Record Store Day

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Alternate Routes: Tidal’s Music Discovery Problems, RSD’s Silver Lining in Ork Records Reissues

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Alternate Routes is a column from Flavorwire contributor and WFMU DJ Jesse Jarnow, in which he’ll explore music solely distributed outside the Big 3 of Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon.

The highest-profile new alternate route of 2015 is easily the celeb-endorsed hi-fi streaming service Tidal, presenting a would-be challenge to iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon with the glittering attraction of music unavailable elsewhere. The notion of an artist-owned platform that doubles as a label is enticing, though perhaps music is not what they meant when advertising “exclusive content and experiences.” Two months in, the $9.99/month site only offers two recordings that would obviously qualify as original releases in a proper discography, a pair of new live non-albums by Jay Z and Jack White — archived streams technically, with neither tracklists nor backing musician credits — captured weeks apart in Manhattan and Fargo, North Dakota, respectively.
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What Most Music Fans Don’t Realize About Record Store Day

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Rule #1 among the indie record-label folks I know: don’t talk about Record Store Day at social gatherings. The annual event — this Saturday marks its eighth year — has been known to inspire bouts of industry anxiety starting in January and lasting ‘til nearly May. And the fact that factions of the music industry are questioning a holiday meant to bolster the primary brick-and-mortar institution of music culture is proof that it is damn near impossible for an industry in upheaval to execute solutions that will satisfy everyone. What is in theory a straightforward, hugely positive event to sell records has become, well… it’s complicated and depends on who you ask. So we asked a few people on both sides of the debate. As it turns out, some of the downfalls of Record Store Day are less apparent to music fans than others, which may help to illuminate the recent… Read More

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The Quick Failure and Unexpected Comeback of ‘Empire Records’

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In September of 1995, a teen-geared comedy called Empire Records opened quietly in only 87 theaters. It was greeted by hostile reviews and meager box office, grossing barely a quarter of a million dollars before its theatrical run came to a halt two weeks later. It was then shuffled off to home video, its cast moving on to bigger things (some of them, considerably bigger), the whole enterprise quickly forgotten — but, as Mike LaFontaine (Fred Willard) notes in A Mighty Wind, “that’s good, because that’s how you establish a cult.” And so, somehow, Empire Records became a cult classic, prompting fan events and “remix” DVDs and a new Blu-ray release, timed both to the picture’s 20th anniversary and the thematically significant Record Store Day. A fresh reappraisal of the picture prompts two questions: Why did it tank in the first place, and why is it a fan fave now?
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Music-Loving Makeup Artist Paints Classic Album Covers Directly Onto Her Face

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Looking for a new beauty look to prepare for next year’s Record Store Day? Natalie Sharp has you covered. The London makeup artist decided to commemorate the day by painting eight album covers onto her face — a slightly delusional choice, she told The Quietus: “I stupidly thought I could knock these out in a day.” Each face, she says, took three to six hours, and was painted entirely freehand — no stencils.
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Jack White at Record Store Day 2014. (photo by Wrenne Evans for Flavorwire)

Spending Record Store Day With Jack White, the Holiday’s Living Embodiment

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The black and yellow paint, the tin ceilings, the interior archway with a phonograph for a keystone, the taxidermied elephant head in the blue room and full-sized bongo stalking the kitchen, the offices lined up as seedy motel rooms above a factory floor bathed in barely-not-nauseating yellow light, the lab coats the engineers wear while they’re cutting, probably even the bidet that hangs bat-like from the ceiling of one bathroom stall… everything in Third Man Records’ Nashville headquarters was born in Jack White’s head. Established in 2001, Third Man has put out a seemingly endless stream of vinyl releases, from Americana and country acts to scuzz punks to comedians to Neil freaking Young since opening this high-profile Nashville hub in ’09. If you’re a music lover, it’s nothing short of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory in here.
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