Record Breakers prepares for the 10th annual Record Store Day

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By Nicole Roberts
On April 19th, 2008,  Record Store Day was born. Since 2008, the third Saturday of April has marked a day where artists, record store employees, and music lovers alike are able to unite and celebrate vinyl records at nearly 1,400 independently owned brick-and-mortar record stores across the globe . To many collectors and lovers of physical music, the anticipation leading to Record Store Day is equivalent to the excitement of a child on Christmas.
One such record collector is Colin Brennan. Brennan has worked at Record Breakers, a Chicago record store in the South Loop, for almost nine years. In an exclusive interview with locals only, Brennan shared some insight on what goes on behind the scenes at an independent record store in preparation for this beloved music holiday.
Photo from recordstoreday.com
How long have you been working at Record Breakers?
Brennan: I have worked here for just about 9 years.
Before you worked here, did you attend Record Store Day (RSD) events?
B: I don’t think RSD existed when I started working here. I remember the first time we did RSD [at Record Breakers] and I believe that was the first one.
Do you have any favorite or memorable RSD releases or moments?
Photo from Record Breakers
B: The releases have gotten a lot better. There’s more of them-the list is huge. I really enjoy the bands we book here; that’s my favorite part of it. Getting friends to come and play and so many people come in, so it’s busy all day. It’s like a blast from the past. Record stores used to be the place people got all their music and talked about music and not only are people talking to us, the people that work here, but they’re talking to each other and everyone is so excited about what they’re finding. People trade stuff because it’s (RSD releases) all limited and that’s fun to watch. Personally, I buy one or two releases each year. I try not to be too greedy about it because I do all the ordering.
How does RSD ordering work? Do you get to order specific releases, or is that out of your control?
B: It’s called allocating. Let’s say there’s 3,000 copies made of a particular record. If every store orders 30 of them, not everyone’s getting 30. I don’t know what their algorithm is for figuring out who gets what, but I think there’s some precedence for stores that have been involved and have a relationship with these companies. Not just during RSD, but outside of RSD, I order regularly [from these companies], so I think we get a good fill that way. But with the hypothetical release where there’s only 3,000 made, if I wanna make sure that we have 20 of them, I might order 50 knowing that we’re not going to get 50.
What goes in to preparing for RSD as a brick and mortar record store?
B: It’s not so shocking anymore, but I remember the first time. When it first started, it wasn’t very busy. There was people coming out and that was cool and it was a better day than usual. But maybe 4 or 5 years ago, it started getting really busy. You start to see people that you don’t regularly see, which is cool and kind of a bummer, because we’re here another 364 days out of the year; it’d be nice to see you one of those days. But I’m not overly upset about it; at least they’re coming out.
Along with the increased turn out on RSD, have you seen an overall increase in the amount of people who come out to buy records?
B: Yeah! I think “trendy” is a fair word for it. [Vinyl] is not the way people are consuming music; it’s still a lot of Internet streaming. It has gotten more popular, and I don’t know if it’s just a trend. I think it’s something that’s a bit more staying.
Do you think RSD has contributed to this trend?
B: Definitely. It makes an event out of just going to the record store. For me, going to the record store is an event. When I’m on vacation and have an hour or two to kill, I’m gonna find a record store and see what they got. RSD makes it exciting, so I think that contributes to the overall growth of record stores.
Any specific releases or events you’re excited for this year?
B: I honestly don’t even remember what we ordered. There was so much that was coming out. I spent days just going through the list of releases. I started doing stuff for RSD back in the end of January; that’s when the order forms start coming in. You need to cross reference it because multiple people sell the same and things and you want to make sure you’re getting the cheapest one in.
Do you communicate with local stores to ensure a variety of releases across the city? Or do you work independently?
B: Independently, because no one knows what they’re getting. We still don’t know what we’re getting. We won’t know until the week before; that’s when we get invoices of what we’re getting. But until then, I just order everything and hope we get it.
Record Breakers will be open at 8am on Record Store Day and will be serving FREE coffee, donuts, hot dogs, and pop. You can find more information on the store’s RSD event here.

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