Since 2008, Record Store Day has been celebrated by vinyl-collectors around the world by congregating in large groups, cramming into independent record stores and sorting through the same stacks of records that were touched by the hundreds of customers before them. Like most things in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has drastically altered the ways in which Record Store Day is executed.
Earlier this year, it was announced that Record Store Day would instead be divided into three separate dates or “drops,” a final decision made after the original date of April 18 was rescheduled twice. The first organized drop was Aug. 29, with the second drop date of Sept. 26 quickly approaching and Oct. 24 concluding the three-day event.
Some notable releases from Aug. 29 include Mac Demarco’s “Other Here Comes the Cowboy Demos,” Tyler, The Creator’s “Cherry Bomb” and Gorillaz’s “D-Sides” and “G-Sides.” A complete list of this year’s releases and details can be found on Record Store Day’s website.
Organizers of Record Store Day and Variety have confirmed that about half the usual business was conducted due to social distancing and online orders, which has been deemed a success given the circumstances. Following Record Store Day’s first drop, vinyl album sales met a record-breaking weekly high for this year with 802,000 sold between Aug. 27 and Sept. 3, as reported by Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Data collected from The Recording Industry Association of America also found that the event helped vinyl records outsell CDs for the first time since 1986, as vinyl sales have nearly doubled that of CDs so far this year.
Despite the financial success, some music fans were met with frustration when dealing with online drops and shopping. Amoeba, the world’s largest independent record store, expected an influx of online activity, but still crashed almost immediately after their 10 a.m. drop. Though some fans were successful in getting orders through early on, the site was not back up and properly running until 2 p.m. that afternoon.
“We are going to take the time to analyze what we can do to fix it for the next drop on Sept. 26. We know that we let you guys down. We have tried to make every Record Store Day prior to this a special and exciting day for everyone, and this year fell so far short of that. We are so very sorry,” Amoeba wrote in a statement posted to Twitter the following day.
Considering the first drop was mostly a success, the kinks of executing an online Record Store Day should be worked out by the next drops on Sept. 26 and Oct. 24, providing a smooth and memorable experience for everyone.