I Need That Record: The Death (or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store -- have you seen it yet? You should.
In case you haven't gotten your quotient of feel-like-shit yet today, check out I Need That Record! website, a documentary about the death of independent record stores. For a limited time, you can stream the doc for free in its entirety on Pitchfork or you can purchase it directly for eleven bucks and some change at See of Sound. Either way, it's totally worth screening.
If you're like us, watching the documentary and hearing Mike Watt, Ian Mackaye, Thurston Moore and countless others talk about the joy and satisfaction of record shopping will make you wistful. Record shops create community in a way that digital simply can't replace -- the recommendation from a clerk at Wax Trax is going to have a better impact then any Genius recommendation system or complex algorithm that seems to shoot out Yeasayer for everything.
Some of the most poignant points in I Need That Record! are made by reminding us of the record industry's downward spiral over the course of the last ten years. It goes into the birth of the MP3, Napster, CD prices and the iPod, things we've long sense meshed into our culture. Remember a time not so long ago when the only people that had iPods were weird tech-y college students? What about the dorm room room where the kids had hundreds of thousands of terrible pop-singles they got from Napster? How about the $18.99 CD?
With Record Store Day having come and gone, it might be important to watch something like this simply as a reminder of the power and allure of the record store. While iTunes or LaLa might be the most readily available and easily digestible way to consume music, they can't and won't build communities. They won't introduce you to new people to start a band with, and they certainly can't recommend a great album you haven't heard yet.
For now, there is nothing that will beat the sweet smell of freshly delivered vinyl, mold and all. I Need That Record! captures both the downfall and the resurgence of vinyl in a way that leaves you with a sense of hope. It's well worth the price tag, let's just say that.
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