Record stores across the Tampa Bay area will participate in the sixth annual Record Store Day on Saturday.
Since 2008, Record Store Day has been celebrated each April at thousands of independent record stores around the world, with in-store concerts, parties and the release of highly-limited vinyl records.
If previous years are any indication, music fans will line up outside Tampa-area stores Black Friday style to get their hands on this year's special releases from artists such as the White Stripes, David Bowie and the Notorious B.I.G.
There's no denying the vinyl resurgence. In 2012, vinyl record sales hit their highest level since 1997, topping $171 million, and up 52 percent from just a year earlier, according to the last report by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.
But that doesn't necessarily mean a boom for physical stores, which still have to compete with websites for vinyl sales.
"The thing I like to remind people is that it's called Record Store Day, not record day," said Keith Ulrey, owner of Microgroove in Tampa. "Don't get me wrong, the special releases are super cool, awesome, limited stuff, but they're just a perk. The day is really about supporting the unique experience you get in record stores. It's about crate digging, talking to people and maybe being turned on to something you didn't expect to buy."
"I don't think you'd find a store that says they make a lot of money from it, but it gets people who haven't been in a record store in a while to come in and experience it. It lets everyone know we're still here, and it's a lot of fun."
WHERE TO SHOP
Here are local stores that have signed the Record Store Day pledge, which according to recordstoreday.com, states they will "act in the spirit of Record Store Day, and sell the commercial Record Store Day releases to their physical customers, on Record Store Day; not to gouge them, or hold product back to sell them online."
Mojo Books & Music, 2450 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa – Just down the road from the University of South Florida, this half record store, half used-book store is often packed with students browsing the giant selection of both. Plus, they're the only local record store with a tea and coffee bar. RSD events: The store is opening early (8 a.m.) and will hold drawings for "cool and limited stuff" for customers who line up before then. There will be free beer starting at noon, free RSD goodie bags, a vegan bake sale by Florida Voices for Animals and 17 musical acts performing from 11 a.m. to midnight, including world-renowned DJ and Stones Throw Records founder Peanut Butter Wolf (5:45 p.m.). There's also an RSD pre-party Friday with much-buzzed-about Tampa natives, Merchandise; you may have read about them on Pitchfork, Vice or Spin.
Microgroove, 4906 N Florida Ave, Tampa – Located in the Seminole Heights hipster enclave, this small, but beautifully-stocked shop, located in a former garage, is walking distance to some of the city's coolest restaurants, bars and thrift stores. It's also home base for indie label New Granada. RSD events – After opening early (8 a.m.), the store will offer free Pabst Blue Ribbon beer all day. Bands, including Empire Cinema and Red Room Cinema will play in the store from 1 to 5 p.m., before the party moves next door to Cappy's Pizza with a full lineup of solo acts.
Banana's Music, 2887 22nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg – Shouted out in Rolling Stone's list of "The Best Record Stores in the USA," Banana's is spread over two locations. There's the open-to-the-public warehouse that houses millions (yes, millions) of records, and their nearby 11,000-square-foot retail store that carries CDs, DVDs, books and tons more vinyl. RSD events – The store opens an hour early (9 a.m.) and will offer 10 percent off all used items. There will be free drawings for a turntable, a vinyl cleaning set and a gift card. Live music begins at 11 a.m. with Samurai Shotgun, The Music Box, Peanut Butter Wolf (3 p.m.) and more. The Spot and other local eateries will have food for sale.
Daddy Kool Records, 666 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg – This go-to spot for concert tickets, meet-and-greets and in-store performances by local and national musicians carries new and used vinyl, CDs, stereo equipment, shirts, toys and more. RSD events – The store opens early (7 a.m.). New merchandise will be marked down 10 percent; used will be 20 percent. Spend $100 to get a free shirt. There's a DJ set by Infinite Skillz from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with acoustic performances by The Sheds and The Attack beginning at 4, with other special appearances. A Daddy Kool "yard sale" will be happening out front, with cupcakes and adoptable shelter dogs.
Sound Exchange, 14246 N. Nebraska Ave, Tampa; 805 W. Bloomingdale Ave, Brandon; 7688 49 St. N., Pinellas Park. – Founded in 1987, this chain not only has one of the largest local selections of used vinyl and CDs, but also carries all sorts of old-school stereo equipment, from refurbished Technics turntables to vintage to reel-to-reel tape machines. RSD events – All three locations open early (10 a.m.), and all record players will be marked down 10 to 15 percent. The management says there will be other unadvertised "surprises," but wouldn't give details.
WHAT TO BUY
There are close to 300 limited-edition Record Store Day releases this year on vinyl, CD, and cassette. Because of the huge demand, they're distributed on a lottery system, which means the stores put in their orders, cross their fingers and hope to have a few of each to sell. Not every store will get every release.
Here are some of the releases we're excited about:
The Black Keys/Stooges, "Side By Side: No Fun," 7-inch single
Various Artists, "Sub Pop 1000," 12-inch LP
MGMT, "Alien Days," cassette single
The Notorious B.I.G., "Ready to Die," double LP reissue
Titus Andronicus, "Record Store Day," 12-inch EP
Flaming Lips, "Zaireeka," four LP set
Mumford and Sons, "Live at Bull Moose," 10-inch vinyl or CD
White Stripes, "Elephant," colored double LP reissue
Imagine Dragons, "Live at Independent Records," CD
Brian Eno/Grizzly Bear, "Brian Eno x Nicolas Jaar x Grizzly Bear," 7-inch single
David Bowie, "The Stars Are Out Tonight," 7-inch single
Best Coast, "Fear Of My Identity BW/Who Have I Become," 7-inch single
Eric Church, "Caught In the Act," live double LP, plus whiskey infused 7-inch
Atmosphere, "Demosexual," transparent purple 7-inch single