The Day the World Spins at 33 1/3 RPM


The Day the World Spins at 33 1/3 RPM

Mayer Hawthorne at Amoeba Music in San Francisco. Photo: Kaitlin Layher

By Emma Hernandez and Allison Johnelle Boron

Vinyl truly never gives up.

In a rise of phoenix-like proportions, records have seen a resurgence that no one predicted among a demographic that no one thought probable—young people. Nielsen Soundscan reported that vinyl sales totaled 3.9 million in 2011, almost a 40% jump from 2010—not even counting smaller labels that don’t report to Soundscan. In fact, vinyl sales have steadily risen for the past six years, making it the fastest-growing music format in the U.S.

Record Store Day began in 2008 as a way to celebrate the art of music, and has subsequently become a celebration of the comeback of the big, black disc. Held on the third Saturday in April, the “vinyl holiday”—which, in the books of some labels and RSD co-founder Michael Kurtz, surpasses Christmas in sales—includes in-store events and promotions (performances, parades, cookouts, body painting and more), as well as exciting new, special and limited releases by artists of all shapes and sizes. Internationally, RSD is observed in about 30 countries, including Croatia and Japan. Each country manages its own events through separate organizations under the RSD umbrella, with the only stipulations that the store must be independent (i.e., not publicly traded), and at least 50% of its retail must be music. Chalk one up for the little guys…[read more]