Monday, April 11, 2011
Record Store Day 2011
Begin this post by reading the article below which has caused such a fuss on the internet over the past few days.
NME - Why I Don't Care About Record Store Day
So is the journalist telling it like it is or talking plain ole horseshit? To be honest he had lost me after the below:
"I got rid of 90 per cent of my CD-based record collection last year, leaving behind only the records I’d paid for before becoming a music hack."
So basically his physical cds are very important to him and he just dumped out all the shite he had collected free over the years. Not much of a statement really is it? He quickly rushes into :
"And here’s why: if you’re seriously bothered about the way your tunes are delivered to you, you’re focusing on totally the wrong aspect of what makes music great."
The writer hits on a serious point here. It is the music that matters. However he skims over the fact that the quality of an mp3 is nothing like the quality of a vinyl record or a cd so it is obviously not that important to him. My final piece of critical analysis refers to the below :
"If artwork is worth seeing, you’ll see it, even if it’s not on the cover of a CD or vinyl record."
But will people not have to see the artwork to know if it is worth seeing? Very confusing. The reaction to the article eventually resulted in the post of an opposite point of view from another member of the NME staff. Too little too late in my opinion. The bottom line is it is very sad to know that one of the most well known music mags in the U.K. have staff that share these opinions. Everyone knows that the mp3 and downloading (mostly illegal in the eyes of the government and all those lads with desks I may add) has been killing phsyical sales. This is no secret and is not, and will never, go away.
The entire point of RSD is to give the stores a day to fight back. Limited edition, never-heard-before, newly recorded releases mean that the genuine fans will set foot inside a physical, non-corporate music store for possibly the first time in their lives. The limited editions are great but, as far as I can tell, the point is to get people into the store. It is up to the individual store in question then to make such that they do everything in their power to make an impression on the kids, teenagers, twenty-somethings etc. so that they do more than just sell them that €5 record that they set out to buy in the first place.
The easiest impact a store can make on the customer is to go all out and do the shop up a bit. I do not mean a makeover but if a budding young music-lover enters the store and sees a well thought out recommends section (or something similar) they may simply pick up another album while they are there. Even if the customer does not come back well at least another sale has been achieved. Covering the place in RSD posters, banners etc. and pumping good music loud on the stores speakers may also give the day a bit more of a buzz meaning that maybe they will at least come back for Record Store Day 2012!
Medium to Long-Term
Forget the bullshit High Fidelity elitist bullshit. Everyone wants to feel included, part of something and maybe even a little special. Being a teenager is hard enough without some older guy telling you your taste in music is awful and then procees to laugh in your spotty little face. I remember my time behind the counter when a young lad came up to me (about 5 years ago) and asked me had I ever heard of a band called Nirvana. A reply of "Are ya bloody serious? Anyone who knows anything know who Nirvana are!!" would have sent the young lad running out of the shop with his tail between his legs never to return again so it was to my own delight when his eyes lit up to my "One of the best bands ever. We do have them and you are going to bloody love them". I took him down to the Nirvana section but on the way filled him in a little on the whole Seattle scene. The young lad was delighted. Not just that the Nevermind album was in stock but that someone a little older and a little (possibly by a thumbnail) "wiser" had joined him in his excitement and most importantly, for a few minutes at least, he felt he belonged. Obviously this is all very egotistical on my part but I speak from experience. There is nothing better as a young music lover than asking that cool older guy/girl with the scruffy haircut behind the counter if they have a certain album in stock and they approve of your taste.
My rambling point is that human interaction is one of the key ingredients in the survival of a good indy record store. Recommendations, tips on up and coming bands, old stories, even the outside possibility of free tickets some day are all a major part of a music stores dna. Besides the music it is what makes people return and buy more than what they originally planned to buy.
Record stores days are not up simply because record stores still exist. It is with our help that they can continue to survive and, fingers crossed, even prosper again. Check out your local participating Record Store Day indy here. Why not pop in on Saturday (April 16th) just for the hell of it.
Maybe Simon Raymonde from Bella Union can convince you better than I can.