Interview: Other Music Co-Owner Josh Madell on Record Store Day

04/14/2011 9:51 AM |

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This Saturday, April 16th, music fans all over the country will descend upon their favorite local independent shops for the fourth annual Record Store Day. This year’s list of new releases is staggering, and everyone’s list of must-haves will differ. Mine? A 7″ of Built to Spill covering “Ripple” by the Grateful Dead, the 45rpm 180-gram 2xLP reissue of Rumours, the Guided By Voices tribute LP featuring, among others, Lou Barlow, Blitzen Trapper and Thurston Moore, the reissue of Superchunk’s stupidly underrated Here’s Where the Strings Come In, the Fleet Foxes’ “Helplessness Blues” 12″ and, jeez, a whole lot more, actually. All week, we’re speaking to local record store owners about what RSD means to their business, and about how you can make the most of it. Today, we continue with Josh Madell, co-owner of the venerable Other Music.

The L: A lot has been made this year about there being too many releases, and how it actually winds up hurting the people who buy records most, in that for a number of the releases, if they don’t buy them right away, they’ll be gone forever. Do you think there’s any validity to that argument?

Josh Madell: It is no doubt an overwhelming feast of vinyl, there is a ton of stuff—I’m not sure what you are getting at though. Is it too much? No. Does it feed collector culture more than music culture? Maybe.

The L: A lot has been made this year about there being too many releases, and how it actually winds up hurting the people who buy records most, in that for a number of the releases, if they don’t buy them right away, they’ll be gone forever. Do you think there’s any validity to that argument?

Josh Madell: It is no doubt an overwhelming feast of vinyl, there is a ton of stuff—I’m not sure what you are getting at though. Is it too much? No. Does it feed collector culture more than music culture? Maybe.

The L: Last year was the first time they added a second day, on Black Friday. Was that a success as well, and would you be happy with more RSDs throughout the year?

Josh: I think it would be GREAT if labels and artists gave indie shops exclusive vinyl releases all year round, and not just on RSD. It obviously drives fans into the stores!

Forgive me if this is out of line, but would you be willing to comment, in terms of percentages for an average Saturday in the store, what effect Record Store Day has on your sales?

Josh: It could be three times our typical Saturday.

The L: Were there any releases you weren’t able to get in the store that you were hoping to?

Josh: Sure, there always are, this stuff is generally ultra-limited.

The L: Do you have any advice for people heading out to the store on Saturday?

Josh: Come early if you want a crack at the rarest of the rare – that’s just how it goes.

The L: Do you get the feeling that, despite the pledge stores were asked to sign this year, a lot of stores are guilty of holding back releases and selling them on eBay?

Josh: I’m sure many do. We don’t.

The L: Do you have anything else going on in the store on Saturday?

Josh: The first 100 fans to buy Regina Spektor’s RSD 7″ get to see her perform a private show that afternoon, which we are recording for RSD 2012.

The L: Is there one particular release you’re most excited about this year?

Josh: Bad Brains “Pay to Cum” 7″

The L: Which release do you think will be the most sought after?

Josh: I’ve probably gotten more calls and emails about Foo Fighters and Gorillaz than anything else. Maybe that’s just how their fans roll, though.