Almighty Press

April 17, 2009
Record Store Day spins profits and good beats at Metro Detroit shops

BY Adam Graham

Independent record stores offer exclusive discs on Saturday

There are places where the incense still burns, where you can hum a song and the clerk will help you name that tune, and where you can walk through the doors with a stack of music and walk out with a few bucks (or a credit slip to put toward even more music) in your pocket.

Those places are called record stores, and now they have their own holiday.

Saturday marks the second annual Record Store Day, a day set up to celebrate independent music retailers and the old-school record store experience -- you know, actually going into a store to buy music (what a concept!), as opposed to downloading it in your bedroom.

Artists from Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen to Jack White are among the dozens of performers offering exclusive products to participating stores for Record Store Day. That's a huge increase from last year, when fewer than 10 artists participated by offering Record Store Day-only exclusives.

"It's just exploded," says L.A.-based Michael Kurtz, co-founder of Record Store Day. "This is all about the connection between the community and the artist."

Not to mention the connection between the community and their local mom-and-pop record shop. Businesses that are thriving do not necessarily warrant their own designated tributes, and it's no secret that record stores have seen their better days.

Over the last six years, approximately one-third of all independent record shops in the U.S. have closed their doors, according to the Almighty Institute of Music Retail, a California-based marketing firm. Album sales, meanwhile, have eroded 45 percent since 2000, as downloading has chipped away at the music industry's bottom line.

But record stores are still alive and kicking. Even in an age of digital downloads, there's a purity about record stores that can't be captured by going online, no matter how many albums are available at your fingertips. At the 20-plus-year-old Car City Records in St. Clair Shores, home to some 50,000 used and new records, clerk Dion Fischer flips through the $1 used record bin and comes across albums by Bruce Springsteen, Jethro Tull and the Beatles. "No download can beat a scratchy Beatles record," he says, holding up a copy of "Let it Be."

Record stores allow customers to interact with music in a way that's impossible in the digital age, says Jesse Hughes, former record store clerk and current frontman for trash-rockers Eagles of Death Metal. He says the demise of record stores is due in large part to record store customers themselves. "The people who cry the hardest about its death are the ones sitting on their butts and downloading," says Hughes, which leads him into a quote from Edmund Burke: "Evil will prevail when good men do nothing."

Billy O'Keefe is one of the good men trying to do something. His Utica record store, Rock-A-Billy's, is hosting eight in-store performances on Saturday, including sets by formerly obscure '70s singer Rodriguez and indie pop-rockers the Silent Years.

O'Keefe is a big believer in Record Store Day, not only for its value in the community but at the cash registers as well. He says last year's Record Store Day rivaled his Christmas sales, and he expects this year to be even bigger.

Rock-A-Billy's has been open for 15 years, and O'Keefe says times right now in the record business are "as tough as they've ever been.

"But hopefully this is as tough as it's going to be," he says. "Down the road, it's going to be looking good -- I believe that, and I've gotta believe that. If I didn't believe that, I could not stay in business."

One of the bright spots on the calendar, he says, is Record Store Day. But there are still 364 other days on the calendar, a fact which isn't lost on record store owners or their loyal customers.

Says Car City's Fischer, "For us, every day is Record Store Day."

Still spinning

Record Store Day is a day to celebrate independent record stores. Here's a list of several in Metro Detroit that are worth visiting Saturday:

Record Time
27360 Gratiot Ave., Roseville
(586) 775-1550
Specialty: Techno and electronic music

8411 Hall Road, Utica
(586) 781-0388
Specialty: Indie rock, punk

Street Corner Music
17620 W. 13 Mile, Beverly Hills (moving to Oak Park in June)
(248) 644-4777
Specialty: New and used jazz, R&B and hip-hop

Car City Records
21918 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores
(586) 775-4770
Specialty: Used R&B, jazz and rock

People's Records
3161 Woodward Ave., Detroit
(313) 831-0864
Specialty: Used 45s -- the store carries more than 80,000 of them

Damon's Record Center
20124 Plymouth Road, Detroit
(313) 838-3500
Specialty: Urban music -- gospel, rap, jazz and blues

Permission granted by copyright holder for this express use only.

Article List

November 21, 2013 - New York Times - Records Are Dying? Not Here

March 27, 2013 - Glendale News-Press - It's a matter of record: Burbank's Atomic Records and Backside

December 30, 2012 - Detroit News - As one record shop closes, vinyl music plays on in another

April 20, 2012 - - New vinyl album releases give record stores a kick

November 20, 2011 - - In an iTunes age, do we need the record store?

June 9, 2011 - - Curmudgeon Records closes its doors for good

April 16, 2011 - Wall Street Journal - One-Day Record-Store Revival

February 1, 2011 - Charlottesville News & Arts - Plan 9 Changes Location

August 13, 2010 - The Tennesean - Anita Wadhwani: Nashville indie record stores' sales spin in right direction

January 3, 2010 - Delaware News Journal - Delaware music shops get creative to compete with downloads, chain music stores

September 24, 2009 - Los Angeles Times - L.A. independent record shop is still in a groove

August 20, 2009 - CNN Money - You can make money off online music

June 14, 2009 - New York Times - Retailing Era Closes With Music Megastore

May 13, 2009 - Medill Reports - Resurgence in vinyl helps record store in recession

April 26, 2009 - Los Angeles Times - In a digital age, vinyl albums are making a comeback

April 18, 2009 - Charlotte Observer - Record stores band together

April 17, 2009 - Detroit News - Record Store Day spins profits and good beats at Metro Detroit shops

April 17, 2009 - Associated Press - Record Store Day celebrates indie retailers

April 10, 2009 - Detroit News - Street Corner Music moving to Oak Park plaza

April 10, 2009 - Toledo Free Press - New record store shakes up Adams Street

January 8, 2009 - OC Register - Closing date for Virgin Megastore at The Block

October 28, 2008 - Reuters - AC/DC back in "Black" with global smash

September 23, 2008 - Chicago Daily Herald - Independent music stores haven't yet disappeared from suburbia

June 23, 2008 - New York Times - For Tom Petty Fans, the True Sound of Vinyl, Also Captured on a CD

April 19, 2008 - Lafayette Journal Courier - For some, record stores live on

April 19, 2008 - New Jersey Star Ledger - It's Record Store Day. Play it again, Sam!

April 18, 2008 - New York Times - Record Stores Fight to Be Long-Playing

April 18, 2008 - Dallas Morning News - Retailers hope Record Store Day turns up volume at mom-and-pop shops

April 16, 2008 - Timeout New York - Platter Up

December 27, 2007 - Los Angeles Times - Virgin Megastore to close shop

December 16, 2007 - New York Times - For a "Dinosaur," an Exuberant Second Life (Looney Tunes Reopens)

December 3, 2007 - Detroit Free Press - The same old song: Music store closing

November 7, 2007 - Washington Post - Eagles soar past Britney to top of charts

November 4, 2007 - The Ledger - Two Young Entrepreneurs Unafraid of Risk of Going on Records

August 20, 2007 - Billboard - Almighty Taps Hans As VP

June 29, 2007 - ABC News - Long Live the Record Store

June 28, 2007 - Orange County Weekly - Locals Only

June 13, 2007 - Reuters - McCartney's Starbucks album heats up U.S. charts

June 9, 2007 - Billboard - Commentary: Retail Recovery

May 9, 2007 - Columbia Free Times - High Fidelity

March 22, 2007 - NARM Awards - Almighty Retail Named NARM Related Supplier Finalist For Third Consecutive Year

March 16, 2007 - Chortler - Shout! Factory Has Revamped Its Website

March 9, 2007 - - Internet killed the record store?

March 4, 2007 - Sacramento Bee - New groove for Solomon

February 28, 2007 - USA Today - Exclusives aim to pull music fans into stores

February 28, 2007 - New York Newsday - Latin record shops thrive despite changes in music business

February 23, 2007 - Montpelier Bridge - Buch Spieler Sails On Despite a Music Industry Decline

November 20, 2006 - Austin 360 - In Austin, Niche Indies Rule

October 20, 2006 - Sacramento Bee - Tower brand could survive

October 15, 2006 - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Tables have turned on record stores

October 14, 2006 - Sacramento Bee - Small labels lose valuable ally in Tower

October 6, 2006 - Desert Sun - Record Alley remodels

September 27, 2006 - Music & Copyright - Niche Marketing of CD albums continues to rise in the US and Physical Sales overall decline

September 22, 2006 - - Indie stores confront a new era

September 19, 2006 - New York Newsday - 34 years, and that's not all, folks

August 18, 2006 - The Roanoke Times - Plan 9 Music puts new spin on 5 Record Exchange stores

August 3, 2006 - The Hollywood Reporter - Nervous music retailers face hazy digital future

July 16, 2006 - New York Times - The Graying of the Record Store

July 13, 2006 - Rolling Stone - The iTunes Holdouts

July 11, 2006 - Roanoke Times - Record store's "last dance"

July 5, 2006 - Port Townsend and Jefferson County Leader - Quimper Sound moves, expands to change with times

June 6, 2006 - Billboard - NARM Nominations Announced

May 10, 2006 - Detroit MetroTimes - Out of the Groove

March 18, 2006 - Billboard - Indies in a bind

January 16, 2006 - Los Angeles Business Journal - Slipped Discs

January 6, 2006 - Los Angeles Times - Indie record stores doing slow fade out

December 26, 2005 - Los Angeles Times - The Music Stops for Indie Shop

December 1, 2005 - Rolling Stone - Fall Sales Dry Up

October 13, 2005 - Desert Sun - Music snobs rejoice: Independent record stores still thrive in desert

September 12, 2005 - Salt Lake Tribune - Twilight for Starbound Records

August 18, 2005 - New York Post - Oldies are now singing a new tune - Music stores go digital

July 2005 - Rolling Stone - Record Biz Still Sinking

June 18, 2005 - Billboard - NARM Noms Announced

March 21, 2005 - CMJ - Hart of the Matter

February 16, 2005 - MSN - Genius Loves Company

October 12, 2004 - Rolling Stone - Wal-Mart wants $10 CDs

July 10, 2004 - Billboard - Almighty Institute To The Rescue

January 14, 2004 - Creative Loafing Charlotte - Manifest Destiny

December 29, 2003 - New York Times - on the rise of mass marketers

November 13, 2003 - Rolling Stone - Best Buy snags rights to band's new DVD

October 9, 2003 - USA Today - Best Buy wins sales rights to Rolling Stones DVD box set

October 6, 2003 - Reuters - Stones Paint It Black For Retailers

May 31, 2003 - Billboard - Retail Track

May 9, 2003 - Hits - Rerap