Friday, April 15, 2011
Record Store Day 2011
I would admit that I am an Apple "junkie" in every sense of the word. I have owned almost every version of the iPod that has been released over the years, I have an iPhone 4, three Macs at home and am typing this on my iPad. Without a shadow of a doubt, Apple changed the music business with the inception of the iTunes store. I also admit that I was on board from the very beginning. When new music is released on Tuesdays, I typically wake up early in the morning and preview songs before I purchase them right from the comfort of my home. This was routine and very convenient for me when I lived in a small town that didn't have a local record store nearby. After moving to Knoxville and discovering my "Graceland," the Disc Exchange, I was reacquainted with the wonderful experience of going into a music store and spending time browsing through the many aisles of music and getting lost in all of the sights, smells and sounds. They could literally play any music while you are in-store and make it "cooler."
I have many fond memories from my childhood, saving up all of my allowance money and riding my bicycle several miles to the record store in Greenville, SC, where I grew up. In recent years, purchasing an entire album was foreign to me as I had grown so accustomed to just downloading only the songs I wanted. What about the album artwork? I had accepted that a compact disc had a smaller version of the album artwork inside the jewel sleeve, but with digital music, there is nothing but a measly digital picture of the music with NO additional artwork with most purchases.
Don't get me wrong, I am not blaming Apple for the demise of the music business like Jon Bon Jovi has. Being a disc jockey, playing music for a crowd is the fun part, but loading up a vehicle with heavy sound equipment and carrying in stacks of compact discs and vinyl is quite miserable. With an iPod, I can literally carry most of my music collection in my pocket. I guess i thought that I was embracing the future and joining the evolution of the music industry, but the reality is that I was part of the problem and am just as guilty of shutting down independent record stores, as Best Buy and Wal-Mart.
About two years ago, I began to ween myself off of my downloading addiction and made the time each week to drive over to Chapman Highway and visit the Disc Exchange. I began purchasing vinyl again and have introduced my two sons to a medium of music that is making a major comeback. I have also gotten to know some of the great folks that work at the Disc Exchange. In fact, one of their resident music experts knows my tastes in music so well, he has been able to introduce me to several new artists that I would have never discovered on my own. You simply cannot put a price or value on the experience you have at an independent record store. Sadly, with the state of our economy and the music industry's dismal sales year in 2010, many of the great independent record stores will not survive much longer. When the record stores are gone, what is this generation going to remember about buying music...that they were able to download Lady GaGa while sitting on the toilet? Come on people!
All the reason that you need to make the time to visit the Disc Exchange tomorrow and experience RECORD STORE DAY! The doors open at 9 am and there will be bands, food, beer and exclusive buys in store at the Disc Exchange, tomorrow only. I went last year and it was a blast. Independent records stores all across America will be hosting Record Store Day and whether you are a music nut or only a casual listener, there is something there for everyone. Support your local independent record store!!