Hundreds of Music Retailers Celebrate Annual Record Store Day

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An Illinois man is seen digging through cardboard boxes containing collector's sets of old '78 vinyl records for sale at the 23rd annual "Music Mart for Lou Gehrig's Disease" on Sept. 14, 2000. (Credit: Tim Boyle/Newsmakers)

Like phone booths and typewriters, record stores are a vanishing breed — another victim of the digital age.

Camelot Music. Virgin Megastores. Wherehouse Music. Tower Records. All of them gone.

Corporate America has largely abandoned brick-and-mortar music retailing to a scattering of independent stores, many of them in scruffy urban neighborhoods. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Yes, it’s harder in the Spotify era to find a place to go buy physical music. But many of the remaining record stores are succeeding — even thriving — by catering to a passionate core of customers and collectors.

On Saturday, hundreds of music retailers will hold events to commemorate Record Store Day, an annual celebration of, well, your neighborhood record store. Many stores will host live performances, drawings, book signings, special sales of rare or autographed vinyl and other happenings. Some will even serve beer.

To their diehard customers, these places are more than mere stores: They are cultural institutions that celebrate music history (the entire Duran Duran oeuvre, all in one place!), display artifacts (Aretha Franklin on vinyl!), and nurture the local music scene (hey, here’s a CD by your brother’s metal band!).

They also employ knowledgeable clerks who will be happy to debate the relative merits of “Blood on the Tracks” and “Blonde on Blonde.”

Or maybe, like Jack Black in “High Fidelity,” just mock your lousy taste in music.

So if you’re a music geek, drop by. But you might think twice before asking if they stock “I Just Called to Say I Love You.”

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