What does Record Store Day mean by “Third Option”?

A: Right now on almost 100% of all artist web properties (including websites, facebook pages, youtube videos, etc.), artists have a button to buy music but they only push music fans to the two largest corporate entities, Amazon and iTunes, to buy music. The cumulative effect creates the perception that there are no record stores. The organizers of Record Store Day passionately believe that this has to stop. It is damaging to individual record stores and the music business at large so we are creating a third button called “Record Stores,” thus the term “Third Option.”

How does Record Store Day hope to get the Third Option off the ground?

A: Beginning in 2012, we will begin requesting that all artists begin placing a new third buy button next to Amazon and iTunes.

What happens when a music fan clicks the Record Store button on an artist’s web property (website, facebook page, youtube video, etc.)?

A: The program that we created for this site geo-locates the music fans location and then takes them to a page that lists ALL participating stores near them to try help drive fans to a physical store. These are what we are calling “Tier 1” stores. 

What happens if the fan doesn’t have a store nearby or wishes to buy on-line?

A:  The fan will then be given a list of stores near them that they can purchase physical product (including CDs, DVDs, vinyl, etc.) on line. These are the stores that we call “Tier 2.” They are stores that have invested in, and run, fully functioning web stores that sell products to their customers on line and ship to their home.

If Record Store Day is about driving music fans to physical stores, why do you offer music fans this option?

A: There are two main reasons for this. The first is that to be able to get artists to place a Record Store button on their site they want us to be able to make an immediate sale if the music fan chooses to do this. Without doing this, we will definitely not get many artists to support our efforts. We know because we tried. The second reason for this is we want to encourage record stores to innovate and grow. We realize that this will cause some anxiety on the front end but our job is to not only elevate music fan awareness of record stores but to also push record stores to grow their business.

Will the Record Store Day products that we create be sold by the stores on line through this initiative?

A: NO. We are not changing the rule set for Record Store Day products. Record Store Day releases are meant to be sold only in the physical stores. We are not changing the rules.

Will the products we create for Black Friday be sold by the stores on line through this initiative?

A: Because Black Friday is not Record Store Day 2, or the Son of Record Store Day, and are instead meant to kick off the all important shopping season, stores can sell these Black Friday pieces on their own web site if they chose. Auctions of any and all RSD products (including Black Friday products are still a definite no-no).

What happens if the fan decides to buy digitally?

A: The fan will have the option to buy digitally.

But wait, Record Store Day is about physical stores. What gives?

A: It still is. We are doing everything we can to drive people to your stores but we also have to make this experience complete and good or we will lose customers to iTunes and Amazon.  This means allowing music fans to listen to song samples. This can only be done legally if we also offer the digital tracks to be sold.

Does Record Store Day expect to sell a lot of music digitally?

A: No. Both the Music Monitor and the Coalition of Independent Music Stores(two of the three co-founding organizations of Record Store Day) tried to run digital stores and both sold very little music digitally. We don’t expect this to change but by taking this approach we will allow customers to sample the artists’ music.

If Record Store Day doesn’t expect to sell much digitally, why bother?

A: The majority of music sold digitally are single tracks, commonly called “singles.” Physical stores by-and-large do not sell singles but this will allow us to compete as a group and give this option to our customers if they want it. Plus, artists want us to be able to have this option for buying their albums digitally and by offering customers the option to buy both physical and digital we hope that more artists will get behind Record Store Day and support our efforts.

What happens to the money that Record Store Day receives from sales of digital tracks?

A: We don’t expect to receive much money selling digital tracks but whatever we receive will be used to cover the cost of running