Kaplan's Korner

May 8, 2018

10th Anniversary— how time does fly

The Record Collector News World Headquarters vinyl collection — 
a work in progress


An old story. Tell me if you’ve heard this story before. Ten years ago, as the Great Recession was getting into high gear, I found myself unemployed — along with a ton of other people — just as the entire world economy was supposedly circling the drain. Plus, after thirty years in the alternative newspaper business, the handwriting was on the internet wall. Print was dead. Capitalism and vinyl records, everyone was saying, were
dead too.

That’s what was banging around in my head as I strolled into a neighborhood record store. I was there because I needed some solace from my troubles. Instinctively, I was looking for peace in the record bins. I needed the joy a used record or two
can bring.

Bob Say, the owner of FreakBeat Records, who was aware of my situation, hit me with, “So, what are you going to do with your life now, Kaplan?” In an attempt to quickly end this conversation, I tossed off what I thought was the stupidest idea I could come up with on the spot. “I’m starting a record collector paper, Bob.”

At that point Bob got really serious and held up a copy of Record Convention News. I had never seen it. Apparently, it had ceased publication four or five years earlier when the publisher, Jim Philbrook, had passed away.

“You should do this,” said Bob.

So, I changed the name to Collector and six weeks later the first issue of Record Collector News hit the streets. At a whopping 20 pages, our circulation totaled 6,500 papers distributed at about 60 record stores, mostly in Southern California. We had about 27 advertisers.

Ten years later our circulation has grown to as much as 15,000 papers distributed at over 400 locations around the country. Vinyl sales are up ten years in a row. There are many more record stores today than when we
first started.

Record Collector News has grown, but let’s just say, my personal finances do not match the awesomeness of the record collection I am putting together. And I am listening to those records on a much-improved sound system that’s the best I’ve ever had. The fact that my turntable is worth more than my car says as much about my turntable as it does about my car. In other words, RCN has allowed me to get my priorities right. I have never regretted the price I paid for an awesome record… or turntable!

With those priorities as a guiding light, RCN’s mission is to get my fellow collectors into record stores to buy records and then to play those records on equipment that thrills them. That’s what it’s all about. For me. Oh, there might be the occasional sealed record that I held onto and never tore open. Whatever.

George Carlin had a joke about weed. There is two-hit weed. There is one-hit weed. And, there is no-hit weed. You just keep the no-hit weed in the closet and stay high. I guess that’s what sealed records are about. Me, I prefer the two-hit shit. It’s really, really good, but not the end of the world if you spill a little.

This white label promo copy of the Kinks’, Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround , recorded in 1970, is the latest addition to the Kaplan collection.

This white label promo copy of the Kinks’, Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround , recorded in 1970, is the latest addition to the Kaplan collection.

So, dig in folks. Get into those record bins. Needless to say, I hit a lot of record stores and observe treasures every single day. I bought a white label promo copy of the Kinks’ Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround the other day. White label promo! Teasing me on the wall! I came back the next day with an armful of unwanted records to trade and grabbed it. Stone-cold “mint,” it sounds stunning. It’s so much more fun than going online to Amabayzon. Plus, you can get into the whole record stores subculture which includes every single cliché you can imagine on display somewhere near you.

Yet, the best thing about the vinyl haunts is when the equally crazed staff there gets to know what you like and turns you onto something that might seem like a stretch at first, and then becomes something wonderful. That happens all the time.

There would be no Record Collector News without Harvey Kubernik and Suzanne Rush. Suzanne and I have worked together on every one of these magazines and she is responsible for the art, design and look and Harvey has penned about 65 of the 68 cover stories. Thanks to you both.

To everyone who reads, and advertises, with RCN, thank you. You are the life and blood of Record Collector News.

I hope you love it as much as I do. It’s a way of life.



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