5 Things To Know About The History Of Record Store Day
Record Store Day

Photo Credit: Halfdark


5 Things To Know About The History Of Record Store Day

Ahead of the 15th anniversary of Record Store Day on April 23, the GRAMMY Museum hosted Celebrating Record Store Day, an event that looked back at RSD’s influence on the industry. The panel also featured Metallica's Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo.

GRAMMYs/Apr 22, 2022 - 10:40 pm

On April 23, Record Store Day celebrates its 15th anniversary. Four days prior,vinyl enthusiasts and Metallica fans gathered in Los Angeles’ Clive Davis Theater on April 19 to learn about the history of Record Store Day and the GRAMMY-winning rock band's involvement in it. 

The Celebrating Record Store Day panel featured Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo, RSD Co-Founder Michael Kurtz, and Rand Foster, owner of Fingerprints Music, a beloved Long Beach, Calif. record store. Guests also got details on Hammett's debut solo EP, Portals, dropping on this year's Record Store Day, and experienced a soul-stirring two-song performance from Nilüfer Yanya.

Read on for some of the learnings from the engaging conversation celebrating 15 years of RSD.

Metallica Has Supported RSD Since Day 1

Metallica has been involved with RSD since its first iteration in 2008, and has continued to support the event over the years with exclusive RSD releases and more. The iconic band spent hours with fans at Rasputin Records in Mountain View, Calif. to kick off RSD 2008 with a bang.

Eight years later, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers played a special set of their '80s gems at Rasputin’s Berkeley location in 2016, when they served as the RSD Ambassadors. (This year’s Ambassador is Taylor Swift, who is RSD’s first global ambassador.) 

Hammett said that the Berkley Rasputin was one of his favorite record stores as a kid. He recalled begging his mom to take him so he could browse the import section for the baddest metal and hard rock from Europe. He discovered Motorhead and other bands he'd go on to love — and that would inspire a lifetime in music — by asking one of the employees there for advice on what he should check out.

Few Believed In Vinyl When RSD Was Envisioned In 2007

Kurtz and fellow RSD Co-Founder Carrie Colliton began envisioning RSD back in 2007 — right after the iconic Tower Records had closed all their stores due to bankruptcy by the end of 2006 — to support local, independent record stores. This was the era of iTunes and Napster, when digital sales of music rose as physical album sales fell; 2007 saw a 9.5 percent drop in physical album sales (in all formats) over the year prior, with digital album sales totaling 10 percent of all album sales

Interestingly, vinyl sales began to rise in 2007 as CD sales fell, with 2008 seeing sales spike to 1.88 million records — the most vinyl sales in any year since Nielsen began tracking them in 1991. Two thirds of the vinyl purchased in 2008 were from independent record stores, so clearly RSD made an impact right away.

As Kurtz explained, the business model for vinyl had been dismantled by that time, and the infrastructure was limited. Most stores they initially talked to said they needed to focus on CDs, and that centering RSD around vinyl didn't make sense. 

Foster added that one of his employees suggested removing their vinyl rack to make more room for CDs, but it was important to him to keep the record in the record store. While they had held onto that vinyl for a while, after 2008 things began to shift and they began selling them.

Read More: No Accreditation? No Problem! 10 Potential Routes To Get Into Jazz As A Beginner

RSD Has Supported A Resurgence In Jazz Reissues & Jazz Vinyl Sales

Ahead of the first RSD, Kurtz reached out to Trujillo about jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius — Trujillo was working on a documentary about him, and Kurtz had rare Super-8 footage from a concert he attended when he was just 16. This was how their friendship began, and how Metallica became an important part of RSD. It also planted a seed for rare jazz releases and reissues to become a part of the annual event. Jaco would be released in 2014 as RSD's official film that year, with an RSD exclusive for the DVD and soundtrack in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Kurtz shared that producer Zev Feldman, who manages Resonance Records, has successfully used RSD as a platform to increase interest in jazz vinyl. Since 2012, he and Resonance have issued special jazz releases for RSD, beginning with a Bill Evans live album, and it has led to a revived interest in jazz vinyl and unearthed jazz records. Foster affirmed that jazz records have sold better since it became a part of RSD.

A Conversation With Robert Trujillo Inspired Kirk Hammett's Debut Solo EP

In honor of their long relationship, the Metallica guitarist's first-ever solo release, Portals, drops on Record Store Day 2022, along with a special limited-edition ocean blue vinyl. An audience member asked Hammett if he'd release more solo music after this EP, and if he was planning on touring the project. Hammett explained that since it's filled with intricate instrumentation, he'd either have to tour with backing tapes or a very large band, and he hasn't figured out how'd he'd approach it yet.

“I didn’t plan on this [solo] album coming out, it just kind of happened," he added. "This is definitely a beginning and not an end." 

He also explained that it was Trujillo that inspired him to make it, as he wasn't really planning on making a solo project. The pair had a long call at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, which Trujillo ended by saying, “Be positive, be creative.” That really helped Hammett get through the pandemic and led to him creating the music for the EP. "This music is the soundtrack to the lives in your own heads.”

You Can Learn More About The History Of RSD In A New Book

To celebrate 15 years of RSD and its positive impact on vinyl, independent record stores, and musicians, music journalist Larry Jaffee wrote "RECORD STORE DAY: The Most Improbable Comeback of the 21st Century." Of course, there is a special RSD edition, only available at indie record stores. This version includes a vinyl compilation album of in-store performances from Brandi Carlile, Billie Eilish, Metallica and many more at Grimey's in Nashville, among other beloved record stores.

Music's Holiday: A Day In The Life At Record Store Day

HD Vinyl Albums Expected As Early As Summer 2019


HD Vinyl Albums Expected As Early As Summer 2019

Learn why the warmth of vinyl nostalgia bottled with the latest in high-definition audio technology is one step closer to reality

GRAMMYs/Apr 13, 2018 - 09:46 pm

Music lovers: Imagine the traditional warmth of vinyl augmented by higher audio fidelity and the latest technology? That's essentially the promise that "high-definition vinyl" would bring to your turntable, and it is one step closer to being delivered soon.

Dating back to 2016, a European patent filing summarized a manner of manufacturing LP records that the inventors claimed would reflect louder volume, higher frequency response, longer playing times, and overall higher audio fidelity. According to Pitchfork, Austrian-based startup Rebeat Innovation has received $4.8 million in funding to further research and development, which could bring the first HD Vinyl LPs to stores by 2019.

What exactly is HD Vinyl? Audio is converted from a high-resolution file into a 3-D topographic stamper, which is the master plate used for stamping the grooves into the vinyl. From there, the map is engraved onto a ceramic plate and the record is pressed using ceramic materials, which "ensures that there's no quality difference between the first and last copy produced."

Rebeat Innovation founder/CEO Günter Loibl describes this method as allowing for records to be made more precisely and with less loss of audio information. The results are vinyl LPs that will boast up to 30 percent more playing time, 30 percent more amplitude, and sound reproduction that is both improved and faithful to the recording.

As for next steps, Rebeat Innovation is plotting the production of test stampers for five initial pressing plants and planning to debut the technology this fall.

"Our goal is to officially present our test stampers at the Making Vinyl conference in October [in Detroit]," said Loibl, referring to the vinyl trade event held in Detroit. “It will take another eight months to do all the fine adjustments. So by summer 2019 we shall see the first HD vinyls in the stores."

With vinyl sales reaching 14.32 million in the U.S. in 2017, a 9 percent year-over-year rise,  — HD Vinyl could help bolster the format's continued sales climb.

As for more good news for vinyl lovers? HD Vinyl is 100 percent "backward" compatible, meaning they can be played any record player while still delivering on its promise of improved sonics.

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The Week In Music: March Madness

A field of 64 bands set to vie for ESPN's best rock band crown

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

March Madness is here, that captivating time of year when 68 teams set out on the Road to the Final Four in their quest for NCAA men's college basketball supremacy. This year's tournament is scheduled to get underway March 17, with brackets to be announced March 13. However, those wishing to take part in some early madness with a side of musical fun can get a head start with ESPN's Herd Rock Band Bracket, a 64-artist field devised by radio host Colin Cowherd to crown the best rock band. Formal ESPN analysis is still pending, but we'll chime in with a few first-round matchups to keep an eye on. Teen spirit and Kurt Cobain will face off against the head games of Mick Jones when Nirvana and Foreigner clash in the West: Seattle Region. It will be all pinball wizardry and anarchy when the Who and the Sex Pistols battle it out in the East: New York Region. Metal will look to bring the heat against '60s psychedelia as Metallica takes on Jefferson Airplane in the Midwest: Cleveland Region. And shred guitar prowess will duel angst-ridden prog rock as Van Halen and Tool duke it out in the Far East: London region. Upset alert: Though arguably a mismatch on paper, can Scott Stapp and the No. 16-seeded upstart Creed deliver a knockout blow to the Fab Four, the No. 1-seeded Beatles, in the Far East: London region? Fill out your brackets here. Rock's March Madness survivor will be crowned later this month.

The man who went against all odds, fronted Genesis and brought us pop gems such as "Sussudio" is calling it a career. Following an onslaught of speculation on the reasons behind his retirement, Phil Collins surfaced this week to clear the air with "breaking news" on his website. "I'm not stopping because of dodgy reviews or bad treatment in the press," said Collins. "I am stopping so I can be a full-time father to my two young sons on a daily basis." Collins did take the press to task for painting him as "a tormented weirdo…who feels very sorry for himself, and is retiring hurt because of the bad press over the years." An eight-time GRAMMY winner, Collins assured that his retirement decision was a no "straitjacket" required proposition.

If you're a musician with an appetite for rock-solid financial planning from someone who has been there, done that, you're in luck. Former Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan is launching Meridian Rock, a wealth management firm designed to educate musicians about their finances. While McKagan made a name for himself in GNR and the GRAMMY-winning rock band Velvet Revolver, he now fronts his own project, Loaded, and is fully loaded when it comes to financial credibility. After making millions with Axl, Slash and friends, in the '90s McKagan took basic finance courses at Santa Monica Community College in Southern California, and later earned a degree in finance at Seattle University. What type of clients does he think his firm can help? All are welcome, especially those musicians who may be timid. "If they're anything like me when I was 30, they're too embarrassed to ask," said McKagan. "I didn't know what a stock was [or] what a bond was."

With possibly one too many guys trying to touch her junk, Ke$ha has launched a safe-sex campaign. You may file it under just say no way, but the party animal/cannibal has issued 10,000 Ke$ha condoms with her face on them, which will be fired from a canon into the audience at her live shows (fortunately, there's nothing symbolic about that method of distribution). With Ke$ha condoms and a bottle of jack, we should be ready to go until the police shut us down, down.

When's the last time you took a ride down the western country line on a train? Better yet, when's the last time you took that ride with three indie bands? This April, GRAMMY nominees Mumford & Sons will embark on a six-stop tour with Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show. Titled The Railroad Revival Tour, these three bands will take a ride on a 1,500-foot long train featuring 15 vintage railcars pulled by two locomotives and are set to travel more than 2,000 miles across five states. The tour kicks off April 21 in Oakland, Calif., with stops in San Pedro, Calif., (April 22), Chandler, Ariz., (April 23), Marfa, Texas, (April 24), Austin, Texas, (April 26), and New Orleans (April 27). Could the railcar be the new tour bus? With gas prices these days, we're not sure if that'd be less or more costly.

While Lady Gaga was born this way, up-and-coming artist Maria Aragon was just born…10 years ago. After uploading a video of her cover of Gaga's "Born This Way" to YouTube, Aragon was invited onstage to perform a duet with the Lead Monster herself during a March 3 concert in Toronto. "Maria represents what this song is all about," said Gaga before leading into the song. "It's all about the next generation and the future and no more divisiveness, only unity." Let's hope this is a story that inspires future generations of Little Monsters. Don't be a drag, just be a queen.

Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Jennifer Lopez's "On The Floor" (featuring Pitbull) is atop the iTunes singles chart.

Any news we've missed? Comment below.

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Last Week In Music

FYI/TMI: Is Kimye Ready For North West?
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian

Photo: Denise Truscello/


FYI/TMI: Is Kimye Ready For North West?

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian rumored to name baby North; GRAMMY winners to release 2013 Record Store Day exclusives

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

(In an effort to keep you fully informed, and fully entertained, below we present today's FYI and TMI — news you need and news that's, well, sometimes needless….) 


Record Store Day Releases Announced, Track Sales Down In 2013
GRAMMY winners the Black KeysBon Jovi, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Mumford & Sons, and the Roots are among the more than 200 artists set to release Record Store Day exclusives on April 20. The list features a combination of new music, EPs, vinyl singles, and rarities. Record Store Day Ambassador Jack White will release a 10th anniversary double-vinyl edition of the White Stripes' GRAMMY-winning album, 2003's Elephant. In related music retail news, track sales are down 2 percent through March 15, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Digital albums have shown a 9 percent year-over-year increase through March 15.


Kimye Goes North West
Inspired by his last name and a geographical direction, GRAMMY winner Kanye West and girlfriend Kim Kardashian are rumored to be in love with the name North for their expected child. That would make the child's name North West, arguably the most buzzed-about baby name since Blue Ivy, the daughter of Beyoncé and Jay-Z. No word yet on North's middle name but our suggestion is Mr. West's nickname, Yeezy. 

Indie Stores, Bruce Springsteen Score With Record Store Day 2018

Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images


Indie Stores, Bruce Springsteen Score With Record Store Day 2018

Record-setting sales for RSD 2018 provide an indication that vinyl is still growing and that consumers appreciate the friendly indie retail experience

GRAMMYs/May 2, 2018 - 01:26 am

This past 11th annual Record Store Day 2018 on April 21 was set up to be a vinyl celebration like no other and sales did not disappoint.

Nielsen Music statistics for the week ending April 26 showed the best news since Christmas for vinyl, with sales of 733,000 albums. Led by Bruce Springsteen's red-vinyl-pressed Greatest Hits, this was the best-selling Record Store Day ever and the third-best week for vinyl ever since Nielsen started tracking in 1991, with the exceptions of Christmastime 2015 and 2017.

After Springsteen, best-selling vinyl albums were David Bowie's Welcome To The Blackout (Live London '78) and Neil Young's Tonight's The Night Live At The Roxy. At indie stores. the leading exclusive single was Led Zeppelin's 7-inch "Friends"/"Rock And Roll" single, followed by Bowie's "Let's Dance (Full Length Demo)."

In the lead up to this year's festivities, we interviewed record stores Academy Records, Good Records NYC and Rough Trade in New York. The consensus was that customers enjoy what has become an old-fashioned kind of retail shopping — listening, talking, hanging out, and sharing suggestions.

Indeed, this was the best sales week ever for the indie sector, moving 580,000 albums of the 733,000 total. With an overall increase of 23 percent over RSD 2017, one out of four albums for the week were sold at independent retailers. While retail vinyl is only one segment of music distribution, it looks like shopping for music the old-fashioned way is also a growing new experience.

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