Vinyl Cup Records Prepares For Record Store Day 2021
2021 has two Record Store Days: June 12 and July 17. In advance of the weekend, IPR's Cece Mitchell and Lindsey Moon visited Vinyl Cup Records in Beaverdale.
Vinyl Cup Records in Beaverdale is on the second floor of the building. It’s a bright space with lots of natural light and a listening room modeled after the store’s former location in owner Luke Dickens' basement.
Dickens quit his day job in February 2018 to expand the successful record-selling business he had started the year prior. Now he’s got two locations – one in Beaverdale and another in the Old Market area of Omaha.
He stocks his store by intentionally seeking out large vinyl collections from private owners. He’s a man on a mission to keep records precious for the next generation.
“There are stories behind records. We don’t want those stories to die, so we sell them to another story,” Dickens said.
“My favorite story [is about a collection from a couple in Urbandale]. The lady had a Grateful Dead record, and the husband and wife had this story behind this record and how much it meant to them. And then, this customer Chris comes in and buys the record. – I have goosebumps just thinking about it – because he’s like, ‘Now I can share this with my sons because this is a record my dad played for me, so now I can play it for my kids.’ So, the story didn’t die. It’s a different story, but the story lives on and that’s what’s sweet for us.”
We visited Dickens in his shop to get a preview of 2021’s Record Store Day Releases. Saturday, June 12 is the first RSD this year, and there’s another on July 17.
If you’re new to collecting records or have never heard of RSD before, it’s been an annual, one-day nationwide event since 2007. Record labels and shops team up to market special edition LPs for a one-time only release. The list of exclusive releases usually includes box sets from classic artists, soundtracks from movies, and compilation presses – sometimes on special, colored vinyl. Because most shops were not open in-person last year, there are two dates this year.
According to the Recording Industry Association of American, vinyl sales overtook CD sales for the first time in 2020 since 1986, and much of that business was online due to the pandemic. Dickens knows he’s going to see new faces in his store, and he wants everyone coming into his shop to feel welcome to look, learn and hang out.
“As a man, I felt intimidated [to walk into a record store], so as a woman walking into a more male dominant industry, that would be the way it is. That’s why we offer beer and wine to break that tension. We used to do name analytics until the Facebook group took over, but we used to have 60% women [...] it’s still safe to say that half our customers are women. That’s huge for me,” Dickens said.
This year’s June releases include exclusives from the late Iowa native Tommy Bolin, Iggy Pop and the “Repo Man” movie soundtrack. According to Dickens, soundtracks are really popular. Vinyl Cup is opening at 8 a.m. this Saturday, and they're planning on a post-pandemic sort of grand reopening.
Dickens said that he was most excited about an album from Colemine Records, a label based in Loveland, Ohio, that presses a lot of neo-soul. The compilation is titled “Soul Slabs Volume 3” and features a mix of heavy soul, funk and R&B.
“I have volumes 1 and 2, and I love them. I’m really excited about this record.”
To find a list of the albums Vinyl Cup is stocking this year, check their website. For a full list of the 2021 Record Store Day releases, visit recordstoreday.com. To find your local record shop, visit Iowa Public Radio’s Record Store Directory.