The Story Behind 3-Inch Vinyl Titles for Record Store Day 2019

Crosley’s RSD3
Courtesy of Crosley

Crosley’s RSD3

From vinyl pressed with blood (The Flaming Lips) to the world’s fastest-released vinyl record (Jack White), Record Store Day has offered a variety of collectibles in honor of the annual event. This year, it’s thinking bigger by going smaller -- with a miniature Crosley Radio turntable, the RSD3. Featuring built-in speakers, the player is designed specifically for 3-inch vinyl (songs must be 2:50 or shorter). A limited run of 3-inch titles, all of which were pressed at Japan’s oldest vinyl manufacturing plant, Toyokasei, will be available on April 13.

Four titles come from Epitaph Records; label head of sales Kathie Merritt received a call last November from Record Store Day co-founder Michael Kurtz asking to license music from Epitaph. The biggest challenge? Finding songs that were short enough. The label chose Bad Religion’s “My Sanity,” off its upcoming album out in May; Rancid’s “Ruby Soho,” from 1995 album And Out Come the Wolves; and The Interrupters’ “She’s Kerosene” and Culture Abuse’s “Dip,” from their respective 2018 releases. “These four artists were a great representation of the label,” says Merritt. Epitaph, she points out, was built on acts like Bad Religion and Rancid, while The Interrupters and Culture Abuse represent the imprint’s future.

Sister labels Epitaph and Anti- have long participated in Record Store Day as annual sponsors of the event’s T-shirt printing at music retalier Amoeba’s Hollywood location. They ask artists to perform and sign vinyl at local record stores across the country and release vinyl exclusives (this year: two 7-inch records from Bad Religion and The Menzingers). Licensing titles for the mini-turntable takes the tradition to a new level -- one, says Merritt, that is especially rewarding to the most committed collectors.

This article originally appeared in the April 13 issue of Billboard.