For some music fans, an MP3 player crammed with thousands of songs is enough. For others, appreciating the music they love is still a more tactile experience.
“There are a lot of people out there — collectors — who listen to the entire album and want that physical item. And by collector, I just mean somebody who has a collection, somebody who wants a CD for the backup, the liner notes, something that sounds better in their car,” says Steve Wiley, co-owner of Hoodlums Music and Movies in Tempe.
Despite dire predictions that digital music downloads would kill the brick-and-mortar music shop, Hoodlums will celebrate its third Record Store Day on Saturday.
The annual event is when many of the nation’s 700 or so independent music stores revel in the fact that they’re still alive and kicking. This year, close to 200 recording artists have put together special products to be released exclusively in these indie shops on Record Store Day.
“Mumford & Sons and The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen — the stuff the big artists put out always goes fast. The Ryan Adams piece is pretty great, from what I’ve seen. And there’s a ton of good stuff from little artists who have these small but rabid fan bases. There are a lot of 7-inch singles and a lot of vinyl, definitely some CDs, singles, three-CD live sets that you can’t get anywhere else. Last year, we had at least 50 people lined up outside before we even opened,” says Wiley.
It was the store’s biggest day of business since Hoodlums opened at its current location in 2008 — days before the economy tanked. The store originally opened in 1998 on the Arizona State University campus.
Zia Record Exchange stores in Chandler and Tempe will also ring in Record Store Day. The Tempe shop will host the band Gospel Claws at 6 p.m. Saturday, while Snake! Snake! Snake! plays at 4:30 p.m. in the Chandler store.
Zia will also sell their own compilation, “You Heard Us Back When, Vol. 5,” which features bands and musicians from Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas. The 33-track complilation costs $3, and proceeds benefit Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock foundation.
At Hoodlum’s, Wiley says April is “kind of like Record Store month.”
Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, one of Arizona’s most popular bands, will play a sold-out concert at the store on April 20 (five pairs of tickets are still available in a raffle drawing), and Hoodlum’s second annual Hoodstock music festival, a fundraiser for the neighborhood’s Broadmoor Elementary School, kicks off later in the month.
Live bands will play around the clock, and an art show and sale of vinyl records painted by Broadmoor students will benefit the school’s intervention program. Last year, the festival raised close to $3,300.
Wiley says that kind of face-to-face interaction with the community is what makes a record shop more than a place to buy music.
“People respond to the personalities and the passion, that familiarity of walking in and knowing it’s the same person they saw last week and not just some kid in a blue shirt. It’s not like any of us can’t go online and find something new based on an artist or album we already like, but it’s different to walk into a place with people who remember your name and have a living, breathing discovery of something new.”
The store earned the readers’ choice award for best record/music shop in the Best of East Valley poll.
“We’re still here, 13 years later, plugging along, and I still love what I do. I stood there last night and cranked up some music after we shut down, even though I was just cleaning vinyl. That’s what it’s about. I can’t sell you a car or a house, but I can sell you music. If if dig it, that means it’s good for your soul, and I’m going to share it with you,” says Wiley.
Record Store Day special releases — from artists as varied as Adele, Eric Clapton, The Decemberists, Death Cab for Cutie, Ozzy Osbourne, Pearl Jam and Regina Spektor — are limited and available first come, first served beginning Saturday.
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