Record Store Day: A Necessary Community Event for a Thriving Local Music Scene


Orange Records on Record Store Day, April 24th

Saturday, April 24th 9:21 am. It’s record store day, and I am anxiously waiting outside of Orange Records in downtown Fargo, along with a score of people waiting in line. Hoping to get the record store day exclusive of Taylor Swift’s long-pond studio version of “Folklore” since last record store day her RSD (record store day) exclusive of “The Lakes” sold out almost immediately. North Dakota winters are… not fun, so I left to go sit in the car while my dad ever so graciously stood in line. At around 9:45 he eventually got into the actual store. The way that record store day works is that you wait in line and when you get up to the cash register you tell the cashier what you want, instead of sorting through all the records yourself like normal. Besides the “Folklore” long-pound studio, I was hoping to get other pieces such as The Cranberries: “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee”, and The Cure: “Show”. When we got up the cash register they were all sold out of The Cure, but they still had Taylor Swift and The Cranberries. We left Orange Records at around 10:05 and by that time there was only about five people left standing in line outside.  

Since 2008, record store day has been a huge part of the Indie-record store culture. Record store day happens every April on a Saturday and during black Friday in November. And is even considered a holiday in cities such as: New York, Los Angeles, Boise, Charleston, Raleigh, and Los Vegas. Artists release special editions of their records to help increase sales in indie record stores compared to people buying from cooperate foundations such as Barns & Nobel and Target, and it worked. Record store day is also a chance for artists to connect with their fan bases through a shared love of music.  

Record store day is not only significant for culture but also for small businesses.  I had the opportunity to talk to the owner of Orange Records downtown Fargo, Matt Oland, who has been the owner of the store since it opened 16 years ago, and he likes being able to talk and work with people who also have an appreciation for music for work. When asking about why he had opened the store, he responded with “When I started buying records there was nowhere to buy them around here, so that’s what gave me the idea about it, it might work to start a record store.” Oland then discusses the importance of record stores in communities “I think it gives the local music scene and local music bands a place to sell stuff a lot of the times… especially for bigger stores they will have live performances, as kind of their community gathering place.”  

But it’s not only record store day itself that’s important, it’s having to how what to order, how many records to order because it’s the store’s biggest day of the year. Matt uses social media to help out with that, with people being able to tell him what they want, he is able to get that in stock. And the list for record store day exclusives is published online, he also bases it off of what they just normally sell. With the uprising in streaming services like Spotify, Apple music, pandora it has caused CD sales totally plummet, “We don’t even stock CDs much anymore, the CDs sales have died within the past 3-4 years.”  states Oland 

      As I was waiting in line to get my records, I saw the diversity in the people around me, music can hold so much significance to people for different reasons. Some people were holding religious music, other children’s music, who knows maybe someone was there to get a person who they appreciate one of their favorites albums as a gift. Record store day brings people together and there is always one common denominator no matter the person’s taste in music or for what or who they’re buying the music for, and that is music. If record store day intrigues you, there is another record store day that takes place in November. But some advice from my experience of this record store day is get their earlier than you think and bring warm clothing. But otherwise, it’s a really fun and unique way to get to know music and indie record stores better.