For the past three days since the ever growing “holiday” of Record Store Day happened, my news feed on various social media outlets has been flooded by an ever present article from Axl (pictured above in his metal glory). The general gist of the story is that NAILS’ Todd Jones doesn’t like Record Store Day; and in all honest neither should you. I’m going to breakdown exactly what’s wrong with the article and Record Store day in general.
The gist of the problem is one many bands face gearing up in the face of the ever devouring machine known as “The Big Studios”. In the months leading up to Record Store Day at least for the last few years major labels have been flooding pressing plants with limited edition (and by that I mean only a million copies minted!) albums you probably already own or can buy cheaper at the shop already. This leaves independent or self-distributed artists out in the cold and money essentially locked in escrow forever.
Let me put it this way, I own a small label and we do occasionally press vinyl, normally in 100-200 batch run. Now even at 100 LPs that’s still costing me over 3k to press, do you think a major pressing plant is going to rush order my job over a copy of Atreyu’s greatest hits? Of course not. What’s 100 vs 1 million. So now I get to wait months and months while whatever drivel Jack White is pushing out in tye dye vinyl gets rushed straight through in time for the magic “Record Store Day”
Record Store Day by itself isn’t a bad concept. In fact, it was a great one. A day dedicated to going to your local brick house record store buying some LPs and getting something cool. The problem is that LPs now outsell CDs, and the major studios are all but eager to take advantage of the collector scum market to get some great big bucks out of the process. After all, what’s going to get new customers to a store quicker than a reissue picture of the Sex Pistols?
What’s even worse is the fact that not only can I go into just about any brick store I could find that album for under $3.50, but now it’s all fair, we have the picture disc! And it’s only $22.99! Take a look through the exclusives, they’re all probably albums you already own or albums you find in the vinyl section of the Goodwill. What’s even worse is that Axl, again as pictured above in all his metal glory with Samurai Cop at Lolicon or whatever paedophile convention that happens to be taken at doesn’t understand, of all the “exclusives” the only really metal thing listed in an Anthrax 7″, but knowing Axl he’s probably counting the Atreyu and Five Finger Death Punch albums as well.
But I’m not here to get off on a tangent or post memes like other blogs, I’m here simply to say this; NAILS has an album ready to go but can’t be pressed because everyone is pressing the greatest hits of the Clash or assembling a Nirvana Boxset of material you’ve already heard (only this time… it was recorded on a tape deck!) There’s nothing unique or special, there’s nothing that brings new people in. It’s shit for collectors and people thinking picture discs and limited super special glow in the dark editions are worth something, or well, hipsters. I’d also like to take the time time to point out that NAILS is traditionally a powerviolence/grind band so posting some idiotic black metal photo is ridiculous.
You know, a lot of people who know me know I love two things, metal and comics. But let’s take a page from “the industry that does it right”, of course I mean comics. Sure, it’s crass, it’s capitalistic, and it serves only to get more readers for a month or so, but damn it at least comic book day does it right. None of this omnibus $200 special limited edition bullshit. Hell, you get free 0 issues and #1, on any given comic book day you can walk out with not only a shit load of free books from indies and the big two, but a lot of discounted back issues. That’s an industry that managed to capitalize it’s audience, draw in new people, and do it in a way that doesn’t push any books aside with only one distro and 3 printers in the entire US.
I admit, I’m guilty of being collector scum, I needed the first copy of Faith No More’s Sol Invictus on cassette and vinyl, and I needed the original issues of James Robinson’s Starman run; but at least on Comic Book Day I don’t see people with shitty blogs making fun of artists (when they themselves probably couldn’t write a song much less an album) for legitimate complaints about an industry that’s built entirely around the idea that idiots buy idiot things. To put it another way, will someone walk in and say, “What’s this Flaming Lips jive? Might want to pony up a few hundred for a box set of glow in the dark vinyls to find out.” Is saying,”look we have all your old shit, only it’s on slightly higher grade vinyl and also, we’re going to make sure you don’t get new shit you have not heard just so you can re-buy Straight Out of Compton again”, a way to get people in vinyl or even into a music store? Of course not.
Everyone hates buying the same shit twice, even if it’s been remixed in dolby digital 5.1 surround. And in the end, if the goal is to bring new people into stores, or even bring people into stores in general give them something new, not something they can find there already. Give them incentive beyond “it’s a different color now”. And if your goal is to be a writer than don’t bitch about a band for having a legitimate grievance with a broken system; and definitely don’t poke fun at them. Until then true believers, I’ll simply say this; take a note from the industry that manages to get a new audience with new material even if it means pressing on cereal box presses (Yeah, Charlton Comics did that. Give the buyer something new, not the same old shit. I’ll enjoy DC Rebirth #0, Record Store Day can enjoy paying 30 bucks for the same Ragina Specktor album you already bought 5 years ago, or a copy of “The Shaggs” 7″ which, let’s be honest you only really want because at one point Frank Zappa said they were brilliant and it’ll impress your friends! End rant! Here’s NAILS!