Liverpool dance music specialists 3B Records are refused participation in this year’s Record Store Day, Getintothis’ Cath Bore talks to the shop’s MD Thomas Tuft.
3B Records won’t be part of Record Store Day 2018 on Saturday – and it’s not out of choice.
The shop, on Slater Street in Liverpool city centre, has been a keen participant since 2012, but MD Thomas Tuft was disappointed to have his application for this year declined in the past few days.
A new clause has been introduced in RSD’s terms and conditions, Thomas tells us: ‘All stores must show support to distributors throughout the year…(what) it should say is, record shops must spend as much money as they can throughout the year or else they won’t get looked after (on RSD) because that’s basically what it means.
“It’’s not about record shops anymore, it’s about major (labels) selling vinyl and raising the profile of vinyl to put on sale in ASDA.”
RSD have told Thomas that the shop won’t be signed up to RSD this year for three reasons. The first is because, although the application came in within the deadline they didn’t review until after the deadline.
But surely ‘a deadline’s a deadline?’ he puts to us.
Also, 3B has been ‘flagged’ as not placing regular orders, so RSD feels they won’t get the stock they want.
The third reason is that RSD fear this will lead to disappointed customers on the day.
On the back of this, Thomas believes the day has shifted away from its original intentions to celebrate record shop culture, meaning smaller shops who spend less are put at a distinct disadvantage.
Thomas feels RSD in its current form is not balanced in favour of smaller independent shops, placing those unable to spend huge amounts and throughout the year, on the back foot.
In the initial years, RSD was a positive initiative to be involved in for 3B, and Thomas and his staff and customers were looking forward to this year.
‘RSD was good for us because it was enabling us to reach a wider audience. Musically we’re a dance music shop, I wanted to include the roots of dance music, so jazz soul, funk, disco hip hop and I wanted to open the landscape and start stocking a lot more of that stuff and not just up front dance music.
“We’d get regular RSD customers, emailing us, our queues were starting to rival Probe’s, it was really working well. It was doing what it’s supposed to.’
“Last year things started to change with the majors…they were allocating more stock to shops who spent more money. They’d send me one copy of something because I hadn’t spent a lot of money that year. I could feel a bit of control coming from the majors.”
Record Store Day responded to our request for a statement.
“RSD is a celebration that supports the spirit of independent record shops and the new music they bring to their communities all year-round. There is a retail code of conduct in place which ensures a level playing field for shop sign up and that shops have accounts with a range of labels, big and small, and that they trade regularly with them throughout the year, not just in April. We were informed by suppliers that 3B did not trade regularly during the year and would therefore be unlikely to receive many RSD releases. It would not be fair on RSD customers to sign up shops who are unable to obtain the majority of RSD releases. Shops such as 3B who may not receive products are not discouraged from supporting the event and are offered listings for events and celebrations on the Record Store Day website as ‘non rsd stockists’. Any such shops are encouraged to build their relationships with suppliers during the year and to re-apply to RSD the following year when their application is re-assessed against the criteria set by the shops.”
The good news for 3B Records, along with all the other Liverpool record shops whether they are part of RSD or not, is that it will be open as usual this Saturday.
‘All RSD stock from previous years is 50% off, I’ll gonna put loads of records out for everyone, I’m gonna give everyone a beer and I’m going to welcome everyone with open arms,’ Thomas says. ‘ And if anyone wants RSD stock ordering when it’s allowed I’ll order it in for them.’
‘I’m not part of it this year, which I don’t agree with, but it’s not a crusade to damn it, it’s a crusade to try and get them to fix the problem and admit that there is problems. It’s not black and white…I don’t want to hurt it (RSD), it just wants changing.’
- 3B Records will be putting documentary on their Facebook page at 6pm this evening, giving their side of the story in detail.