The Portland record store helped launch a vinyl renaissance

There are many ways to listen to music today.

But for many who know and love music, vinyl remains the gold standard. There’s something special about the rich, unique sound the records produce. There can also be deep satisfaction in physically holding and owning a favorite album.

Record Store Day is a celebration of brick-and-mortar stores that still sell old-fashioned vinyl. The event takes place on a Saturday of each April. This year it is April 23. A selection of limited edition records was specifically released the same day and distributed exclusively to independent record stores participating in the event.

Watch OPB’s “Oregon Experience” video on the history of Record Store Day:

Terry Currier owns and operates Music Millennium in northeast Portland. The iconic record store opened its doors over fifty years ago. Currier says he created the Coalition of Independent Music Stores in 1995 to promote local record stores.

In 2007, the organization joined two other coalitions to found Record Store Day. The idea was not only to promote the lagging record industry but also to celebrate the culture of independent stores.

Portland Music Millennium Record Store.

James Allenspach/Flickr

“We went to the industry and said, ‘Can you make us an attractive product for our customers on vinyl?’ Vinyl had been gone since the late 80s, and most of the big labels weren’t making it anymore.

Currier says the labels have agreed to release a few records. The coalitions hired a publicist to promote the event.

“There was going to be 50 unique releases that day that you could go down and get. Some were colored vinyl. Some were unreleased,” says Currier. “Some were records that hadn’t been printed in years. This was the start of the vinyl renaissance. It kept growing and Record Store Day just got better and better.

Record Store Day is credited with reviving vinyl sales and is now celebrated in stores around the world. Music Millennium opens early for the annual event and always draws large crowds. In addition to special releases, it hosts in-store performances as well as meetings with artists.