PREX gears up to celebrate another Record Store Day

The line of people waiting to visit the Princeton Record Exchange for Record Store Day in 2014. File photo by Krystal Knapp.

The Princeton Record Exchange will welcome music lovers Saturday, April 23, for another special day featuring limited-edition record releases that are a highlight of the biannual celebration of independent record stores around the world.

About 400 titles from a wide range of artists will be available at participating independent record stores on Record Store Day, and you can’t buy them online. Many of the records have limited production runs, often from 100 to 5,000 copies. They may be previously unreleased recordings or alternate takes, and are often on colored vinyl, are numbered, have unique packaging, or are otherwise special, Princeton Record Exchange owner Jon Lambert said.

The “official” Record Store Day release list is available online. The limited-run titles are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Not every record is available at every store participating in Record Store Day.

At the Princeton Record Exchange, people have been known to line up several hours before the store opens in an attempt to make sure they can buy the records they want. There will be a table in front of the warehouse space to the left of the store entrance on 20 South Tulane Street Saturday with a canopy over the shopping area. You do not have to enter the store to browse the merchandise. One customer at a time can shop. The store will open at 10 a.m.

Lambert said that arriving before 7 a.m. has given shoppers in previous years a good chance of getting what they are looking for. If you show up after 8 a.m., you can expect a wait of more than an hour after opening. Some customers bring lawn chairs for the wait. The Princeton Record Exchange usually has between 1,500 and 2,000 pieces. Specific titles you are looking for may be gone and you might not find every item on your list. Purchases are limited to one of each title per customer.

Now in its 15th year, Record Store Day is being celebrated by more than 35 record stores in New Jersey, where record store businesses have made it through the pandemic and seen business rebound.

“The vibe in the store has been great as we find our way back to the new normal,” Lambert said. “Record shopping is one of the best mood elevators I know, and it is a great pleasure to enjoy Record Store Day again.”