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No. 157 June 2017

RECORD STORE DAY 2017 | CRACOW
WHAT'S NEXT?

When: April 22nd 2017

Where:
Music Corner | ul. Św. Tomasza 4
Paul’s Boutique Store | Miodowa 4/7

Personnel:
Dragan Solaja (Solaja Audio)
Tomek (Krakowskie Towarzystwo Soniczne)
Wojtek Pacuła („High Fidelity”)

information@recordstoreday.com
recordstoreday.com

RECORD STORE DAY 2017 | CRACOW

Tomek (KTS), even though he holds some vinyl records in his hand he actually went there to ask about special CD releases, a bit of unorthodox behavior :)

en years ago, in 2007, the first edition of the Record Store Day event took place. The idea was to "celebrate the culture of independent vinyl stores" (source: recordstoreday.com ). In the United States alone, where this idea came from to us, there are over 1400 such places. Around the world - tens of thousands.

This noble idea initially attracted niche stores and record labels who prepared for this one day special editions of often previously unreleased recordings or differing from the regular selections of songs or versions. Over time, when it turned out to be a great way to promote places and artists, also big companies joined the initiative, somewhat perverting the original idea. It started a debate whether this way of promoting music on vinyl had any future.

But it's no use crying over spilt milk, because although changed, the idea is still alive. It is about promoting vinyl records and listening to music played from them. Let me repeat that one more time – it is still sort of a celebration, an example of the triumph of ideas over matter. Vinyl nowadays is one of the icons of popular culture. Every year, we participate in this event, spending a lot of money, helping numerous stores and labels this way and building up our records collections.

As every year the Music Corner prepared a special promotion – every second album bought this day (not only LP) was 50% cheaper.

Cracow has joined this event relatively recently and not without a resistance (more HERE, HERE http://www.highfidelity.pl/@numer--68&lang= and HERE). As we mentioned in the past, only a small percentage of all titles get here, and even those that do quickly disappear. One of the stores we visit every year is the Music Corner on St. Tomasz Street 4. This year, big labels were present and some records by Sony, Warner and Universal were available. As the owner told me, something happened with the distribution of small labels, so this year's RSD was dominated by so-called “majors”. It's like turning the whole ides of Record Store Day upside down.

Nothing has changed in regard of the information availability over the past three years. When I called the Music Corner on Tuesday, no one was able to tell me what titles would be available, because publishers were not willing to share this information, taking us by surprise, sending whatever they had at hand. "Maybe in the afternoon on Friday we will know something" I heard. Calling another place where this year's Record Store Day was celebrated was a different, more pleasant experience. I mean the small Paul’s Boutique Store, located in Kazimierz, on Miodowa 4/7.

Dragan (Solaja Audio) with his wife – it seems they enjoyed their stay in Cracow and that they might come back to us.

Why was this call more pleasant one? Not because I got a list of available titles there, as they also didn't have it, but because a day later I received a text message telling me when exactly the list would be made available. When I came to the shop on Saturday at around 12.00 pm I was not alone. I have not mentioned it before, but in our pilgrimage Dragan Solaja with his wife kept us company. Dragan is an owner and designer of Belgrade-based Solaja Audio. They came to Cracow to meet me and bring me their amplifier for a review (it is scheduled for June).

On Saturday April 22nd, Kazimierz was full of people. The cold weather did not scare them away, and seemingly the sun dazzled them enough to occupy almost every square inch of the former Jewish quarter. The situation inside Paul's Boutique Store was quite the same. This is a new antique shop, small but well stocked. I've gone through a lot of records and I have to say that the descriptions of the quality of the vinyls and their covers placed on the stickers were quite accurate. I could not resist and I bought the Fanfare for the Warriors by The Art Ensemble of Chicago and I will probably go back there for more.

There was quite a crowd inside PBS, including lot of women. Shop offered nice discounts up to 15% that day.

The boutique's atmosphere was just what you'd expect on Record Store Day. On the upper floor DJ played some music, in front of the shop, in the gate, there were boxes with records, and inside a huge crowd. The information about this “party” could be found on posters placed around Kazimierz. The posters were designed and printed by PBS guys. Interestingly they did not use the official RSD logo, instead they prepared their own. A downside was a small selection of titles prepared for this day - it seems that the "majors" did not realize yet that a new important customer had appeared on the map of Cracow. For us they seem like a good source of music on vinyl. I hope next year that will change and PBS will be able to offer much more interesting titles…

WHAT'S NEXT?

The Record Store Day was not supposed to get so commercialized, claims Bartek Chaciński in his blog Polifonia.blog.polityka.pl. But it's just the way it is that when a new idea succeeds and creates an opportunity to make some money of it major players get involved and the independent idea become a mainstream one. Record Store Day is still not in the mainstream, but it became big enough (perhaps for now mostly outside Cracow) that it began to live its own life. So does it make any sense to continue RSD? Or maybe the 10th anniversary is a good moment to let it go knowing that the vinyl records has been popularized so there is no use to keep doing it?

If the vinyl is a niche product for us, then yes, it's time to end pretending we're doing something for "independent" ones. Major labels make most money of it and people who buy records only to sell them on eBay. By participating in this event we are helping them to make more money. I am not sure though, if this is a approach. It seems that vinyl will remain with us for a long time not only as a gadget and part of the popular culture ecosystem. I believe that it will be a part of the music market for a long time as one of the ways to listen to music using a physical medium. And it will not be a niche product at all.

If that's the case, then the Record Store Day should be held annually, or rather twice a year, because there is also the so-called Black Friday, until the end of the world. The already mention Bartek Chaciński indicates that perhaps a parallel event should be organized, or maybe an "event inside event" designed for truly independent, small, niche shops, publishers and artists. It would even make sense because the RSD has large enough potential to promote something more than just itself.

A live act was happening upstairs in PBS.

That is why I already know that next year I will go with my friends to as many Cracow stores, as will participate in this event, I'll spend a lot of money, drink some beer later, I will talk to many people, and later at home for another month or two I will get acquainted with my RSD purchases. Even if I know that someone is using this event for their advantage while perhaps they shouldn't it is still difficult to resist the magic of the special releases available on this one, single day. So see you next year!

Purchases

Below you will find a list of albums I bought for myself and chief editor of our news section, Bartek:

  • AIR, Le soleil est pres de moi, Parlophone | Warner Music France 95857370, splatter-vinyl, maxi 12” LP
  • Curtis Knight feat. Jimmy Hendrix, Live at George’s Club 20, Sony Music Entertainment 85-41017-1, 2 x 180 g LP
  • Def Leppard, The Def Leppard E.P., Mercury Records/Universal Music 5726672, 180 g LP
  • Dmitri Shostakovich, Cello Concerto No. 2, wyk. Mstislav Rostropovich, Warner Classic, No. 0594/3000, picture disc

  • Fleetwood Mac, Alternate Mirage, Warner Bros. Records 2794091, 180 g LP
  • John Coltrane, The Roulette Sides, Roulette/Parlophone | Warner Music SR-52125, 10” LP
  • Prince, Batdance (from Batman), Warner Bros. Records 9212570, maxi 12” LP
  • Santana, Woodstock. Saturday August 16, 1969, Sony Music | Legacy 5195551, 180 g LP

  • The Beatles, Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever, Apple/Universal Music 5738561, 7” SP
  • Tolga Kashif, The Queen Symphony, Warner Classic 9586215, 2 x 180 LP

THIRTEEN YEARS

Exactly thirteen years ago, on May 1, 2004, the first issue of "High Fidelity" was published. Back then it was called "High Fidelity OnLine" (you can find all archived articles, sorted by years and numbers in ARCHIVE). From the very beginning it was conceived as a magazine released monthly, and so it was also registered in the National Library, which was to distinguish it from numerous portals. It was supposed to combine the best features of printed magazines, reliability, credibility on one hand and the aesthetics on the other, with an easy access proved by Internet.

Since then the world has changed and even more so the virtual one. Even the spelling of the word 'internet' changed from the 'Internet', which described a particular technical solution (its own name) because it has become a common noun, something ubiquitous, having a greater scope than just a network connecting computers. And that's because the amount of information available within a single click of a mouse is stunning.

This leads to a paradoxical situation - there is too much information, hence it becomes a noise (distortion). Finding the information we seek requires prior preparation, otherwise what we get are just pieces, shreds, gibberish. The level of disinformation and lies is unbelievable. And yet the Network was created so that scientists could exchange information, i.e. send important and real facts, findings and so on to each other...

I hope that "High Fidelity" for you is a place where you can feel safe and be sure that no one will ever lie to you. We convey our own interpretation of what we hear and see so we can not guarantee that you will perceive same products in exactly the same way. You can be sure of one thing though: what you read here is always as honest as it can be.

I would like to thank you, readers and supporters of "High Fidelity" for these thirteen years we spent together. It seems like a long time but we are just getting started :)

WOJCIECH PACUŁA
Chief editor

About Us

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Our reviewers regularly contribute to  “Enjoy the Music.com”, “Positive-Feedback.com”“HiFiStatement.net”  and “Hi-Fi Choice & Home Cinema. Edycja Polska” .

"High Fidelity" is a monthly magazine dedicated to high quality sound. It has been published since May 1st, 2004. Up until October 2008, the magazine was called "High Fidelity OnLine", but since November 2008 it has been registered under the new title.

"High Fidelity" is an online magazine, i.e. it is only published on the web. For the last few years it has been published both in Polish and in English. Thanks to our English section, the magazine has now a worldwide reach - statistics show that we have readers from almost every country in the world.

Once a year, we prepare a printed edition of one of reviews published online. This unique, limited collector's edition is given to the visitors of the Audio Show in Warsaw, Poland, held in November of each year.

For years, "High Fidelity" has been cooperating with other audio magazines, including “Enjoy the Music.com” and “Positive-Feedback.com” in the U.S. and “HiFiStatement.net”  in Germany. Our reviews have also been published by “6moons.com”.

You can contact any of our contributors by clicking his email address on our CONTACT  page.

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