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Interactive timeline: The history of Record Store Day

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

By Allison Borrell, Studio M staff //

Record Store Day was founded as both an organization and an annual event celebrating the culture of independently owned record stores in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2007.

This year Record Store Day will be held on April 21.

The previous year, one of the largest international music retail chains, Tower Records, had shut down, and record store owners and employees were looking for a way to reignite people’s interest in brick-and-mortar record stores. Michael Kurtz, the president of a group of record store chains across the U.S., invited several record store owners to a meeting in Baltimore to discuss the future of record stores among the rise of digital retailers.

It was during this meeting that Chris Brown, an employee of the Maine and New Hampshire-based record store chain Bull Moose Music, presented the idea of Record Store Day through an email to Kurtz. Brown suggested that they look toward the success of Free Comic Book Day, which had helped struggling independent comic book stores stay relevant, as inspiration for an annual event that would bring more people into the stores.

Kurtz and others from the meeting in Baltimore took Brown’s idea and made it into a reality. The first Record Store Day was launched as an annual music event the following year on April 19, 2008, and has been held on the third Saturday of April every year since then.

With Record Store Day’s 11th annual event coming up on April 21, here’s a timeline looking back through the years of the event:

Allison Borrell is a junior majoring in journalism at Middle Tennessee State University.

Studio M, a project of the College of Media and Entertainment at MTSU, allows student journalists to be published statewide and nationwide. It’s made possible through grants and donations from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Tennessean and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

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