record stores toronto

Toronto shops slammed with orders after record store day lands on reopening weekend

Toronto shops reopening and Record Store Day coincided on the same weekend in a moment of stars aligning for music lovers in the city.

There's just nothing like flipping through records in person, even with a mask on and capacity restrictions. People were so elated to shop at record stores again that shops found themselves slammed for June 12, the date of the holiday in 2021.

Record Store Day exists to celebrate the culture of independently owned record shops.

"We got so many freakin' orders," Pop Music owner Derek Antonio says in a video he posted to Instagram. "We're so lucky."

Antonio tells blogTO that he would have run Record Store Day "like a drive-through" if he had to with a PIN pad at the door, as they've garnered quite a following for the holiday. The store specializes in curating new (non-used) vinyl. 

"The idea of fans just ordering at the door is very uninspiring," Antonio tells blogTO. "This event coinciding with the lifting of restrictions was a game-changer."

When they had ordered stock for Record Store Day in April, they were assuming they'd be reopened by this point, so it was a huge relief when restrictions on in-store shopping lifted just in time. With the news past week, Antonio was ordering additional stock to prepare for the excitement.

Pop Music always publishes their entire RSD offering online for weeks ahead of time, informing fans of prices and confirmed quantities. People start lining up in front of the shop as early as 3 a.m., refreshing the shop's web page to make sure their coveted items are still available.

This year, Antonio says people lined up starting at 2:30 a.m., and by the time he got to the shop at 6:30 a.m. the line was over 100 people long. It was four blocks long by the time they officially opened at 8 a.m.

They started selling their Record Store Day offerings online at 1 p.m., with orders rolling in by the dozen as soon as titles became available. Pop Music might typically get 50 online orders a weekend, and got 150 orders on Saturday alone.

Product was shipped out as far as Australia, and 95 per cent of Pop Music's RSD offerings were sold out by Sunday morning.

"Impulse shopping is everything, online just doesn't have that same spontaneity," says Antonio.

Pop Music wasn't the only store to inspire early morning lineups: Dead Dog Records also had people queuing up at 4 a.m., and posted a video of people lined up down the block waiting to shop.

"It was so good to see y'all back inside, chattin us up, and diggin' & divin' through our record collection," they wrote in a caption to an Instagram post.

Other record stores in the city experienced tons of orders and lineups as well, popular shop Sonic Boom posting to their Instagram too.

"We appreciate all those who waited in line, and while I am sure there were a couple disappointed diggers, the fact that you made it out and that we are still here after all this craziness is a testament to how much we love what we do here at Sonic Boom," reads the caption of the post.

"Thanks again for all those who came out and everyone's patience yesterday as we navigate this reopening safely and funly."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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