AllMusic.com’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine joins us to discuss where music consumption and vinyl culture are going.
With the annual Record Store Day celebration returning on April 16, I sat down with longtime music critic, AllMusic senior pop editor, and current Madison resident Stephen Thomas Erlewine to talk about how the culture and business surrounding independent record stores are changing. (Full disclosure: I’m helping to put on a RSD event this year in partnership with MadCity Music Exchange, where I used to work.) Much as I enjoy record stores generally, and especially the great variety of independent music stores Madison has for a city of its size, I do worry about where all this is going, and so does Tom.
A few things are happening as we head into the 10th RSD. As the vinyl resurgence persists, record pressing plants are overwhelmed. A few people are working on changing that, but basically the physical infrastructure can’t keep up with demand from everyone who wants to put out vinyl records—or at least can’t turn all the orders around in a timely manner. That’s due in part, but not entirely, to bigger labels rushing to get in on the action, and to the large numbers of Record Store Day exclusives, which range from pretty great to just plain silly. And new vinyl records are getting more expensive, mostly through no fault of the record stores themselves.
Despite the issues, there’s still a lot worth cherishing about independent music stores and everyone should buy the hell out of good music, whether there’s a special day for it or not. Listen to my conversation with Tom below.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and catch WORT-FM’s weeknight news show In Our Backyard, which partners with us to produce these. Thanks to Dylan Brogan for producing this interview.