If you love thumbing through the selections at a music store and enjoy finding rare treasures, you've got to get out for Record Store Day on Saturday.
Tomorrow marks the 5th annual RSD. While the number of retail outlets selling CD and vinyl keeps shrinking, there's never been a better selection of RSD "exclusive" disc offerings as there will be this time around, ironically. An especially good overview of the vinyl specials has been posted by my bud Mark Smotroff for the SoundandVision.com website. A musician himself (working under the band identity "ing"), audiophile and prog rock devotee, Smotroff details the importance of this RSD's offerings - live performances, unique colored vinyl, higher quality sound. He also posts the quantity of each pressing. So you'll know how special and hard to get a particular disc is gonna be.
A new, downloadable RSD app, available on both iOS and Android platforms, leads you to the closest stores engaged in the celebration. The app quickly summoned up 15 stores within a five mile radius of my location. Other tabs pull up special releases (though very slowly) and promise listings of RSD in-store events. But the latter are presented in random order, with no rhyme or reason or ability to hone in on just the locals. Very frustrating. So it's best to call ahead to stores near you, or venture to their websites, to find out what's shaking. Main Street Music in Manayunk has an especially full day of free appearances forthcoming by the likes of John Wesley Harding. Sound of Market and AKA Music are usually good for some in-store appearances, too.
You'll note that no "big box" stores participate in Record Store Day. Walmart and Costco have virtually abandoned pre-recorded music. Target has shrunk its selections significantly, Best Buy is holding on, though who knows for how long (at least no Philadelphia area stores were among the 50 BB's just targeted nationwide for closing.)
Eventually, I can see small stores being the ONLY "bricks and mortar" locations to shop for CDs and vinyl, as the business comes full circle. But really, that's not so bad. I still treasure the personal give and take I had with indie record sellers in my youth - getting tips from the sole proprietor who came to learn what I liked and didn't.