Taking Vinyl to the Next Level

By Michael Kurtz, Co-Founder, Record Store Day

In 2007, when I first discussed the idea for Record Store Day with then-Warner Bros. Records president Tom “Grover” Biery, almost no one was interested in talking about making vinyl.

They could not see a future where millions of people would passionately seek it, much less one where it would become a billion-dollar-a-year business. To make the future some of us could see a reality would take passion and an ability to work outside the system, enveloping and rewarding every person or company, large or small, that saw the possibilities and chose to partner with independent record stores to reignite the love for a high-quality product, by-and-large made by actual human beings, that celebrates every aspect of the artist’s vision.

For music business leaders it meant rethinking the commonly held vision of a future in which music was digital, quick, cheap, ubiquitous and driven by commercial hits, not albums. Thankfully many did rethink this vision and continue to innovate now.

Artists desire a commitment from their fans to sit down and listen to an album from beginning to end, taking in the art and packaging that are part of the experience.

Record Store Day not only celebrates this vinyl experience, it helps foster a massive new community of those committed fans. There really had been nothing like it before, and nothing else like it even now.

On a single Saturday around the world, Record Store Day brings over one million people to stand in line together to buy music. It’s not convenient but it is fun. And for 11 years straight, Record Store Day has broken the previous year’s record for most vinyl sold in a single day, creating commerce for multiple layers of the industry.

The Making Vinyl conference takes this movement to the next level, bringing together another community, one of smart, experienced, motivated business partners. This is exciting to me as I think that making vinyl is a big part of the future of music as an artform and as a vibrant business. That is why I am glad to be here among all of you – the people who actually make things.