Aerosmith released its Big Ten Inch Record nearly 40 years ago, but this weekend, the band is shifting its focus to 12-inch vinyls.
The legendary rockers will reissue four classic albums (Draw the Line, Night in the Ruts, Rock in a Hard Place and Rocks) as part of the worldwide Record Store Day celebration on Saturday, April 19.
Now in its seventh year, the annual event brings together independent record stores and music geeks for in-store performances, signings and unique vinyl releases.
Participating artists are spinning up 450 releases this year (compared with 10 in 2008), which will be sold at more than 2,000 record stores worldwide.
Event co-founder Michael Kurtz predicts hot sellers to include Bruce Springsteen's American Beauty, the Grateful Dead's Live at Hampton Coliseum and Cake's vinyl box set, all of which feature previously unreleased material.
The festivities are also shifting attention to vinyl's increasingly younger fan base: Among the releases are a One Direction Midnight Memories picture disc and the first-ever Record Store Day turntable, featuring the Peanuts comic strip.
It's really cute and just so adorable, Kurtz says. This is geared more toward the children who are coming into record stores to celebrate with their parents. We see thousands of them now.
(Photo: The Department of Record Stores)
As the appeal of vinyl spreads beyond hipsters and older music fans, it should come as no surprise that the event is such a smashing success. Record Store Day did record business last year, with sales up 3 percent from 2012 and more than 200,000 units sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. And as CD sales continue to decline, vinyl sales actually rose 32 percent last year, with 6 million records sold, up from 4.55 million in 2012, SoundScan reports.
Bruce Duff, a vinyl expert and director of regional marketing and personal management at Knitting Factory Management/Entertainment, says that more fans are collecting records because they crave a stronger connection to an artist; holding a record in your hand is more tangible than a digital download.
People who are collecting vinyl, they're like art collectors: They have a collection, they look at it, they appreciate it, Duff says. You collect an artist because you enjoy what he or she does, and it's something you treasure and relearn about as time goes on.
As for Kurtz, he's just happy that he and co-founder Carrie Colliton played a role in reinvigorating the vinyl business.
It was dead when we started, and now the factories can't even meet the demand. It's just exploded, he says. More stores are selling vinyls now and becoming even more a part of their neighborhood.
That's the whole point of Record Store Day: to celebrate the connection that record stores have with their local neighborhood.