RVA Record Store Day presses into year 10 with strong sales, community

Posted at 2:24 PM, Apr 21, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. -- Home to many record shops, flea markets, and yard sales, Richmond has become a leading destination for record collectors up and down the East Coast.

With the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day, Richmond store owners will not only celebrate what has become the annual holiday for vinyl aficionados but will also celebrate how the record store is common ground for many Richmond friends and musicians.

"It recognizes the record store as a viable place to go other than the internet," says Marty Key, co-owner of record shop/apparel store Steady Sounds/Blue Bones. "It's a place for finding out about new music, about discovering new music and about meeting people who like the same type of music you like."

All record shops across town will participate in the event. Expect limited, special edition records from artists like Sharon Jones, The Eagles, and Andre 3000 -- along with hundreds of other records that will be released, some for the first time on wax. See a list of national RSD releases here.

The used bins across the city will be filled with gems while live music and DJ sets will take place at most locations.

Deep Groove owner Jay Leavitt in deep concentration after store hour prepping for the big day. Photo: Brice Maddox

"Record Store Day is a gateway opportunity for small businesses like record stores to interact with new folks," says Chris Pittman from Deep Groove Records, a record store in the Fan district. "It's big names in the rock, soul and jazz echelon of history."

Plan 9 Music will have local performers on their live stage, along with WNRN DJ's from Charlottesville.

Steady Sounds will feature sets by DJ Mike Murphy, of WRIR 97.3 FM, and DJ Lonnie B from Power 92 FM.

Deep Groove is giving away a free turntable (courtesy of Audio Exchange).


This year, RSD arrives amid a trend that industry considers a national vinyl boom.

In 2016, shipments of vinyl albums were up 4% to $430 million and comprised 26% of total physical shipments at retail value – their highest share since 1985, based on data from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Though record sales might be spinning round the right direction, industry revenues are still only about half what they were in 1999, and revenues from more traditional unit-based sales (physical products and digital downloads) continued to decline significantly, the RIAA says.

Currently, there are several independent record stores in the city, a testament to Richmond's generous crate-digging scene. Listeners often attribute sound and pure nostalgia as reasons why listeners have gotten back into the wax.

"Some of it is memories of the times," says Carol Olson, president and talk show host at WRIR. "Some of it is the sound, it seems more full."

Steady Sounds/BlueBones co-owner Marty Key a day before the pandemonium. Photo: Brice Maddox

A hungry Virginia music scene -- across all genres -- is also looking for inspiration for the next jam.

"Within the last five years it's grown so much in everything, from rock, to indie rock, punk and especially hip-hop, there's so many talented producers and emcees coming out of Richmond right now, more than ever," says Key.

The resurgence of the vinyl medium is a musical blast from the past, but it has shown to help shape the next generation and their musical tastes, especially in Richmond.

"It's fantastic," says Bob Schtick, buyer for Plan 9. "It actually gets people back in the store, to buy the physical good, buy the physical item."

Which is certainly a rallying cry to join fellow vinyl shoppers on April 22, 2017.



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