What started out as a well-intentioned celebration of an important but struggling institution has devolved into little more than an orgy of collector fetishism. I mean seriously, what is the point of a 78 RPM version of "Good Vibrations" other than to have a 78 RPM version of "Good Vibrations" that you can show to your friends and say "Look! I have a 78 RPM version of 'Good Vibrations'! It plays at 78 RPM!" And if your friends are really nice people they will pretend you have a really cool, unique and important cultural artifact, but trust me they don't really care because all you have is a pointless commodity fetish.
I still support Record Store Day in concept because real record stores are a dying breed, and I love record stores. But the concept and the reality seem more and more at odds with each passing year. When I recently stopped into my local, genuinely independent, record store (In Your Ear in Warren Rhode Island), the owner was unsure how many releases he would actually be able to get because the regional, medium-sized chain, Newbury Comics (which isn't even really a record store, but a lifestyle and accessories shop that happens to sell some records) gets priority from the people who run Record Store Day.
I'm eager to know if any of my readers actually really want the 78 RPM "Good Vibrations" (and not just because you think you might be able to sell it at a profit on eBay--see poll at right). Is a 78 RPM version of "Good Vibrations" the thing that will finally fill the hole in your life that you were always vaguely aware of, but never could fully articulate until you learned that Capitol records would be producing a special, limited-edition, 78 RPM edition of "Good Vibrations" exclusively for Record Store Day 2011, or will it just be another piece of junk that sits in your closet?
Oh yeah...the fourth annual Record Store Day will take place on Saturday, April 16, 2011. Support your local independent record store!