I HAVE NEVER GIVEN UP ON RECORD STORES

April 23, 2010 – 4:31 am

All of my life I considered myself a Liberal in practice and in politics. It has occurred to me in the last few years observing how close minded many so-called self professed Liberals are in actual practice, having an open mind, and practicing preconceived prejudices. In the most obvious of contradictions let’s not forget that someone said (maybe Joni Mitchell) that the Hippie generation turned out to be the greediest generation in U.S. history. By Skip Gildersleeve.

I have and will continue to pursue them everywhere I find myself on the planet. I can’t help but think that Record Store Day is part gimmick and some of the prices were WAY TOO HIGH. I did have a great time though!

INDIE AND MAJORS

Just because it’s on an Indie label does not make it good. And just because it sold six million does not make it bad.

It’s that indie conservatism at work. Indie good, Major bad.

Narrow minded thinking of the self appointed ultra hip.

And if their precious indie band becomes successful and makes a decent living they will abandon them and scream “Sell Out” and look for some other act they can call their own.

I really respect the tastes of people like Tom Bruny whose ability to jump at will between everything without any of these premeditated social hang ups in what I refer to as “Indie Conservatism”.

The same theory can apply to other forms of media. When I lived in Ann Arbor, MI, for 10 years (10 years too long) I surveyed the Ann Arbor news on their movie reviews. If a Hollywood film and a small French or other indie films were released the same week they nearly ALWAYS went with the indie movie regardless of content, quality or artistic merit. “Indie Conservatism” not thinking outside the box but in their narrow minded, self induced rules, social ramifications and confines. ”Indie Conservatism”.

COLLECTING MUSIC OR FORMATS?

Similarly “Conservatism” can be applied to those hung up on formats. Vinyl vs CD, CD Silver Disc vs CD-R (one of the more idiotic), the evilness of mp3, iPods, etc. I am first and foremost a music collector. If a Dylan show is only available as an mp3 download then I will get it that way. Yes, I would rather have it in a FLAC file, lossless, etc but again I want the music.

If I’m sitting at home with my huge collection available then I don’t have much need for my iPod and portable Bose Speaker system. If I’m in Boise, Idaho or Osaka, Japan stuck in a hotel on a day off then having a selection of over 20,000 songs and a decent playback system is nothing short of God Like!

Does it sound as good as vinyl on my home system? Not quite but who fucking cares - it sounds Great in that environment. People who don’t travel for a living will never understand how great this is. Also iTunes and other similar systems offer “lossless” for anyone who prefers this. I go for mp4 to get more selections as “lossless” eats up the memory.

Also want the new Stones song at midnight on a Monday night? Download it! Got a song you want to hear RIGHT NOW? Download it.

This is not to say I won’t buy the same music on CD or LP. Nothing will ever replace a record store for me but we now have an amazing amount of tools and resources that are there for our convenience. This is a situation where we do NOT have to “choose sides” - we can enjoy ALL technology at will. I can understand the allure of your pink Clash 7-inch record from Uruguay or your scratchy 78s. In the end it’s about the music. Though I for one need something to look at if it’s even just for a track list and I appreciate a good cover.

What I Bought At J&R For Record Store Day Along With 4 LPs For 29 Cents Each!



JOHN LENNON
7-INCH BOX SET

Individually numbered, with three 7-inch singles, three postcards, 24 X 36 poster, and custom 45 adaptor hub singles: “Mother” b/w “Why;” “Imagine” b/w “It’s So Hard” and “Watching The Wheels” b/w “I’m Your Angel”. Disappointed when I opened this up, felt & looked kinda cheap.

ROLLING STONES
“PLUNDERED MY SOUL”/”ALL DOWN THE LINE” 7″

Single featuring unreleased track from Exile on Main St sessions. First time available. Hand numbered.

THE STARS OF GOLDWAX
THE STARS OF GOLDWAX 7″ EP

Featuring James Carr, Barbara Perry, The Ovations and George & Greer.

  1. 5 Responses to “I HAVE NEVER GIVEN UP ON RECORD STORES”

  2. Hey Skip,
    Loved the article. Well put.

    Eric

    By Eric A on Apr 23, 2010

  3. While I love the convenience of mp3 and iTunes; I’m really having a difficult time with the carnage the computer has brought to the record store.

    The best thing about the record store and its self-appointed hipness, was that they had “cool” albums and you learned about good and bad records and bands often by what was playing in-store and what the clerks said. Even in the more corporate stores, you got a pretty decent selection, and it was a challenge to go home empty handed. While it is great to be able so many artists in the digital arena, the recommendations from a shop like Amazon seem too much like calculated suggestive selling rather than a genuine recommendation based on your tastes.

    These days, it is hard to find a place that focuses on music anymore. In the Chicago area, the surviving “record stores” have delved into DVD’s, video games, and other merchandise to supplant the dwindling market for new and used music. This is really a heartbreak time for a shop like Norridge’s Rolling Stones that sells only new music (movies, video games, and stereo accessories). There is maybe 4 prime releases a month these days, whereas 10 years ago you would have 3-4 a week… The record store as we know it is in grave danger.

    It started with Best Buys & Circuit Cities crowding out the mom & pop shops who were paying $2 more a disc through their distributor than the Best Buy $9.96 sale price. People went on price, especially when cds were finally comparable in price to audiocassettes.

    Then came Napster, and no real plan from the labels to integrate it. People could take more music than they’d ever listen to, and not have to make difficult decisions in their entertainment budgets. Why pay $15 for a cd when you can steal it through Napster, LimeWire, or any other P2P network? [Karma notwithstanding.]

    While iTunes was able (somewhat) to monetize the download, it also unhinged the single from the album. How satisfying was it when something “out there” finally made sense to you? For me, it took multiple listens to Coltrane, Yes, XTC, R.E.M., Miles Davis, and King’s X albums to realize just how great these artists are/were beyond the “obvious” song that got me to check them out. If not for having the whole album (and the way it all worked together with the imagery and liner notes), I would have 7-8 songs from this collection of artists rather than 7-8 albums from each of these artists on my iPod…

    Newer methods like Spotify may eventually take the ownership issue out of the equation entirely.

    While you and I haven’t given up on the record store, it does seem like the labels, the artists, and the incredibly average musical fan have… There’s small hope when you see a dozen or people trolling the vinyl and cd racks at Restless, but is it going to be enough for the business and indusry to survive?

    By James on Apr 24, 2010

  4. This is the reason why, each time I see a record store, I just can’t stop getting in, why, each time I travel to a nation different than mine, I go looking for record shops.

    By ReneRam on Apr 28, 2010

  5. “All of my life I considered myself a Liberal in practice and in politics.”

    I have no idea what that means

    By Jack on Apr 29, 2010

  6. I was an independent retailer for the better part of two decades. First and foremost was and always been vinyl records. THEY are where the music exists. iTunes, Spotify and all the MANY others all have their place in the world but don’t delude yourself; that place is only convenience, not listening pleasure.
    Though they are a bit more effort, records are the real experience you’ve been looking for. A mono Hendrix original or a mono Beatles, “White”Album” would both be great examples of the quality difference.
    Only now that the LABELS see vinyl as a NEW revenue stream are they re-embracing the format. Too bad they neglected all the RECORD STORES to the point of near extinction. The Label Brass walked away with fat pay-offs like the American Banking Industry. ALL the lower level employees are now the unemployed. Indie retailers, like me, were left to flounder then fade into obscurity. Very little support from the majors would have meant a world of difference in the longevity of my store.
    Major labels: though they are for the most part Bastards; are necessary. They do some good and they are needed to develop new acts but the best come up on their own. RECORD STORES are where you could get quality musical advice and a unique personal experience. You didn’t even have to interact with the staff most of the time either-
    GO TO EVERY RECORD STORE YOU CAN FIND BEFORE THE BUSINESS TAKES ALL OF THEM AWAY.

    By John P McNea III on May 10, 2010

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