When I'm not busy solving legal problems and dealing with the day-to-day realities of running a law office, I like to support local artists, particularly local musicians. On April 19, 2013, I took off my lawyer hat, let my hair down, and thoroughly enjoyed Record Store Day at Cactus Music, one of the few independent record stores left in Houston. Record Store Day is an annual event that started in 2007 as a way to honor the independent record store. In the era of digital music and i-Tunes, Record Store Day is a delightful change of pace that puts the focus on the institution that was once the center of the musical universe for artists and their fans.
Small independent music stores have been on the decline for a number of years due to the advent of digital file sharing and music storage, but a recent upswing in vinyl sales may be turning the tide. At Cactus Music, Record Store Day was celebrated in style: t-shirts, merchandise, and of course, records were on sale the entire day while local DJs thrilled us with their tunes, and St. Arnold's brewery offered free beer (with no tip jar!) to anyone of legal drinking age. People mingled, and I met The Suffer's lead singer Kam Franklin who graciously pointed me in the direction of a free 7″ record from Bagheera.
This seven-year tradition has ushered in a new era for vinyl music; vinyl record sales skyrocketed to 9.4 million in 2013, representing 3% of all albums sold. Due to the off-the-grid nature of record sales, the actual sales volume of vinyl records may be grossly under-reported. Whatever the numbers may be, vinyl is making a come back, and events like Record Store Day make casual music lovers like myself and serious collectors quite happy to be part of the renaissance.
For more information about Record Store Day, check out this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/19/arts/music/record-store-day-underscores-a-small-renaissance.html?_r=0