For nearly a decade, the third Saturday in April has become an unofficial holiday for vinyl collectors and music enthusiasts across the globe.
On Saturday, April 16, 2016, eager crate diggers will once again set their alarms early in anticipation of Record Store Day, a music community celebration which aims to gather artists, customers, and staff to celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these independently owned stores play in their communities. Each year, limited edition vinyl and CD titles are made available exclusively for the event. with many of the stores also running special sales throughout the day.
In Canada, an appetite for high-quality sound, artwork and a tangible product has lead to soaring vinyl sales. In 2015, vinyl posted its tenth consecutive year of sales growth, and experienced its biggest overall vinyl sales total in the SoundScan era, with a sales increase of 30% over 2014.
According to IFPI’s 2016 Global Music Report, Canada ranks #5 in top global vinyl sales, pushing 1.3 million units in 2015. Despite the sales surge, vinyl remains a niche portion of the physical market, which contributed 35% to Canada’s recorded music revenue in 2015 largely driven by CD sales. In 2015, digital revenue surged to 52% of Canada’s market share due to the rise in streaming service subscriptions. However, for labels and artists, the revenue generated from the sale of vinyl remains far greater than the revenue generated from free, ad-supported streaming services, due to what is known as the “value gap.”
While vinyl’s resurgence is excellent news for labels and artists, the few remaining North American pressing plants are struggling to keep up with the demand as aging equipment can lead to unforeseen delays for new releases. In 2015, Canada Boy Vinyl in Calgary, AB, opened its doors and is currently listed as the only vinyl pressing plant in Canada.
In Toronto, ON, a new startup aims to fix the issue of plant delays and their backlog of orders. Viryl Technologies, who will join Alan Cross on a panel for a free Record Store Day Music-Technology Meet Up, has developed their prototype “The Warmtone”, which uses digital technology to press up to three records per minute, an increase from the industry standard 35 seconds per unit.
Regardless of production delays, over 150 stores across Canada will participate in Record Store Day, stocked with thousands of new and vintage titles ready to be spun. The full list of participating Canadian record stores can be found at Record Store Day Canada’s website.