Record Store Day’s Michael Kurtz: Metallica, Vinyl Worship & How It All Began
Tue, 19 Apr 2016 09:01:03
In 2007, the record store was in trouble. Retail chains like Tower Records, Virgin Megastore, and Sam Goody had either permanently closed or were filing for bankruptcy. As more consumers searched for free music online, the record business was tanking, and the forecast was bad for the humble independent record stores that remained open. Music marketing veteran Michael Kurtz had an idea: To have a party. This wouldn’t be just any party—and it’s never just any party when Metallica, inaugural Record Store Day ambassadors, gets on board—but a party that celebrates the culture of the record store. To do this, he’d need to turn the dominant conversation—that record stores were failing everywhere—on its head.
And so he did, with the help of fellow organizer Carrie Colliton, along with a coalition of independent record stores led by industry leaders Michael Bunnell and Eric Levin. Record Store Day immediately found support within the record store community, growing from just a handful of releases and special events to a cultural institution that curates legendary in-store performances, limited edition titles from Regina Spektor to Justin Bieber, and is celebrated at record stores on every continent except Antarctica.
As Record Store Day rings in its 9th year this Saturday, April 16—with Metallica again this year’s ambassadors—ARTISTdirect’s Gwendolyn Elliott spoke with Kurtz about the comeback of vinyl, Record Store Day’s near decade-long ride, and some of the surprises along the way.
Read the rest of the interview at ARTISTdirect Interviews