Record Store Day began in 2007 as an annual springtime celebration of independently owned music shops. Three years later, it expanded to a second day: Black Friday.
Now just about every record store in town is carrying exclusive Black Friday releases, with some featuring live, in-store performances:
▪ Mike Doughty will perform an acoustic set at 7 p.m. at Mills Record Co., 4045 Broadway.
▪ David Wax Museum will perform at 3 p.m. at Vinyl Renaissance, 7932 Santa Fe Drive in Overland Park.
▪ Josey Records, 1814 Oak St., will host its second annual Black Friday block party with a food truck, beer-tasting and live music starting around 4 p.m. The shop will sell a local compilation release featuring four of the artists performing in-store that day: the Greeting Committee, Thunderclaps, Freight Train Rabbit Killer and Barrel Maker with Ben Jones.
After acquiring A&R Records, the shop now operates its own vinyl pressing facility for local compilations.
“Last Black Friday we did one; then for Record Store Day in the spring we did one,” said Christian LaBeau, the shop’s manager. “We relocated A&R and got everything running at full capacity now, so it’s all pressed at our own plant.”
LaBeau says the day is ultimately a celebration of owning a physical format of music, and not just vinyl records.
“It’s nice to see people buying music, not just downloading something or ripping it off,” said LaBeau.
Stores prepare for Black Friday months in advance by requesting titles from distributors, but they are not always guaranteed to carry every title, so check in advance.
“Before the public knows what the releases are, I have to make my orders,” said Kelly Corcoran, owner of Love Garden Sounds in Lawrence. “I have to use my historical understanding of ‘Is this record interesting? Will people want it?’ You use your own instinct, really.”
New music is released on Fridays, but the increased foot traffic during Record Store Day Part 2 helps foster interest in the used vinyl that often makes up the majority of a shop’s inventory and determines a store’s long-term success.
“It kicks off the season for everybody,” said Promise Clutter of Revolution Records at 1830 Locust St. “From then on, we start seeing a steady stream of people.”
“It’s a valuable tool for record stores,” said Erik Voeks of Vinyl Renaissance.
“Our approach is: Let’s do a good job presenting the records people want, and we’ll be here for people that day as much as any other day,” said Corcoran, whose shop will also be hosting an art exhibition with New Yorker cartoonist Jack Ziegler during Lawrence’s monthly Final Fridays.
For Mills Record Co. it’s a weekend-long celebration that includes Small Business Saturday.
“Being an independently owned business, that’s important to me,” said owner Judy Mills. “I believe in that. My goal for the day is to meet new friends and build new relationships.”
“I talk to a lot of people who visit from other cities that don’t have the variety and number of record stores Kansas City has,” said Ann Stewart, co-owner of Records With Merritt at 1614 Westport Road. “It’s a great selection and a bunch of wonderful business owners who support each other.”
Josey Records, Mills Record Co., Revolution Records, Records With Merritt and the Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven all open at 8 a.m. on Black Friday. Vinyl Renaissance and Love Garden Sounds open at 10 a.m.