Back in 1989, my impressionable eyes and ears were filled with the sounds and images of Janet Jackson and Guns N Roses... and then when I learned to stay up late and watch 120 Minutes, I began to discover punk and indie bands and life as I knew it changed. The record store became tied with the library for my favorite place on earth.
I'm still that way. That's why I was super excited for Record Store Day, which took place last Saturday. In case you didn't hear about it, it was a celebration of indie record stores. All the labels put out special releases--maybe brand new songs by well-loved artists or unreleased or out of print stuff and most of it was on vinyl!!!
My two prize purchases were the blue 12 inch of REM's first EP Chronic Town which has been out of print for years and the white 10 inch of "Skinny Little Bitch," the first single from a "reunited" Hole (I put that in quotes because the only original member is Courtney Love so that doesn't feel like a reunion, but I am still enjoying the music I've heard by them so far). Maybe some of you are fellow vinyl lovers, but others are going... "Wait... why do you listen to records?"
I'm one of those audiophiles that will tell you the music sounds better on vinyl. I grew up on my parents' records and I was probably the only class of 1997 graduate who asked for a record player for graduation since vinyl was basically dead then. But I was into punk and punk bands still put out seven inches and that is what made me a collector. My most prized possession? A clear pink 12 inch version of Nirvana's first album, Bleach. I found it for 10$ several years ago and when I checked back then it was worth 200$. Not that I'll ever sell it because it's part of my collection.
I only listen to my iPod when I'm on the go or traveling. I find it convenient for storing massive quantities of music, but that's about it. I don't download music, I go to the store and buy it. I like to support local businesses and I have interactions with Jodi and Peter, the owners of The Old School Records, the indie record store in my town, that I couldn't have with iTunes. I play with their dogs and their baby when I come to the store and they personally introduce me to new bands.
But even if I lived in the middle of nowhere with no cool record stores, I'd probably find a record store that would ship things to me. I discussed this with Peter at my record store. Both of us don't feel like downloaded music is as a real. It's not tangible. I can't touch it. And it has no resale value whatsoever. As Peter joked, "There's no "Download Day" because downloads have no real value." Peter says he doesn't take music seriously until he has the product in hand. He feels like downloads treat music as a disposable, like magazines. You can use them and then just delete or throw away. I have to agree.
So yeah, that's why I still buy vinyl--love interacting with real people to buy my music and I want my music to be physical, though preferably with a download so I can easily put it on my iPod for when I travel. I want the actual record in my hand. I want to read the liner notes and look at the pictures and not on a computer screen. I want to smell it, listen to it crackle. It's the same way I feel about books and why eBooks will never replace paper books for me. What about you? Do you still buy music in physical, vinyl or CD form? And if you celebrated Record Store Day, what did you get? If you missed it, no worries, just be sure to look for info on it next April!