Evanston independent music stores to celebrate ‘Record Store Day’

Kimberly Railey

This Saturday, music enthusiasts will line up at local record stores in Evanston – and around the world – for Record Store Day, a holiday that promotes the culture of independently-owned record stores.

“Last year, it really exploded,” said Eric Levin, co-founder of Record Store Day and owner of Criminal Records in Atlanta. “For ten years, we gave digital a shot. It’s a form of entertainment, but it doesn’t replace that magical thing that happens when two speakers play music.”

Levin said the event draws large crowds, which he said proves the “art and joy” of collecting music is hardly obsolete. Record Store Day is always held on the third Saturday in April. It was conceived by a klatch of independent music owners who initially contacted artists, managers and labels to promote the idea.

Today, the day is known for the sale of exclusive vinyl and CD releases, as well as in-store performances and appearances from artists, Levin said. This year, bands like the Foo Fighters and My Chemical Romance have put out special vinyl editions of their music.

Since many of these editions are produced in limited quantities, record stores don’t always receive every music selection they request from artists, said Steven Kay , owner of Evanston’s Vintage Vinyl.

“We never know exactly what we’re going to get until the boxes arrive,” Kay said. “It’s just based on the fact that there’s supply and demand.”

As live entertainment, Vintage Vinyl will host performances from bands The Luck of Eden Hall and Owner Operator.

“The day heightens awareness that people have options of acquiring music that doesn’t only have to come to them via the internet,” Kay said. Each year, Record Store Day has become increasingly popular, Levin said.

To accommodate this growing interest, Evanston’s Second Hand Tunes will open for one hour at midnight Friday, store manager Adam Hitchell said.

As preparation for the event, Hitchell said the store ensures their inventory is organized well. The idea of bringing people back to record stores to buy music is extremely important, he said.

“I do a lot of digital downloading too, but I like having a physical artifact to buy and take home,” Hitchell said.

Weinberg freshman Maddy Colis, who has gone to Record Store Day for the past two years, said nothing compares to the tangibility of CDs.

“Buying music online is definitely really convenient, but I’ll always favor records and CDs I can hold in my hands,” Colis said.

Levin said the holiday is also significant because it promotes local businesses.

“We’re a small part of the local-first agenda,” Levin said. “When a customer purchases from iTunes, that money goes to iTunes world. It doesn’t go where you live. This movement is very relevant.”

Levin said he never imagined the idea would attain such recognition when he formed Record Store Day in 2007.

“We didn’t even know if anybody would participate,” Levin said. “People are now realizing that they really like their little shelves of records.”

[email protected]