Local record store icon on how record stores can survive

Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

WASHINGTON — Skip Groff, whose Yesterday and Today Records on Rockville Pike was a gathering place for music fans and musicians from 1977 to 2002, believes human interaction is the key if independent music stores can survive in a world of digital downloads.

On this fifth Record Store Day, musicians and record companies are releasing limited edition material, which can only be purchased at brick and mortar stores.

Groff knows from personal experience the challenges of maintaining a store, in an era where a digital download is only a computer click away.

“Once a person gets into acquiring music that way they’re just not interested in hard copies anymore,” says Groff.

He now sells music through mail order, on the Yesterday and Today website, eBay, and local music shows.

“Record Store Day is for the person who wants the visual aspect of owning the items, so they can enjoy them on a visual as well as a musical level,” says Groff.

While the song itself may be available on iTunes, Amazon, or other digital download sites, the aural aspect doesn’t meet a collector’s definition of “a record,” says Groff.

“Picture sleeves and colored vinyl is an important aspect to those people,” Groff said.

According to its website: “A Record Store Day participating store is defined as a stand alone brick and mortar retailer whose main primary business focuses on a physical store location, whose product line consists of at least 50 percent music retail, whose company is not publicly traded and whose ownership is at least 70 percent located in the state of operation. (In other words, we’re dealing with real, live, physical, indie record stores

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