Vinyl enthusiasts prepare for Record Store Day

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By Marina Csomor
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

EAST LANSING — In 35 years of business, Flat, Black & Circular owner Dave Bernath has never made more sales than he did on Record Store Day last year.

“It’s a big day,” Bernath said.

On April 21, more than 700 independently owned record stores throughout the country, including Flat, Black & Circular, 541 East Grand River Ave., will celebrate Record Store Day 2012. And after the success of last year’s celebration, Bernath’s excitement for the event is building.

“We’re planning on (doing) even better this year,” Bernath said.

Record Store Day entices both new and old customers to visit small, independent record shops, said Heather Frarey, owner of The Record Lounge, 111 Division St.

“It brings notice to all the indie record shops,” Frarey said. “It brings notice to vinyl.”

Schuler Books & Music also will celebrate Record Store Day at its Okemos and Lansing locations, as will Replay Entertainment Exchange, 1385 E. Grand River Ave.

This event was founded in 2007 by a group of vinyl enthusiasts.

“Independent record stores got together as a way to wave a flag saying, ‘Hey, we’re still here. Records are still cool,’ because … Best Buy (and) Walmart were killing all the small stores,” Bernath said.

Many musicians release special vinyl and CD products on Record Store Day. This year, more than 200 recordings will be released by artists including Animal Collective, The Black Keys, Lana Del Rey, Paul McCartney and The Civil Wars. Frarey expects customers to be waiting in line outside her store before it opens Saturday in anticipation of these new items.

Some record stores also will give away promotional items, while others will hold concerts in honor of the day. The Record Lounge will host a benefit concert featuring local acts from 7-11 p.m. to support families affected by the Dexter, Mich., tornado that devastated parts of Southeast Michigan in March.

Vinyl enthusiast Andrew Moore, a Michigan State University graduate student, said he is looking forward to Record Store Day. People celebrate the event because vinyl is one of the best ways to listen to music, Moore said.

“It’s music it its purest form,” Moore said. “It’s just the vibrations coming off the record through the needle and out the speakers, and everything after that is kind of a copy of what you can get on vinyl.”

Bernath hopes Record Store Day will remind people of the value of engaging other music lovers in a record store, which he considers better than visiting a big retailer or downloading music from the Internet.

“(By not visiting independent shops,) they’re missing out on the store experience,” Bernath said. “You hear something in a store, you talk to the people — it’s different.”

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