Saturday marks the fourth annual music holiday

As the music industry struggles to monetize music downloads and musicians increasingly turn to their computers to sell music, the record store is clearly becoming a thing of the past.

There was a time when people would line up outside record stores to get new releases, when these shops were the places to hunt for CDs and LPs.

Now, it’s a scavenger hunt to find a record store.

However, Saturday marks the fourth annual Record Store Day, seeking to reintroduce people to their long lost friend: the record store.

“Whatever helps promote record stores, I support,” said DJ John Doe. “As far as the future of vinyl, it might die eventually, but I don’t think its going to die for a while.”

Doe, who only spins vinyl, is no stranger to record stores. Perhaps mostly known for his popular monthly downtown party, The Get Back, Doe can be found in a record store any day of the week rummaging through stacks of LPs and 45’s.

He recounts finding a rare Wisconsin soul 45, one of only three known in existence.

“At the time I didn’t know what I had,” Doe said.

It wasn’t until a year later that he realized the rarity of the find.

That kind of experience will never be replaced by downloading music. The thrill of finding that long sought-after album or discovering a rare forgotten release has been replaced with convenience and immediacy that the Internet provides.

Also, Big B’s, the store where Doe found that rare 45, is no longer open. The once busy shop sits empty in a lot next to UNLV and has now for several years.

In fact, Big B’s was one of three unique record stores near UNLV, an area that now has none.

Balcony Lights and The Hip Hop Site were unlikely neighbors for many years on Maryland. All three stores seemed to close around the same time. Meanwhile, music giant Virgin Records also closed shop in Vegas, and Tower Records closed all of their stores across the country.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Some Las Vegas music stores persist in their endeavors, continuing to serve as hubs for music lovers and collectors.

Waxtrax Records is one such store. Any hardcore Vegas record collector can vouch that Waxtrax is a treasure trove of vinyl gems. Everything from ‘60s progressive rock to ‘80s punk is available here. Be warned, however, that this store is not for the novice. Waxtrax is widely known as a spot for serious collectors with money to spend.

For the record store neophyte, Zia Records is perhaps your best bet.

“This will be the biggest year as far as exclusive, hard-to-find stuff that will only be released on Record Store Day,” said store manager Karl Hartwig. “It’s one of the three biggest days of the year for us.”

Aside from Waxtrax and Zia Records, Las Vegas has a few more haunts for the music lover willing to search. The popular downtown hangout, The Beat, is home to Las Vegas’ newest vinyl spot and sells unique music-related art. Owner Jerry Keogh has added 1,000 new units of vinyl in anticipation of Record Store Day.

Every year, diverse artists release CDs and vinyl of original tracks, EPs, re-issues, special editions, and remixes that can only be purchased through participating independent music stores.

A few of the notable musicians participating this year include Ozzy Osbourne, Beastie Boys, TV on the Radio, Paul Simon, 13th Floor Elevators and a slew of others. You can find a complete list at recordstoreday.com.