The first Record Store Day was on April 19, 2008, and is now celebrated the third Saturday of every April. Metallica kicked off the first celebration at Rasputin Music in San Francisco. This year, Iggy Pop was the ambassador of the nationwide Record Store Day and celebrated at Sweat Records in Miami.
Mojo opened at 9 a.m. that day to a line wrapped around the plaza. More than 300 limited edition records were released on Record Store Day and patrons arrived early to make sure they got their hands on what they wanted.
Childish Gambino, Katy Perry, The Clash and scores more released records for Record Store Day. Most produced about 3,000 copies. There were 10,000 copies of The Flaming Lips/Mastodon record, but only 450 of Chiddy Bang records. These are nationally released, so numbers in stores were very limited.
“So many good artists are using Record Store Day as kind of a way to do their little dream projects,” said Melanie Cade, co-owner of Mojo. “They only have to make only two or three thousand copies …. So people can do really specialized, interesting things. They don’t need to count on it being able to be sold at Best Buy.”
Mojo signed the Record Store Day pledge, which states the store will sell the special releases only to their physical customers and will not hold back product to sell online.
An all-day concert kicked off Record Store Day for Mojo. DJ Sam Esser performed first in a list of 13 bands, most of which were from Tampa or nearby. Mojo stayed open until the last band, Loins, played, well after the planned 11:15 p.m. slot.
Cade said most of the bands seek them out.
“We’ll start getting emails a few months in advance from bands asking to play Record Store Day,” Cade said, “because usually within a month of Record Store Day, our lineup’s full.”
The bands set up right inside the store, immediately in front of the entrance. It was a good place to set up – they caught everyone’s attention and the music traveled far outside of the store, drawing in nearby people.
It started out as a half joke, but there was a vegan bake sale at Mojo as well.
Three ladies set up a table outside of the store with pamphlets about vegan cooking and helping stray animals. Their goal was to raise money to help trap, neuter, release efforts for stray and feral cats.
“I think it was Danny [Mojo’s owner] who posted on Facebook if any local groups or non-profits wanted to have a table for Record Store Day they could do so for free,” said Lisa Robinton, one of the donation raisers, “and then he made a joke about, ‘and how ‘bout a vegan bake sale.”
So Robinton and two friends “baked up a storm” to prepare for what would turn out to be a successful day.
“We had such a feeding frenzy literally when we first got here,” Robinton said. “We couldn’t even get everything out on the table before people were trying to buy things from us.”
Robinton believes her group will return for Record Store Day next year.
“The Mojo people have been really great to us and they love animals so it’s a win-win for us,” Robinton said.
Technically a Mojo barista, but temporarily customer servicer, security guard and record stocker, Robby McDonald had nothing to complain about the fifth annual Record Store Day. It was long, but the customers were respectful and no one smelled bad, McDonald said.
Mojo has been celebrating Record Store Day since the first.
“I know people were pretty excited about it,” Cade said. “Over time, it’s grown and grown, more releases every year, more people interested in vinyl every year, so this has been the biggest one yet.”
McDonald doesn’t think the physical nature of a record will ever go out of style.
“People want that physical item, the cover art,” McDonald said.
“We have exponentially more sales on Record Store Day than on a regular day,” Cade said. “And you know, most of it’s vinyl.”