So tomorrow is Record Store Day, and a bunch of artists will be releasing limited edition records to "celebrate the unique culture of independently owned record stores". Now, is it just me, or does the whole thing seem a little counterproductive? Implying that physical formats are only interesting when they're rare and/or collectable turns stores into eBay showrooms. For example, last year Blur released the Fool's Day EP, and rather than run home with it and treasure it, most people just slung it on eBay, where it was selling for £150.
"Come to our record store and fight over a 7" picturedisc that you'll never play and will end up selling for ten times the original price!" – is this really the message that record stores want to be putting out? They're hammering in the final nails themselves.
Surely a more productive way of boosting the record industry would be to address the fact that there are hardly any affordable record players out there. Aside from a couple of naff looking things in Urban Outfitters, you can't pick up anything to play your records on for under £100 – at least, not without having a bunch of other stereo equipment to attach it to. I would love an all-in-one record player on which top play my old Blondie LPs, but apparently that's simply out of the question. I'm tempted by this Steepletone model, but actually seeing one in the flesh is basically impossible. I was laughed at recently by a staff in a high street store (I won't say who, as they very nicely got in touch and apologised since then) for asking about – in their words – a "gramophone". Charming.
Sort out the players, and the format will sell. Excitedly emphasise the format's scarcity and … goodbye vinyl. It was nice spinning you.