The line snaked around the 1600 block of North Monroe Street during the first Black Friday Record Store Day 14 years ago at 4000 Holes.
“It was incredible,” said 4000 Holes store owner Bob Gallagher. “By 9am when I opened, there was an endless amount of music lovers waiting to come in the door.”
Record Store Day, founded in 2008, is a celebration of independent record stores and often includes special releases, reissues, box sets and more. In 2010, the Black Friday event was added to the lineup.
What surprised Gallagher the most was how far some people went to record music for vinyl on Record Store Day.
“For one year, we had a guy in line from Seattle,” Gallagher said. “He knew he had a better chance of getting the albums he wanted by going to Spokane than trying his luck in Seattle. He had to get the albums he craved.”
Such is the case with music lovers who are willing to put in the effort to record new albums or limited edition reissues.
“There’s never a better day when a bunch of brand new albums come out,” Gallagher said. “And there are so many great albums and reissues coming out on Friday.”
Gallagher will have over 400 new releases in his store, ranging from alternative rock pioneers The Cure to Motown icons The Supremes and jazz legend Jaco Pastorius.
“Usually we’re a rock music store, but I carry a little bit of everything,” Gallagher said. “For me, good music is good music. I’m happy to see some cool stuff that ranges from punk like Dead Milkmen to cult stuff like Ringo Starr and Gladys Knight. We have what you are looking for here.
However, stocks are limited. “That’s why it would be nice to get here early,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher has about two or three copies, but makes exceptions for some artists and has four or five albums.
The same goes for Long Ear, the Coeur d’Alene record store that opened in 1985.
“Record Store Day in April is our busiest day of the year,” said Long Ear owner Terry Borchard. “But Record Store Black Friday Day is a really good day for us. Our big day was once Christmas Eve, but now it’s the day after Thanksgiving. People don’t get up at 4 am and go to Walmart to buy a TV, but if you’re a music lover, this is your day.”
Long Ear ordered 235 new titles for Friday. “Albums will be released whether they’re popular or obscure, finally released on vinyl, or if they’ve only been released on CD and are now finally out on vinyl,” Borchard explained. “We’ll have what you need and it’s good that you will most likely get it since we’re not a big city.”
Gallagher agrees. “We’re not Seattle or Portland because we don’t have a population like the cities of Spokane,” Gallagher said. “You can even arrive a little later in the day and you can still get what you’re looking for.”
Record Store Day Black Friday isn’t just for store owners. “Some people come in and buy albums and sell them on eBay,” Gallagher said. “You will see the prices of some albums on eBay skyrocket as it is a matter of supply and demand. There are so many reasons to come to Record Store Day. This is a good time.”
However, the party atmosphere at the dawn of Record Store Day no longer exists. “We used to turn it into a big event,” Gallagher said. “We had local recording artists, two or three bands. They would give us a lot of freebies. There were appetizers. It was a fun day. It was a much bigger experience, but then COVID knocked him out. But we are returning. It will be fun. Who in the business isn’t excited about Record Store Day?”
Well, Aaron Rison, who owns Go! Records on Garland Avenue, not at all excited about Record Store Day.
“I’m not thrilled with Record Store Day reissues,” Rison said. “I was going to get the Karate 5 LP package but turned it down. For me, every day is record store day, or so it should be. This Record Store Day will be business as usual.”
Rison wishes there was a product like Taylor Swift’s seven-inch “Me!” record, which was in high demand during Record Store Day in April. “It was a limited edition that sold out quickly,” Reason said. “There is nothing quite like what will be released this Record Store Day.”
However, Gallagher believes there’s always one album everyone wants to meet on Record Store Day. “There’s always something new or something old that is now new that you need to have, and for me, that’s the Beatles ‘Revolver’. And for that, all I can say is, “Thank you Beatles.” As for me, I can’t help but spend money on the Beatles, because I can never pay for all the pleasure they gave me.”