From the barstool of the publisher

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Y’all actually listened to me!

Last month on this page, I told you about a story written in another publication about Andy Schneidkraut, the owner of Albums on the Hill, in Boulder. I complimented the story and told you to go see Andy and to learn about music in a very hands-on way that you absolutely can’t get at the iTunes store.

Well, I went into Albums on the Hill on Saturday, April 17, Record Store Day, and according to Andy, you folks listened, big time. He said that day alone was the busiest he’s had “by far” in over 10 years. Andy hasn’t exactly been a pillar of happiness lately, as he watches the business he grew and the industry he embraced slowly implode around him, but on this day the man was down-right exuberant, almost bouncing around his store. And, from the looks of it, Andy and Albums weren’t the only ones. It was announced the following Monday that Record Store Day this year, across the country, was “bigger than Christmas.”

In a press release from Good Cop PR, it was reported that Music Monitor Network (MMN) retailers enjoyed a 41 percent gain over last year’s sales and a staggering 109 percent gain over the previous Saturday.

Not only does this mean some coin in the pockets of retailers, but more importantly, it means that music fans once again have tangible products proudly in their hands. MMN credited some special Record Store Day releases with the spike in sales but, ultimately, put the success on the music fans. Record Store Day co-founder Chris Brown said in the release, “There is a lesson here for the music industry: Focus on the music fans and treat them right and they will come out. Boy, will they come out.”

The success is utterly amazing and awesome to me. I think that we may be on the verge of something really great from the record industry for the first time in decades. As consumers, we have the power to control what they offer and, for years, we’ve been saying, ‘No thanks, I’ll get it faster and easier on the web. Now, with the labels scrambling, we, as fans, stand to reap some incredible benefits as they bend over backwards to lure us back in. I think they’ve seen that crappy production and cheap packaging are turnoffs, and whether it’s a change to what we hold in our hands, or the contents within, I think quality can only go up.

See you at the shows.

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