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Record Store Day responds to indie label backlash: “Give us a break”

By | Published on Friday 20 March 2015

Record Store Day

Record Store Day has issued a response to two indie labels which are boycotting the festivities this year and instead releasing their own protest record.

As previously reported, Sonic Cathedral and Howling Owl announced plans last week to release a split single by Spectres and Lorelle Meets The Obsolete, putting out one copy per day for a year from Record Store Day onwards.

Noting that they still thought that RSD was “essentially a good idea”, the two labels said in a statement: “If it’s a protest against anything, it’s what Record Store Day has become: just another event in the annual music industry circus that begins with the BBC Sound Of… list and ends with the Mercury Prize, co-opted by major labels and used as another marketing stepping stone”.

They went on: “Because of the rules and regulations – minimum pressing amounts, no direct to customer sales, blah blah blah – Record Store Day really isn’t fun, and it’s certainly not beneficial to small, backs-to-the-wall labels like Sonic Cathedral and Howling Owl. But we are still affected by it. Badly …The final irony was getting a call to say that this very seven-ich was going to be delayed and might not be shipped until after Record Store Day”.

In a counter statement issued to The Vinyl Factory boss of RSD organiser the Entertainment Retailers Association Kim Bayley said that the two indie’s had “misrepresented one of the most beneficial new music promotions of the past two decades” and that this was “really objectionable”.

“Record Store Day has beyond doubt been the most important catalyst in the recent revival and growth in number of independent record shops”, she continued. “Along the way it has also driven the vinyl revival. And engaged a whole new generation of fans in music buying. To make it clear, the purpose of Record Store Day is not to promote independent labels. It is to promote independent record shops (the clue is in the name)”.

She added that “because indie record shops disproportionately support independent labels”, it was actually these companies that benefit most from the event, and that “the number of releases from the majors has remained relatively static in recent years, so the increase in the number of titles – another criticism is that there are too many – has mainly been driven by indie labels”.

“We don’t blame indie labels – the whole point is to sell records – but we have asked all labels to think harder about quality and this year the number of releases is in fact down by around 10% compared to 2014”.

Admitting that “we know it’s not perfect and we know we need more pressing plants”, Bayley concluded: “Give us a break”.

Read the full statement from Record Store Day here.