeback to several factors. One is the tangible nature of vinyl records, which offer a physical connection to music that digital formats can’t replicate. “There’s a ritualistic aspect to vinyl that can’t be duplicated with streaming. It’s about the artwork, the liner notes, and the act of playing a record that resonates with music lovers,” explains music historian and author Greg Milner. This tactile experience, combined with the superior sound quality that many aficionados claim vinyl has, makes it a cherished format for both new and seasoned collectors.

Record Store Day has amplified this interest by turning vinyl collecting into a celebrated event, introducing limited editions and rare releases that become yearly highlights for collectors. This not only boosts sales during the event but has a ripple effect throughout the year, as new collectors enter the scene and seasoned enthusiasts deepen their collections.

Retailers also note a significant “halo effect” around Record Store Day, where not only do sales of exclusive releases spike, but so do sales of turntables, speakers, and other vinyl-related accessories. “Record Store Day has transformed our business and connected a new generation with vinyl,” says a local record store owner. “It’s like a record collector’s New Year’s Day; the excitement builds, and the impact lasts well beyond just one day.”

Global Events and Local Traditions

Globally, Record Store Day will be celebrated with more than just exclusive releases. In London, Rough Trade East will host an all-day festival featuring live performances by local bands and a DJ set by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. Over in Tokyo, Tower Records in Shibuya is organizing a vinyl swap meet, where collectors can trade records and share stories about their favorite finds.

A unique tradition in Sydney involves a “midnight run” event where the first 100 customers in line at Red Eye Records get a chance to grab exclusive releases before anyone else in the world, making it a thrilling night for the most dedicated fans.

San Francisco’s Amoeba Music turns RSD into a block party, complete with food trucks and live street performances, highlighting the communal and celebratory aspects of the day.

The Cultural Impact

For local businesses, especially independent record stores, RSD has been a lifeline. In an era where digital dominates, this event draws crowds back into physical stores, not just for the day, but often turning first-time visitors into regular customers. “Record Store Day has consistently been our biggest sales day of the year,” states Jenna, the owner of Vinyl Revival, a small record shop in Minneapolis. “It helps us survive in a tough market and actually thrive by reaching new audiences who might not visit otherwise.”

The influx of customers on RSD also benefits neighboring businesses — cafes, restaurants, and boutiques often see increased traffic, creating a festive atmosphere that underscores the importance of vibrant, active local commerce.

Moreover, RSD has revitalized vinyl collecting as a hobby, particularly among younger music fans who were raised in the digital age. For many, vinyl collecting offers a new, more immersive way to experience music. “There’s something magical about listening to an album the way it was originally intended,” shares Tim, a college student who started collecting vinyl during RSD 2018. “It’s not just about the music; it’s about the experience and the community around it.”

Criticisms of Commercialization

As RSD has evolved, so too has the nature of the releases. What began as a day to celebrate indie culture and rare finds has also seen an influx of major label releases. Some critics argue that this shifts the focus from supporting local record stores to driving major label profits, potentially overshadowing smaller artists and labels that RSD was meant to support.

A record store owner in Portland, Mark, expresses a mixed view: “While RSD definitely brings in a lot of business, there’s a growing sentiment that it’s becoming too commercial. Some of the exclusive releases are clearly aimed at quick profits rather than genuine collectibility or supporting the vinyl community.”

The exclusivity of RSD releases, while intended to make the event special, has also led to a significant issue with scalping. Limited edition items often appear on online marketplaces at inflated prices just hours after release, which frustrates true collectors and fans who miss out on the day. This practice detracts from the community-oriented spirit of RSD and raises questions about whether changes are needed in how these exclusive products are released.

A customer wondering about whether changes are needed in how these exclusive products are released

As the needle settles into the final grooves of another Record Store Day narrative, it’s clear that this event continues to be much more than a mere commercial holiday. It’s a vibrant celebration of vinyl, a rallying cry for the preservation of independent record stores, and a community festivity that brings together music lovers across generations and geographies. Despite facing logistical challenges, criticisms of commercialization, and issues with exclusivity, Record Store Day has managed to keep the spirit of vinyl alive, adapting with each passing year to meet the needs and desires of its diverse fan base.

Record Store Day not only bolsters local economies by driving traffic to small businesses but also supports artists by fostering a deeper connection between musicians and their fans through exclusive releases and live performances. This annual event reiterates the timeless value of communal music experiences and the unique allure of vinyl records—a format that continues to thrive in a digital world due to its rich, warm sound and tangible qualities.

As we look forward to future celebrations, the true success of Record Store Day can be seen in the joy it brings to people who gather in small shops and crowded aisles, sharing stories, making discoveries, and keeping the culture of vinyl vibrant and spinning. After all, in a world that’s rapidly moving towards the intangible, there’s something profoundly resonant about the crackle of a record as it spins—a sound that, much like Record Store Day itself, echoes the enduring heartbeat of music’s past, present, and future. So, let’s keep the records spinning, and the doors of our local record stores open. The music isn’t over; in fact, the chorus is just beginning.

Check out the official RSD’s website to see the participating stores.

Record Store Day 2024 Highlights

This year’s lineup for Record Store Day includes a treasure trove of vinyl delights. Notably, the Pixies’ concert at Red Rocks will receive its first-ever vinyl pressing, capturing the electrifying energy of their live performance. Fans of soul and R&B will be thrilled by new material from The Flirtations, their first in 55 years, promising a nostalgic yet fresh auditory journey.

Soul Jazz Records is set to release three compelling compilations: “Punk 45: Kill the Hippies! Kill Yourself! The American Nation Destroys Its Young,” “300% Dynamite,” and “Studio One Rude Boy,” each offering a unique exploration into music history and culture. Other standout releases include the Japanese radio edit of Pharoah Sanders’ “Harvest Time”/”Love Will Find a Way” on a 7″ vinyl, Sun Ra’s mystical “Inside The Light World: Sun Ra Meets The OVC,” and Young Fathers’ “DEAD” 10th Anniversary Edition, which is sure to attract fans old and new.

Elton John fans will be delighted with the 50th Anniversary Edition of his album “Caribou,” presented in a 2LP set on 180G limited edition sky blue vinyl, including the original album plus a newly compiled LP of bonus tracks. “Caribou” is not only a significant part of Elton John’s discography but also a reflection of his prolific period in the 1970s.

Queen will release their 1982 track “Cool Cat” on limited edition 7″ pink vinyl, featuring a never-before-heard instrumental version on the B-side. This release taps into the nostalgia for Queen’s diverse stylistic phases and provides fans with a new way to appreciate this lesser-known track from the “Hot Space” album.

Frank Zappa’s politically themed compilation, “Zappa For President,” originally released in 2016, is set to receive its first-ever vinyl release. This timely issue, given the upcoming U.S. presidential election, features a collection of Zappa’s politically charged compositions, underscoring his role as a musical agitator and commentator.

Ringo Starr will contribute to the festivities with a new EP titled “Crooked Boy,” which includes four new tracks showcasing his signature vocal and drumming style. This EP is notable not only for Starr’s performance but also for the involvement of Linda Perry and Nick Valensi from The Strokes, promising a fresh musical experience from the former Beatle.

Here’s a comprehensive preliminary list of the releases we’re expecting.

Contemporary Favorites

  • Olivia Rodrigo & Noah Kahan: “Stick Season”/”Lacy” – From the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge on a 7″ single, unknown color vinyl, limited to 15,000 copies. These artists’ popular tracks are covered by each other, heightening anticipation for their collaborative release.
  • Paramore: Offering two releases; “Re: This Is Why” on red vinyl and “Re: This Is Why (Remix + Standard)” on multiple color vinyls, with quantities of 15,000 and 10,000 copies respectively. These editions include a mix of celebrity remixes and the original tracks from their 2023 album.
  • Noah Kahan: “I Was/I Am” on blue vinyl, 15,000 copies available. This follows the success of his “Cape Elizabeth” EP, indicating a strong demand for his music.
  • The Weeknd: “Live At SoFi Stadium” – a triple LP set capturing his live performance, available in 7,500 copies. This release is marked as “RSD First”, suggesting possible future formats.
  • Pearl Jam: “Dark Matter” in a special yellow-and-black vinyl edition, with 15,000 copies produced to coincide with their new album’s release around RSD.
  • Laufey: “A Night at the Symphony” – Recorded in Reykjavík with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, this double LP set comes in 4,200 copies, featuring live versions of tracks from her albums and classic covers.
  • The 1975: “Live at Gorilla” – a double LP in white vinyl, capturing a live performance of their debut album, limited to 7,500 copies.
  • Ateez: “THE WORLD EP.FIN: WILL (X Ver.)” – a combination of a 12″ and a 7″ disc, in clear or black ice vinyl, featuring new artwork and a bonus track, with 15,000 copies available.

Additional notable releases include:

  • Gorillaz: “Cracker Island (Deluxe Vinyl Edition)” – in pink and magenta vinyl, 8,500 copies.
  • Fleet Foxes: “Live on Boston Harbor” – a triple LP in black vinyl, 4,000 copies.
  • U2: “Atomic City (U2/UV Live At Sphere, Las Vegas)” – a 10” single in red vinyl, 3,000 copies.
  • Wilco: “The Whole Love Expanded” – a triple LP box set, 4,500 copies.
  • Death Cab for Cutie: “Live at the Showbox” – in pink marble vinyl, 2,500 copies.
  • Summer Walker: “Over It (Complete Set)” – double LP, 2,500 copies.
  • Maisie Peters: “The Good Witch – Deluxe” – an EP in clear vinyl, 2,500 copies.
  • Holly Humberstone featuring Muna: “Into Your Room” – a 7″ single in black vinyl, 1,750 copies.
  • Sabrina Carpenter: “Feather” – a 7″ single in pink vinyl, 2,000 copies.
  • Remi Wolf: “Live at Electric Lady” – an EP in orange vinyl, 1,500 copies.

Classic Rock

  • David Bowie: “Waiting in the Sky (Before the Starman Came to Earth)” – featuring alternative versions from “Ziggy Stardust”, on black vinyl, 8,000 copies.
  • Talking Heads: “Live at WCOZ 77” – a complete 1977 performance, on black vinyl, 8,000 copies.
  • Various Artists: “The Power of the Heart: A Tribute to Lou Reed” – featuring covers of Reed’s songs by various artists, on silver vinyl, 3,000 copies.
  • Neil Young with Crazy Horse: “Fuckin’ Up” – live album on clear vinyl, 5,000 copies.
  • Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman & Marty Stuart: “Sweetheart of the Rodeo 50th Anniversary – Live” – on gold vinyl, 2,500 copies.
  • Sparks/Noël: “No. 1 Song in Heaven (Sparks)/Is There More to Life Than Dancing? (Noël)” – a rare two-album release, 1,500 copies.
  • The Beatles: Various limited editions including a special RSD3 turntable and several 3” singles like “She Loves You” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, each limited to 1,500 copies.
  • John Lennon: “Mind Games EP” – available in black or glow-in-the-dark vinyl.
  • George Harrison:”Electronic Sound (Zoetrope Picture Disc)” and “Wonderwall Music (Zoetrope Picture Disc)” – Two of George Harrison’s experimental albums reissued as picture discs, each limited to 3,400 copies.

Additional notable classic rock releases include:

  • The Doors: “Live at Konserthuset, Stockholm, September 20, 1968” – available in both 3 LPs (6,000 copies) and 2 CDs (8,000 copies).
  • Elton John: “Caribou (50th Anniversary Edition)” – a double LP set on blue vinyl, limited to 3,000 copies.
  • Ramones: “The 1975 Sire Demos” on black vinyl, 6,000 copies.
  • The Replacements: “Not Ready for Prime Time: Live At The Cabaret Metro, Chicago, IL, January 11, 1986” – double LP, 6,000 copies.
  • Lowell George: “Thanks, I’ll Eat It Here (Deluxe Edition)” – double LP on black vinyl, 3,500 copies.
  • Grateful Dead: “Nightfall of Diamonds” – a 4 LP set on black vinyl, 6,300 copies.
  • Jerry Garcia Band: “Electric On The Eel: June 10th, 1989” – a 4 LP set on green vinyl, 3,000 copies.
  • America: “Live From The Hollywood Bowl 1975” – on milky clear vinyl, 3,000 copies.
  • Lenny Kaye & Friends: “Live At The Cat’s Cradle A 50th Anniversary Celebration of Nuggets” – 900 copies.
  • The Who: “The Story of the Who” on pink and green vinyl, 4,500 copies.
  • Yes: “Yale Bowl ’71” on black vinyl, 4,500 copies.
  • The Dream Syndicate: “Sketches for The Days of Wine and Roses” on black vinyl, 800 copies.
  • The Roches: “The Roches (45th Anniversary)” on ruby red vinyl, 1,000 copies.
  • Thin Lizzy: “Live at Hammersmith 16/11/1976” on black vinyl, 4,500 copies.
  • The Rolling Stones: “The Rolling Stones (UK)” on blue/black swirled vinyl, 6,000 copies, and “Live at Racket, NYC” on white vinyl, 7,000 copies.
  • Tom Verlaine: “Souvenir From a Dream: The Tom Verlaine Albums (1979-1984)” – a 4 LP boxed set on clear vinyl, 2,300 copies.
  • Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons: “The Genuine Imitation Life Gazette” on black vinyl, 2,000 copies.


  • De La Soul: “Live at Tramps, NYC, 1996” – This live recording captures a historic performance featuring guests like Mos Def, the Jungle Brothers, and Common. Available in both LP and CD formats, the quantity is unspecified, marked as “RSD First” indicating more editions may follow.
  • Metro Boomin: “Metro Boomin Presents Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse Soundtrack” – This unique set includes a 3″ turntable and three 3″ records, limited to only 250 copies. A collectible item due to its low availability and novelty.
  • Fetty Wap: Self-titled debut album reissue on opaque violet vinyl, featuring the hit “Trap Queen” and three additional tracks not previously on vinyl. Limited to 4,500 copies.
  • Nas: “Illmatic: Remixes & Rarities” – Celebrating 30 years of Nas’s iconic album with a special collection of remixes and rare tracks on black vinyl, 2,500 copies available.

Additional notable hip-hop releases include:

  • Public Enemy: “Revolverlution Tour 2003” – Available on 3 LPs or 2 CDs, capturing the energy of their 2003 tour, with 2,500 and 1,000 copies respectively.
  • Foxy Brown: “Ill Na Na” – This seminal album returns on sea blue and white marble vinyl, limited to 3,000 copies.
  • Freddie Gibbs & Madlib: “Pinata – 10 Year Anniversary Edition” – Celebrating a decade of this classic collaboration, available on LP with 3,500 copies.
  • Wiz Khalifa: “Loud Pack” – A box set of five 7″ singles in various colors, limited to 1,500 copies.
  • Lil Uzi Vert: “Luv Is Rage” – His influential mixtape available on LP, 4,500 copies.
  • Lil Wayne: “Sorry 4 the Wait” – This mixtape features on 2 LPs, with 3,000 copies available.
  • Boogie Down Productions: “Edutainment” – The 1990 album reissued on 2 LPs in black and yellow vinyl, 2,500 copies.
  • Moneybagg Yo: “A Gangsta’s Pain” – Available on ruby vinyl, 1,850 copies.
  • Queen Latifah: “Nature of a Sistah” – This early album from Queen Latifah returns to vinyl, quantity unspecified.
  • Schoolly D: “Saturday Night: The Album” – A reissue on lemon pepper vinyl, limited to 1,000 copies.


  • Lainey Wilson: “Ain’t that some shit, I found a few hits, cause country’s cool again” – This set includes two 7″ singles in a gatefold cover, limited to 850 copies, featuring new and hit songs.
  • Eric Church: “Caldwell County EP” – Previously digital-only, this EP debuts on vinyl as a 7″ in black, with 9,000 copies.
  • Willie Nelson & Various Artists: “Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90 — Live At The Hollywood Bowl Volume II” – This continuation of his 90th birthday celebration includes additional performances, available on 2 LPs with 4,500 copies.
  • Willie Nelson: “Phases and Stages” – A reissue of his concept album with bonus tracks, on 2 LPs, 4,500 copies.
  • Dwight Yoakam: “The Beginning and Then Some: The Albums of the ’80s” – This comprehensive set covers his ’80s albums on 4 CDs or LPs, with 5,000 and 3,500 copies respectively.
  • Linda Ronstadt: “The Asylum Albums (1973-1977)” – A box set of her Asylum-era albums on 4 LPs, limited to 3,500 copies.

Additional notable country music releases include:

  • Lola Kirke: “Country Curious” on fruit punch vinyl, 1,200 copies.
  • John Hartford: “Morning Bugle (Remixed, Remastered, Expanded)”, 1,300 copies.
  • Hunter Hayes: “Space Tapes”, a mini-LP on gold vinyl, 1,000 copies.


  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe: “Live in France: The 1966 Concert in Limoges” captures this influential figure in gospel and rock ‘n’ roll, live in performance. This release is a black vinyl double LP, limited to 1,800 copies.
  • Sonny Rollins: “Freedom Weaver: The 1959 European Tour Recordings” spans four LPs and showcases a pivotal era in Rollins’ career, limited to 2,500 copies.
  • Art Tatum: “Jewels in the Treasure Box: The 1953 Chicago Blue Note Jazz Club Recordings (Deluxe Edition)” is a three-LP set on black vinyl, offering a rare glimpse into Tatum’s virtuosity, limited to 2,000 copies.
  • Sun Ra: “Sun Ra at the Showcase: Live in Chicago 1976-1977” presents two LPs of live performances from this avant-garde jazz icon, with 3,000 copies available.
  • Chet Baker/Jack Sheldon: “In Perfect Harmony: The Lost Album” features a previously unreleased collaboration on black vinyl, limited to 1,500 copies.
  • Yusef Lateef: “Atlantis Lullaby: The Concert in Avignon” features two LPs of this live performance, capturing Lateef’s eclectic style, also limited to 1,500 copies.
  • Shelly Manne: “Jazz From the Pacific Northwest” is another two-LP set, capturing Manne’s drumming finesse, with 1,500 copies available.
  • Cannonball Adderley: “Burnin’ In Bordeaux: Live in France 1969” and “Poppin’ In Paris: Live At L’Olympia 1972” both feature vibrant live performances but have an unknown quantity of black vinyl issues, emphasizing the rarity of these recordings.

Additional notable jazz music releases include:

  • Nat King Cole: “Live at the Blue Note Chicago” on two LPs or two CDs captures a legendary 1953 performance, with editions of 4,000 and 2,000 respectively.
  • Charles Mingus: “Reincarnations” compiles rarities from Mingus’ catalog into a companion volume for “Incarnations,” released on black vinyl with 3,400 copies.
  • Bill Evans: “Everybody Digs Bill Evans” on black vinyl, limited to 4,500 copies, continues to showcase this pianist’s profound influence.
  • Sun Ra: “Pink Elephants on Parade” on pink vinyl, offering a unique recording, with 1,800 copies.
  • Kenny Garrett & SVOY: “Who Killed Al” on black vinyl, with 1,500 copies.
  • Monty Alexander: “Montreux Alexander: The Monty Alexander Trio Live! At The Montreux Festival” on mint green vinyl, 1,000 copies, add to the diversity of this year’s jazz offerings.
  • Christian McBride/Edgar Meyer: “But Who’s Gonna Play The Melody?” is a two LP set on black vinyl, with 1,500 copies.
  • Charlie Parker: “Norman Granz’ Jazz at the Philharmonic” also on black vinyl, with 3,500 copies.
  • Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet: “Spirit To All (Special Edition)” and “Live Spirit”, both limited to very few copies (100 each), highlight the international flavor of RSD jazz releases.

Soundtracks and Scores

  • Richard O’Brien: “The Rocky Horror Show — Original Demo Tapes” offers a rare look at the early stages of this cult classic on LP, limited to 1,500 copies.
  • Various Artists: “Lost In Translation (Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Deluxe Edition]” brings this iconic soundtrack back on two LPs, with 5,000 copies.
  • Elmer Bernstein: “Airplane! The Soundtrack (Score)” on either white or red vinyl, limited to 1,100 copies.
  • Doctor Who: “The Edge of Destruction” on a picture disc LP, 1,500 copies.
  • Vince Guaraldi: “It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown – Original Soundtrack Recording” on 1,200 copies.
  • Ennio Morricone: “Orca (Music From The Motion Picture)” and “Storie di Vita e Malavita (Colonna Sonora Originale Del Film)” add to the rich collection of scores, with 1,700 and 1,000 copies respectively, encapsulating Morricone’s profound influence on film music.

2024 PMA Magazine. All rights reserved.

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