I did NOT get up on Record Store Day!

Three months ago, I didn’t know what Record Store Day was.  To be honest, I didn’t even realize that record stores still existed. My boss was in complete shock and before I knew it, I was tasked to find everything I could possibly find on it. For those of you who were in the same boat as I was, according to their website, Record Store Day (or RSD to people in the business) is “the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music.”

It took me countless hours of research – I looked up general information, release sales data, bands that are known for their participation, etc. Next, I had to create a semester long marketing plan centered on a RSD release. I spent months researching and creating the perfect plan. It became a source of pride for me and I made sure to keep myself in the loop in order to fine tune my plan along the way. I followed RSD2012 on Twitter. I checked the website religiously. The date was circled in red on my calendar – I was ready to do it big.

But when April 21 finally arrived, things did not go as planned. I meant to wake up early and head into the cityto see a store open. Apparently, people wait outside for the stores to open and there are performances while people rush to get to the exclusive offers. Rather than be a part of all of that, I ended up sleeping in. In a half asleep stupor, I had decided it was an all-day event and there was no need to rush. Around 1 p.m. I got dressed, putting on my hipster boots with my lacy summer dress – trying very hard to look the part but instead looking like a brunette Taylor Swift.

Then, I switched up the plan again. I decided to visit a local record store instead of going to the city because, again, I was being lazy. My roommate decided to tag along, partly because I hinted that there might be T-shirts involved, but mostly because I’m awesome and it was a beautiful day to drive around town. By 1:30 p.m., we were on the road – windows down, jamming to the radio. We talked excitedly about what the store would look like, the performances that I’d seen scheduled online, what releases we might decide to buy.

And before I knew it, we were lost. Apparently, one wrong turn is solved by driving multiple miles on multiple highways. Welcome to New York. Eventually we found the record store. It looked awesome as we giddily pranced to the storefront. There were old posters, signs in the window and a large speaker set up outside blasting tunes. Once we walked in, we realized our RSD fantasy was not going to come true. It was dark and musty; there were LPs everywhere you looked, in no discernible order. It was clear that this store was designed for the “regulars” and not the “outsiders,” namely us. No one greeted us as we entered. Half the employees ignored us; the rest shot death glares at the two brightly dressed girls invading their territory. I think the amount of time we spent there is better counted in seconds than minutes. We took a cursory walk around the store and immediately left, practically running to the car. I was there for such a short period of time, I can’t even tell you which song was blasting from the speaker.

Before I was back in the car, I already had my phone out searching for the next nearest record store. I was determined that this much anticipated day was not going to be wasted. Google Maps sent me to Bayside and off we went, once again hitting about four different highways along the way. Pulling up to record store #2, we were more hesitant. It looked huge but we’d learned that looks could be deceiving in this industry. Cautiously, we walked in to a brightly lit store full of CDs. Even though this isn’t the traditional record store, we were instantly more comfortable.

Once again, we took a lap around the store before I found the RSD releases. They were in a box near the front of the store and there were about five different options for me to choose from, though still no T-shirt. This store hosted a live performance at 10 a.m. that morning and had been cleared out of most of their RSD exclusive inventory. I fingered through the LPs, trying to decide which one would be my purchase. I eventually narrowed in on the only option that was actually distributed by my company, figuring that I should support those who sparked my interest in the first place. Before we left, I found old N*Sync and Backstreet Boys albums for $1.79 and my nostalgia got the best of me. As I went to check out, I heard the cashier talking to another cashier about my LP. Apparently, it was a RSD release from last year that they never sold. Figures.

We drove back home rocking out to N*Sync’s “Bye Bye Bye” with not a care in the world. In spite of my utter failure in participating in the true nature of RSD, I had a blast. More than anything else, Record Store Day 2012 was an adventure to me. I learned about a whole different world from anything I’d done before. Even if I didn’t completely fit in, or do it “right,” RSD was fun for us to the very last “Bye.” Next year I will definitely want to do it again, but maybe then I’ll go for the more traditional approach. That way I’ll at least have a better shot at getting the T-shirt.