From the moment doors opened last Friday morning at stores across the country and around the world, it was clear that this year’s event, covered by the likes of the New York Times, Spin, Rolling Stone, NPR and Forbes, among others, would overturn and outsell last year’s event. By and large, retailers saw their second year of massive growth over Black Friday weekend, once again beating the national trend.
Store owner Rand Foster of Fingerprints in Long Beach, CA, for one, noted, “It was an amazingly good day for us, we were almost double last year’s Black Friday, and historically Black Friday is a non-event for us, so this is a huge change.”
Among the special product released on Friday to the indie retailers were titles by Bob Dylan, The Beatles, John Lennon, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin, Kings Of Leon, Nirvana, Ryan Adams, Beastie Boys, Jimmy Cliff and Soundgarden, just to name a few, and a handful of in-store appearances, including a signing by Chris Cornell at Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ (on Saturday), and store performances by Matisyahu at Looney Tunes on Long Island, Brendan Benson at Grimey’s in Nashville, and Cory Chisel at The Exclusive Company in Appleton, WI helped drive it all home.
Record Store Day co-founder, Michael Kurtz says, “This was the second year that Record Store Day organized a Black Friday campaign and it was very successful. The majority of pieces that the artists made for indie stores were gorgeous, both in appearance and in sound. We are grateful for their support and for the support of the local communities for their local record store.”
Record Store Day organizers received a gift of sorts as well, when Tom Waits sent over his support in the form of a piece of graphic art (which can be seen on the www.recordstoreday.com website) based on his statement: “Attention! Meet others! Hands On! Interact! Discuss! Survive! Congregate – at your local record shop.”
Reports on overall sales of all business (not just the music business) conflict but they range from an increase of 7% to 16%. Based on the numbers known so far, retailers from independently owned record stores alone beat the national trend with an average growth of 18% over last Black Friday and whopping 40% growth over Black Friday 2009.
Much of the jump in sales over last year could be attributed to further solidarity amongst the indie record stores participating in Back To Black Friday. The entire industry will see the benefits of this throughout the rest of 2012 and for years to come. Says Steve Warrenfeltz of indie store Kiss The Sky in Geneva IL, “I can’t stress the importance of what … Record Store Day does… the impact is significant … keep improving and it just may be the magic potion that helps to keep most of us in business as the industry changes….”
Black Friday is organized by Record Store Day, a cooperative project of hundreds of independent record stores in the USA, Canada, the UK, France, Germany and Holland. This year’s Record Store Day saw the largest vinyl sales day in Soundscan history and lifted sales for the entire music industry. Organizers hope that “Back to Black Friday” will follow the “bigger-than-Christmas” success of their annual April event.
Most of the special releases are being issued as vinyl records – hence the “Back to Black Friday” name. The vinyl format has experienced a huge surge in popularity in recent years, spearheaded almost entirely by independent stores.
For more information on Record Store Day visit www.recordstoreday.com
Record Store Day Sponsors:
Crosley Radio, EMI Distribution, Fontana Distribution, Furnace MFG, NARM, RED Distribution, Sony Music, Universal Music Distribution, Vivendi Entertainment, WEA Distribution, and Warner Bros. Records.