Record Store Day Head Michael Kurtz Knighted by French Minister of Culture

Record Store Day was honored during MIDEM this year with Michael Kurtz, who heads up the Department of Record Stores (formerly Music Monitor Network), being named a "Knight" of the Orders of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture, on behalf of record stores who participate in Record Store Day (or as its called in France, Disquaire Day).

In a statement on receiving the award, Kurtz said record store owners are like recording artists because they choose longevity over a quick profit and embrace the soulful experience of building a great store because they want their customers to feel the joy and energy from music, just like music artists do when they create their music. Recording artists and record stores "both want to reach the largest audience possible and to add to their life, make it better, lift their spirits."

In addition to Kurtz's honor, Record Store Day itself will be awarded an Independent Spirit Award by NARM at its annual convention on May 8th. "Record Store Day is a big part of the reason why physical formats are still a significant segment o the music business," said Jim Donio, President of NARM, in a statement. "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." The Department of Record Stores, the Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS), and the Alliance Of Independent Media Stores (AIMS) — the collective founders of Record Store Day – will accept the award.

Record Store Day came about because the media was writing record store obituaries, even though many independent neighborhood stores remain vibrant, Kurt said. "No one person is in charge of Record Store Day or profits from Record Store Day, but instead thousands of artists and record store owners come together to bring joy and love to the hearts of music fans," he added. "We have created the first ever worldwide music event."

This year's event, which is managed by the Department of Record Stores in partnership with the Alliance of Independent Media Stores, and the Coalition of Independent Music Stores, takes place on the third Saturday of April, which this year is on April 20.