michael bunnell publicity photoRecord Exchange Owner and Coalition of Independent Record Stores Executive Director Michael Bunnell will be among Record Store Day founders accepting the Independent Spirit Award from the National Association of Recording Merchandisers at NARM’s annual convention May 8 in Las Vegas.

“Record Store Day is a big part of the reason why physical formats are still a significant segment of the music business,” said Jim Donio, President of NARM. “This Award recognizes those whose innovative thinking, entrepreneurship, and success in their business dealings have helped grow and enhance the business of independent music for both retailers and content providers. Record Store Day’s efforts on behalf of independent record stores, particularly its annual Record Store Day event, personify the independent spirit and have been enthusiastically embraced by artists and fans alike, leading to increased awareness and sales for these important but often overlooked physical institutions.”

Record Store Day was conceived and founded in 2007 to celebrate and raise awareness of independent record stores in the U.S. and throughout the world. Over the past five years, more than 700 U.S. stores and hundreds of international stores have signed up to participate in the organization’s annual Record Store Day event, which features exclusive vinyl and CD releases available on that day only and in-store performances from top artists such as Metallica, fun., Josh Groban, Dierks Bentley, The Smashing Pumpkins, Wiz Khalifa, Regina Spektor, and more. In 2012, the event was responsible for explosive sales gains at indie retailers, with units sold up 26.6 percent from 417,000 the week before the event to 528,000 the week of the event. Capitalizing on this success, the organization held its first Back to Black Friday event in 2010. Held each year on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the event provides a second round of exclusive releases and performances for record store aficionados.

Bunnell will be among representatives from the three founding organizations – the Department of Record Stores (formerly Music Monitor Network), the Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS), and the Alliance Of Independent Media Stores (AIMS) – on hand to accept the Award.

“It’s becoming evident that more and more music fans are seeking an authentic listening experience, and the independent record store is their place of discovery. Indie stores are operated by passionate, educated people who believe in the power of music and fight daily to keep the culture alive and provide a physical sense of community within their city’s music scene. These are the true believers,” said Bunnell. “In a world that is enamored with any new technology, it is still important that we support the people who embrace the art of music, no matter the delivery system.”

ABOUT RECORD STORE DAY: Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 at a gathering of independent record store owners and employees as a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the U.S. and thousands of similar stores internationally. This is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances. Festivities include performances, cook-outs, body painting, meet & greets with artists, parades, DJs spinning records and on and on. Metallica officially kicked off Record Store Day at Rasputin Music in San Francisco on April 19, 2008 and Record Store Day is now celebrated the third Saturday every April. Record Store Day is currently managed by Michael Kurtz and Carrie Colliton, in coordination with Michael Bunnell and Eric Levin.

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