Record buying is no fun anymore…We are all aware that records are becoming obsolete. That is to say the physical record is soon to become non-existent. Be it 3 years, 5 years or 10 years it really is only a matter of time before they are no more. A dead parrot as it were. Songs still exist of course, are still recorded by artists and are still played live to seemingly increasing audiences; the act though of holding a record in one’s hand is soon to be a thing of the past. Despite the resurgence in sales of vinyl it surely is only a matter of time before there will be only one way of buying a record and that is to download it. ‘Download’. I hate that word. To me it means only one thing and that is the death of record shops.
Record buying for me is no fun anymore…It is true that there are still independent shops out there in the UK but it is worth noting that in the ‘80s they totalled in the region of 2,600; now a mere 281….yes that’s right….2. 8. 1. Practically extinct. Add to that the disappearance of the major chains such as Tower, Our Price, Virgin and Zavvi (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-13067160) and it is becoming very hard to buy music and get something tangible in return. It remains to be seen whether HMV may be the one major chain that does survive but if it does then it will be with no records in their shops but instead Games and electronics.
Record buying for me is no fun anymore…I am a 38 year old man who grew up in the 80’s loving the smell of vinyl and listening to cassette tapes on my Sony Walkman. A man who in the ‘90s got his kicks going to gigs and collecting vinyl but having replaced cassettes with CD’s. The joy of actually going to a record shop and spending hours looking at the different albums finding out what was good and bad. Actually talking to the proprietor and asking his advice….and even sometimes listening to it. It is no longer like this anymore. That was before the internet which on the one hand has been an amazing tool for discovering new music but on the other has reduced the unknown quality of taking a chance on an album. The internet means we have all the information we need at our fingertips whether it is where an artist comes from, what their influences are, what they sound like. Hell I can get their album legally for a tenner or illegally for free at the touch of a button. And that’s the problem.
Record buying for me is no fun anymore… I used to like the thrill of the record buying process. Of walking to the shop. Of browsing the different sections. Of making my choices. Of taking them home; and of listening to them while reading the sleeves. I miss that a lot. Yes it is handy to hear a song you like on the radio, download it and listen to again and again immediately…..but yet…..but yet that song that I have downloaded could be forgotten about tomorrow. Music is throwaway now. It wasn’t always that way…was it? My walls at home may be covered in racks of CDs and of vinyl lined up against them. There might be box sets and special editions dotted around as well but in reality these are just the last dying breath of the record companies. The record companies who need the public to spend their money one last time before music becomes as disposable as the fast food we eat. I won’t miss the record companies. It is great that singer songwriters can get their music directly to the people they want without having to go through the process of being discovered and getting signed. All power to the true artists who may never have been found before….but yet…
Record buying for me is no fun anymore… It’s a shame; I for one will mourn the death of the record store. Browsing online is not the same, it never will be. When I tell my kids (of which I am yet to have any) about these mysterious places where you could buy music they will look at me and think I am odd. Why would I miss such things? Well maybe just maybe I still prefer to go to the cinema rather than watch a film on TV or worse the computer. And maybe just maybe I prefer to take my time browsing my music rather than being sat at home and downloading a song because some wannabe sang a version of it on X-Factor.
Record buying for me is no fun anymore…