Banquet Records’ Jon Tolley discusses the importance of Record Store Day

The shop owner from Kingston-upon-Thames says the extra business is not the only benefit

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19/04/18: Jon Tolley, owner of Banquet Records in Kingston-upon-Thames, talks about Record Store Day ahead of the annual event.

The Banquet Records team outside the shop in Kingston-upon-Thames on last year's Record Store Day. Picture credit: Banquet Records.

The Liberal Democrat councillor and indie store champion has sung the praises of the celebration for the help it gives small, sometimes struggling businesses.

He has written this for UK Music ahead of this year's event, which takes place on Saturday:


April 21st is Record Store Day! The annual event of not only physical music, but also of how we buy it.

Making its way to the UK just over a decade ago, what started as a small scale celebration of record shops, has turned into the event which we base our business year around.

It’s a simple premise. On the day hundreds, literally hundreds, of limited release records (vinyl releases in the main) get a release available only in independent record shops across the country.

No pre-orders, no online orders, nothing from Amazon or HMV. You had to queue up in a first come first serve style.  Our customers will start queueing the night before to be there when we open at 8am on the day.

There’s a reason it’s called Record ~Store~ Day and not Vinyl Day. The day is set to help the shops who may well struggle the rest of the year. And it IS a help.

It’s not just the financial injection it gives record stores. We’ll take more in the 9 days from April 21-29 then we will in November and December combined. Obviously the till ringing is important, but it’s not the only benefit.

On Record Store Day people have to come in the shop they might otherwise walk past. There’s national news about our little old shops. The very fact that this article is even being written and shared is testament to that.

People queue, they talk, they interact, and they fall in love with the experience of buying physical records all over again. It’s real, based on humans and personalities, not algorithms, and not Cambridge Analytica.

As people consume music rather than experience it. As the race to the bottom intensifies, record shops are the perfect antidote. I’ll always believe in the record shop. In browsing. In discovering. In supporting the businesses that support things that are important to you. Record Store Day is about just that.

I urge you to get to yours not just this Saturday, but every week, and fall in love with buying records all over again.

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