Pittsburgh Celebrates National Record Store Day

April 18, 2017

Record Store Day gave its co-founder Michael Kurtz the opportunity to meet famous musicians, such as the members of Metallica, including James Hetfield seen here.

Photo by Michael Kurtz | Submitted

Pittsburgh is celebrating the 10th annual national Record Store Day on Saturday, Apr. 22 , but the event has its roots in San Francisco. Michael Kurtz, co-found of the tradition, gathered together record store owners in 2007 for releases, live music and giveaways.

“We wanted to create something like free comic day, where comic book stores come together to celebrate,” Kurtz said.  “We got together with Rasputin Music and even had Metallica celebrate with us.”

Ericka Thomas, a junior sports, arts and entertainment (SAEM) management major and Warner Music representative, said she plans to celebrate  a decade of vinyl recognition  with record stores across Pittsburgh.

“There will be prize wheels, ballot box contests, music and giveaways,” Thomas said. “The first 20 people at Dave’s Music Mine will receive a premium item gift bag; Warner even provided their Roadrunner Summer Sampler for a taste of the label and genre.”

Warner Music is marketing the event at Point Park University and the SAEM department will be sponsoring shuttles to two stores in the city: Dave’s Music Mine and Juke Records.

“Students who are into music usually know about the event through word of mouth,” Thomas said. “We specifically chose these stores because they have a great local feel; ones that we would love to give business to.”

Kennedy Walter, a sophomore public relations and advertising major and owner of KW Entertainment, said she was going to try to make it to the event.

“I thought the idea was really interesting and I’d love to look into it more,” Walter said. “Pittsburgh’s music scene is awesome; there’s so many talented people here, it keeps things fresh and I think that’s always important in music.”

Two years ago, Walter started a DJing business that focuses primarily on weddings and other special events.

“So many people appreciate good music and they really put their trust into DJs,” Walter said. “I love that feeling of being trusted with music choice and feeling the vibes of an event I’m doing.”

Record stores are also essential in providing music lovers with choices.  Kurtz said that vinyl, and those that create it, deserve some recognition. For him, planning Record Store Day is a full-time job, year-round.

The event caught traction in 2009, where partner events started to pop up across Europe and the United States.

“It’s an old world sound,” Kurtz said. “Creating a vinyl album has a lot of steps: graphics, layouts, pressing tests to make sure it sounds just right; it’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun.”

For Point Park students who want to celebrate and support the industry with other music lovers across the globe, shuttles will leave campus at 11 a.m. and will arrive back around 3 p.m.  Students are encouraged to show up early.

“There is usually a line out the door at Dave’s,” Thomas said.

Kurtz said he has faith in this industry surviving in a digital age as, according to Thomas, vinyl is re-gaining popularity with college students.

“People who want to support their favorite artists will continue to buy vinyl,” Kurtz said. “We are always adapting; for Record Day this year we even have a partnership with Sia and Spotify.”

See this article and more at The Globe.

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