The lines could start forming as early as 6 a.m. on Saturday as dozens of suburban music fans eagerly wait for their local record store to open.
Such a sight would have been all but unthinkable a decade ago. But it happens every year now on the Saturday in April known as Record Store Day.
Record Store Day 2014The following stores are among those in the suburbs participating in Record Store Day, which is Saturday, April 19. For a complete list, go to recordstoreday.com.
• Algonquin Records, 532 E. Algonquin Road, Des Plaines; (847) 827-0673
• Cheap Kiss Records, 22 S. Villa Ave., Villa Park; (847) 414-9765
• Kiss the Sky, 180 W. First St., Batavia; (630) 406-0086
• Music Masters Worldwide, 5230 Main St., Downers Grove; (630) 663-1137
• Rainbow Records, 421 Northwest Highway, Suite 103, Barrington; (847) 304-0721
• Rediscover Records, 9 S. Spring St., Elgin; (847) 961-8445
• Sunshine Daydream, 708 S. Rand Road, Lake Zurich; (847) 550-9999
• Vinyl Frontier, 1326 N. Riverside Drive, McHenry; (815) 363-8230
"We sell on that one day what we usually do in a month," said Mike Messerschmidt, co-founder of Kiss the Sky records in Batavia. "It's almost like our Black Friday."
Record Store Day, now in its seventh year, is a national celebration of the independent record store. The more than 1,000 participating retailers nationwide get to sell exclusive items -- records, CDs, T-shirts -- that can't be found anywhere else. Some stores give the day a festival-like atmosphere by adding food and live-music performances.
"It's a great thing for us," said John Thominet, owner of Rainbow Records in Barrington. "I think it has probably reminded some people about local record stores, and how fun they are to shop at."
It wasn't that long ago that most towns had their own record store. But economic pressure from big-box stores like Target and Best Buy, followed by the digital revolution in the music industry, killed many of them off.
Record Store Day came along in 2007 as a way to highlight what local shops offer, particularly when compared to the impersonal shopping experiences provided by the big boxes and digital-download sites.
"You can actually talk to other people about music!" said Rich Wagner, owner of Rediscover Records in downtown Elgin. "It's a much warmer kind of experience."
This year's list of exclusive Record Store Day releases includes plenty of vinyl LPs, which have become the key feature of many local stores. CDs, T-shirts and other items also will be available. Just about every genre and era will be represented, from classic artists like Neil Young and the Yardbirds to current indie bands like White Denim and the Julie Ruin. A complete list of the releases can be found at recordstoreday.com.
Individual stores don't know ahead of time which items they will receive, or how many of each.
Most of the CDs and LPs made for Record Store Day are limited to 1,000 units or less.
Both Kiss the Sky and Rediscover Records will open at 8 a.m. Saturday. Rainbow Records will open at 9 a.m.
Kiss the Sky will feature live performances from the Scott Tipping Trio & Friends at 11 a.m. and Heartsfield at 3 p.m.
"It's a huge day -- busy but fun," Wagner said. "I hope the crowd includes at least one person who hasn't been in a record store in a while. I think the day will show them what they've been missing."