Something killed the record store…


My parents raised me with a healthy appreciation of music, specifically rock and roll.  Combined with growing up in Oceanside (Southern California), which allowed me to have early exposure to the 1980s punk music, and rules that helped to enforce the idea that music was okay, but TV was a waste of time, I have grown up to hold Art and Music as major foundations in my life.

Growing up on the edge of the expanding internet and technology bubble I can remember the horror that was CuteFTP p2p music trading on a 24k modem…  The moment I finally got DSL, and Sean Parker released Napster.  But the record store had always remained a staple regardless.

Even in the free-for-all that existed in the few short years before Napster’s legality was questioned and the file sharing service was shut down, I found myself buying music whenever I could.  Sam Goody’s (Or Vinyl Pizza, for those of you old enough to be in the know :p) was a must on any trip I took to the mall.  As I began to leave High School behind I also began to seek out and find the old town Record Stores.  It’s like browsing through old books, vinyl has a smell, record stores have this essences that is somehow welcoming and embracing.

We lost so many of these independent havens of Rock and Roll when Sam Goody, Hot Topic, and their contemporaries rose to power and became the “Corporate” Music store.  Then iTunes and later Amazon and Google music services joined the marketplace.  As the dust has settled we seem to have just a few mega-stores that sell music.  Best-Buy, Fry’s, FYI, hell even Costco, but where are the old town independently owned Record Stores?

Sure I am a huge fan of online market places, and I am pretty quick to jump over to Amazon, or even the artist’s personal site to buy the tracks I want, but I miss those old squatted buildings.  Front windows covered in concert posters so deep it seem like night inside regardless of the hour, the stacked and filed records, and trays of CDs ready to flip through.  The endless cycle of mixed music that changes to reflect the current employees mood or tastes.  The signed bass, guitar or framed broken drumsticks marking the store front as a place eve artists drop by to poke through.

Even the ghost smells that cling to the carpet of buildings that have sold music for 40 years or more.  History escaping in the passing scent of cigarette smoke, booze, and marijuana.  Our last independent record store, here in Escondido CA, has died and been replaced with a Thai Massage/Nail Saloon.  Has an era ended?  Has the march of progress seen the slow death of the musical havens?

A moment of Silence for those that brought us so much beautiful sound.

-TheGrav

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