Today is record store day. A day to pay tribute to a fading American institution and one that is near and dear to my heart. Why? My dad has a record store. A vinyl only record store where there is not a CD in sight. Before my child was born I was beholden by the code of family responsibility to help out at the store on weekends. And one thing became very clear, kids today don’t know what records are.
Almost every weekend a parent would wander into the shop with their wide-eyed offspring. And inevitably there would be a big question mark above the kid’s head, and then they ask their mom or dad “what are these things?”
The round black pieces of plastic looked more akin to a Frisbee than a precursor to the compact disc. Parents would treat these items like icons of days long gone by, describing them as antiques. They’d talk about how “long ago” people would listen to these black plastic circles and how a needle would be placed on them while a machine turned the plastic and music would come out. An abstract concept for many a kid. But even though the final nail should have been put on vinyl’s coffin years ago, there is still a market. Stores like my dad’s are still in business, and a day like today’s Record Store Day pays tribute to the platform and to those who sell them. Popular artists like Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Adele are even releasing limited edition vinyl records to celebrate the day. So today, take your kids out to your local record store and teach them about the LP and how it is – literally – long playing. Records may be down, but they are not out.