Thursday, April 30, 2020

Jump Up's Chuck Wren: Cancel Record Store Day 2020!

Two rude boys dance on a city street at night.In case you missed it, earlier this week, Record Store Day announced that RSD 2020 was being postponed again (it was originally to take place on April 18th, but was moved to June 20 due to the coronavirus pandemic) and will now be spread out over three "drops" on August 29th, September 26th, and October 24th (RSD will be announcing on June 1st which releases will be available when).

Chuck Wren's Jump Up Records was participating in RSD 2020 with the release of The Skatalites' Ska Voove LP (see all other ska-related RSD releases here), but is now calling for the event to be outright cancelled this year. For what it's worth, I completely agree with Chuck--scrap the event, keep people safe and healthy, do some sort of pre-orders through the independent record stores' websites, and help all of the participating shops and labels make some money during a time when the economy is going south quickly.

Chuck's statement is below: 

"CANCEL RECORD STORE DAY! STORES, LABELS, DISTRIBUTORS: Record Store Day just rolled out a new set of release dates and canceled RSD for June (which was bumped from April). The new set of dates will fall in August, September, October, and then Black Friday RSD in November. From what I understand, distributors were told this last week, but had to keep quiet about it. Then RSD decided the new release dates for all the labels and artists that were accepted, but much like the bump in the date to June, never actually talked to any smaller label from what I can tell. The idea of multiple dates is their way to "help" stores under the falsehood that it will help with social distancing. 

However, as someone who has witnessed the insanity at multiple taste-maker indie-stores for 15 years and have personally participated as a label for the past two years, the whole concept of RSD making FOUR EVENTS (which is based around people mobbing a store) is a bad idea during a pandemic. How is this not obvious? RSD still refuses to allow stores to bend on their iron clad rules--to do something like take pre-orders to their store fan base. This would also mean sales way before these "now pushed back even further dates" and put money in bank accounts when it counts. NOW. On the label end, especially a micro-indie label like myself (can you be more micro than a ska label?), I'm not sure how RSD thinks I can sit on a record until October (a date they gave me, they never asked if this date worked, by the way). This means that the money I put up in December of 2019, I won't see until January 2021. Can you tell me how this helps stores or labels at this point? 


Labels who might be doing a RSD release, reach out and let me know if you are thinking of pulling your release. 

Stores: Would a pre-order thing be better, and what do you think of these new dates and the headache of four events, ordering, budgeting, implementing social distancing? (All to be possibly stuck with product you placed on order before a pandemic, which is now spread out over a longer period of time...) 

Anyone you know with a label or record store that is doing a RSD release, please show them this message. I would like to hear more voices on this issue. I think RSD has pretty much jumped the shark. For the safety of music fans and to help brick and mortar record shops now, we think the event should be completely canceled and the product should become available to stores immediately for curbside sales to help them weather the coming months. If this action is not taken, record stores will shut its doors in massive numbers. June 20 was the last hope for many. If you cared about music fans, you would not risk their lives four times in the tail end of 2020, when many health experts fear a second wave of infections. 

I need to feed my family and put money back in the bank. RSD doesn't seem to care about small labels. Otherwise, they wouldn't continue this event. Cancel it. Keep people safe. Let labels and stores move on.

As a label that came up with a Ska At Home campaign and donated the proceeds of close to 100 masks via my Threadless shop, I don't want any fan of my product to risk exposure with this RSD nonsense!

Save Record Stores NOW. Save lives and cancel RSD. 

-- Chuck Wren, Jump Up Records. Since 1993."

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