This is the full text of a flyer that I gave out to my customers on RSD 6/12/21. Each was signed by me.
Wax Atlas owner Andy Phillips here, adopting the first person to say what an utter dream it is to be part of such a vibrant, supportive, collaborative, and caring record community. Baltimore is a special place and every one of its record stores are run by thoughtful, caring music fans who work hard every day to bring you the best records available in any city in the world. Full stop.
As to RSD, I hope you’ll visit all the city’s treasures this week, but I hope you’ll also visit next week and the week after. I know it is well intentioned, but we need to talk about who RSD really helps, because, as it has evolved, its mission (and its name) have become a bit unclear.
As much as I like the idea of a day celebrating record stores (and exclusive releases), Record Store day is not a holiday. It’s a registered trademark attached to an LLC. It’s a business, and that’s ok. But, we’re also in business, and as a small store stocking mostly used records, we’ve never been able to afford to buy RSD products in a competitive way. Many of the stores with lines outside spend 20k-50k just on RSD releases. We’ve never spent that much in a month or even 6 months, let alone for a single event.
RSD creates an unnecessary competition between local stores that I can never hope to win. It’s an exclusive club. Many use it as a loss leader to leverage others out and/or use their large orders to get dibs on the best stuff from the distributors. I wouldn’t have a chance at the best stuff even if I did participate. So I don’t try.
Good for artists? Sure. For distributors? Definitely. For large stores? Arguably, yes. Fun for the consumer? Yep. Great for flippers in the online resale market? DEFINITELY. For the small stores that need your support most? Not so much.
Of course, that’s my problem, not yours, and I couldn’t be happier to be in this business (I don’t do it for the money anyway). But I would suggest that today, (when considering that limited Miley Cyrus 7inch outtake) that perhaps some of that money might be put to better use next week and the week after on USED records that are already in stock.
Again there’s lots of great things about Record Store Day, including how it helps artists as well as mid-size and large record stores. That’s a good thing, but what really helps my SMALL record store isn’t the hope of netting $5 on a bunch of items I had to fight to spend $25 to stock. What helps is when you buy the used treasures we’ve scoured the earth to find.
In any case, if you read this far, I’d love to offer you a 30% discount on any used items in the store…. but not today. This sheet is redeemable next weekend, the weekend after, and any time after that. Just bring it back.
We appreciate each and every person that walks in the door. Keep on coming, because every day is RSD at Wax Atlas and we’ll have killer stuff waiting for you on the floor. I’d be a shame for you to miss it. XOXO – Andy