Yup, the UK has one upped it on us in music again. It’s #NationalAlbumDay UK and I have been getting album favorites hitting my Twitter feed since 4pm yesterday. Apparently some enthusiasts who are night owls and insomniacs were blasting and promoting their favorite albums at 12:59 UK time. Not the 3:33pm GMT blast off time. Wait, is it called Greenwich Mean Time anymore? It’s a way to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the album format being promoted by BBC Music channel and hopefully as many independent record shops as possible in the UK. Yeah, I know, really it’s about making money. But if it helps get the smaller shops some business, it’s more fun places for you to go and look for your albums.
I had known about this for a few months, looked to see if the US or Canada were doing something similar (please don’t let the Canadians beat us to this). I had not seen anything on the newswires for a US version. And why the heck aren’t the big record labels here in the US picking up on this and promoting it, even for their UK artists or trying to get the same thing here in the US? I just visited Warner Bros. Records US and UK sites. Not really seeing anything on it. But reading some of the US music websites rag on about it, it’s the UK beating the US to a great marketing campaign scheme. Gasp.
But the UK is mad for it as they say, and really it’s an indie thing, right? Go independent labels and record shops! If it helps keep people going into the small record shops and supporting the indie labels, I am all for it. And the record album is not dead, as recent charts show, vinyl is way back. And many musicians are happily rereleasing on vinyl that which they had to make on CD because of that format change years back. Come on, analog is cool.
What is National Album Day anyway? We already have the National Record Store Day which has made it across many continents. Works great for the bands and the record labels, so why not this one? Going to the main website for the National Album Day, the deal is this: At 3.33pm you play an all-time favorite album of choice. Even if you are and American or Canadian or anyone else in the world, if it’s 3:33pm in your time zone, go for it. The internet IP address thing where its says you can’t play this video or song in your country doesn’t work here. Go analog on this if you can! You can share with them at @AlbumDayUK or #NationalAlbumDay. Here I go, I’ll put one up that’s having a anniversary release this week. (More about that later)
At 3:33pm carefully place revered album on the turntable. Stuck out and away, on download.
Remember, you have to play the album from start to finish, no skipping about. If anyone complains, explain this.
Use the hashtag #NationalAlbumDay when sharing your joy.
Enjoy, meditate or dance freely.
Complain online about all the published best album of the day results. Optional, but we know you want to.
In reading some of the news articles in the UK about how the posting voting has gone, it seems there are some top favorites.
On OfficialCharts.com, claiming to be the official word on music, they will be posting how the voting is going. I have used this mega site before and it is a rather extensive online database site. They claim that The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has claimed the top spot. However they are basing a lot of facts on this on lifelong sales of the album. Frankly, this is no surprise. I was listening to it yesterday while walking in the park. It was the second record I ever bought, and have listened to it ever since. Coldplay have 3 albums in the running (sigh). But reading further on the charts site, most of what they go on are statistics. How are votes really being cast?
The National Album Day site has suggestions on how to get involved. Many Physical retailers in the UK and indie record labels are really pushing the Twitter feeds and having in house promos. After reading an article at NME, in which 7 of their writers discuss their favorite album to be tortured in a dark room by for 24 hours on repeat by? Yeah, I didn’t see that in the rules, and I kinda get their humor. It’s another #hashtag day, right? Not if you are really a music lover. Real music lovers will hop around like maniacs and it does fall on a Saturday so that makes it a bit easier for some. What, you can pogo at work, right? Reading further on their collected selections, there are only two albums on the list provided that I can even agree with: Talking Heads:77 and The Beatles White Album/The Beatles. Yeah, oldies but classics you can put on the turntable and sing along with. They influenced a lot of other bands. The rest of the offerings, not really appealing to me. But you may like some of them.
So, is this about pushing record sales, or celebrating the album? Iain McNay, chairman at the British independent label Cherry Red ( The Fall, Howard Jones, Alien Sex Fiend, 999) helped to create this national day of celebrating the record album. It’s about the album. His purpose was to celebrate the creation and thought processes that go into creating songs and creating an album.
Remember, in the the early years of records, it was about cramming a bunch of recordings from studio sessions and live performances on an single 45 rpm or EP 12 inch just to promote a band and get them known. Back in the 70s and 80s, new bands would get a few singles/cassettes together just to promote in shops, creating their own labels. Albums are very expensive to produce in the classic studio sense, studio time is very costly. Over the years and as bands matured and got more power with their labels via fan base, concepts, thought and themes came about and albums are now not just a collection of songs unless they are greatest hits compilations. With digital and technology advancements, making any space where you could fit musicians, instruments, laptops, soundboards and sound proof a recording space, even more creativity with albums occurred. Don’t forget the revival of vinyl has many bands going back and rereleasing on vinyl the way they really wanted their album to be, and new bands releasing on all formats.
Not to be left behind, the team at National Record Store Day will be promoting other countries picking up on the new hashtag. It sounds like getting an album day started on a national level in other countries will happen. So why not hop on the wagon and just do it now? US East Coast, you got that album on the turntable?
National Album Day BBC
US Take on Billboard
Complete Music Update