Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Who Else Wants a Record Store?

The other day I was sitting in my office at work, listening to the Yahoo! streaming radio station, and a Damien Rice song came on. I've heard the guy before, and I like his stuff. You probably have too, if you watch The O.C. with any regularity.

Not that I do.

So anyway, I'm listening to this song, and I like it, and decide, "You know what? I've got some free time. I'm going to go out and grab his CD over my lunch break."

I walk out from Vanderbilt University and realize; "There aren't any record stores around here. Especially not ones that would carry a lesser-known artist."

As most of you know, Tower Records went bankrupt earlier this year, and it was one of the stalwarts of the music scene here in Nashville on Lower West End Ave. Now, I'm not really jonesing for Tower per se. It was an overpriced, media hungry establishment, and from what I understand, miles away from what it was originally intended to be. But it sold records that you really couldn't find anywhere else in Nashville, and it was convenient from most areas.

Now there's nothing but megastores like Borders, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, etc., and no real music stores. This is disappointing to me, since I really did grow up going to record shops. I still feel kind of at home when I walk into one, no matter where it is.

To me, online music buying has not replaced that feeling. And while it's convenient and sometimes cheaper than actually going to a store, it doesn't have that sense of space that I fondly remember. I suppose I'm in the minority, but I miss normal, pure record stores. They can be more than a place to merely buy a new CD. They can be a place to hang out, share different bands with other people, and discuss new things to listen to. I suppose this could be done in a chat room online, but if we're replacing conversation with online chatter, there's definitely something wrong around here.

So let me know. Am I stupid for wanting this in my hometown? Has the music industry given up on these stores and solely gone to online sales? I hope not.


At 12/06/2006 03:55:00 PM, Blogger Kennelworthy said...

I am sorry to say that I think the Record Store, as we know it, is dead.

There is a tremendous swing toward online sales--so much so that I read an article in Wired Magazine a month ago called "Is the album dead?" If individual song downloads are capable of destroying the album...I'm pretty sure they'll destroy the record store also.

And that does suck.

I also enjoyed the fine variety at Tower. Twice I bought a CD I wasn't planning to buy or even aware of just because they were playing it over their loudspeaker while I browsed. You definitely don't get that when you buy at Amazon.

I think I would miss it more if it didn't have that corporate giant-type feel. I mean, if the record store from the movie High Fidelity really existed...and then was gone...I'd miss the hell out of that place. But I never really connected to a music store. Maybe Phonolux...that place is always fun.

At 12/06/2006 06:15:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Well, guys...I always heard Grimey's is a great record store. It's on 8th Ave S. and it should cater to all of your needs. I don't know what kind of business it does, but it certainly has street cred.

At 12/06/2006 09:10:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

I'm an online shopping nut simply because, much like many people, I get sick of dealing with having to deal with driving somewhere (especially Nashville, since I'm in the Boro, and there are only chains out here) and then dealing with all of the annoying people most places partake in inviting in. Call me an on-line slut; whatever; I like the convience.

I agree with KW, record store is dead, as will video rentals (or DVD rentals as some places are calling themselves now) be in few years , and I'm sad to say Bookstores, which I do still enjoy cruising into once in awhile. But we don't have any really cool bookstores down here either. It's pretty much all chains. Sad to say, maybe, but it's a sign of the times. Opening up an independent record store would only be a risky investment, not something to bring the trend back especially in a city like Nashville. But that's just my opinion. I hope I'm wrong.

At 12/07/2006 08:50:00 AM, Blogger Mike said...

I kind of hate to tell you, Barrett, but I've pretty much gone to online purchases only. Maybe I make the occasional trip to Phonolux or Grimey's, but typically or is the only place to go.

KW mentioned that he can find some decent things at a Tower, but I can find the same variety and even more online. Just a bit of research and I've found several albums (and books!) to buy. And then I get recommendations from other blogs. I love it. I think I get mailed a package a week filled with some sort of media.

To put this in more perspective - I live about two minutes from Phonolux, and I haven't been there in a year. I just don't see the point. So I certainly would not be your target audience.


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