A line outside of Haffa’s Records will form early before the 11 a.m. opening time as the ones who still prefer their music coming from the grooves of a record will seek out special releases for Record Store Day.
Since 2008, the day has been taking place every year during the third week of April, and has grown rapidly. The first year, about 300 record stores participated in the United States with about 10 special releases out for customers. This year, about 3,000 stores in the United States alone are participating with more than 400 releases.
“It’s a really fun day and I think it does bring the smaller stores in focus, as far as supporting them and everything,” said Andrew Lampela, owner of Haffa’s Records, 15 W. Union St. “But you know, as with everything, I think it has gotten a little bigger than its foundation can support.”
That’s because those special releases are extremely limited. Many are limited to 500 to 2,000 pressings, Lampela said — meaning if every participating store were to order a copy, they could only receive one side of the record or less.
This year, special releases include a live Devo album, alternate versions of a Gram Parsons release, a single from the movie Ghostbusters, a release of the final LCD Soundsystem concert in Madison Square Garden and the first album from alternative rock band the Pixies since 1991.
Because the spread of the merchandise is so thin, it means smaller record stores like Haffa’s can only get one or two of the titles that Lampela orders.
Figuring out what releases come in can get complicated as orders have to go in before the official release list comes out. Stores in Columbus are facing similar circumstances.
“Basically what is happening is there are more stores participating and the amount of people is going up and the demand is going up and the supply is not,” said Raad Shubaily, manager of Magnolia Thunderpussy, 1155 N. High St., Columbus.
Brett Ruland, owner of Spoonful Records, 116 E. Long St., Columbus, said 45 to 50 people will visit his store on a normal business day, but on Record Store Day, close to 400 people will rush the doors — about a month’s worth of business.
“(Low supply) is something every store faces,” Ruland said.
Even if it is challenging to get all the titles he wants to have for his store, Lampela said it is satisfying to see customers walking through the door genuinely excited about buying a physical piece of music instead of downloading a song or streaming if from a phone or computer.
“It’s fun watching people geek out on music and I really wish I could get everything that (people) wanted,” Lampela said.