Sunday, February 14, 2010

Your Stories

TLRS loves your stories about music retail (from either side of the counter) and would like to post them. Please leave a comment and we'll put them up, either in batches or (in this case) as stand alone pieces.

I used to own a very hip indie record store. I fought bravely through the early punk years dealing with GG Allin, an occasional blood-spurting exploding penis on cover of a 45, Dead Kennedy's posters by HR Giger, and other gross and offensive imagery. When the Ism LP came out with the extreme close-up of the woman giving birth on the cover, I caved and put a brown wrapper over it -- mostly so I didn't have to look at it every single day myself.

But the day I got a call from a white power distribution company trying to get me to carry Skrewdriver and other similar bands gave me one of the sickest feelings I've ever had. My first conversation with a card-carrying Nazi was as short as I could make it, but the sick feeling lingers 15 years later.

Just wanted to add my "Well done!"

I first heard reggae rapper Shinehead say it and I agree "Freedom of speech is freedom to teach" and there's no reason to put up with racist entertainment.

(Anonymous for now...)


  1. As I write this, the next to last remaining independent record store in Dayton, OH will be closing down within the week. When the news hit, so many music lovers went into shock. Like so many other dying institutions, everyone flocked to the store for one last time of remembrance. But I knew it was coming.

    While growing up, the first place I hit after cashing my paycheck was the record store. That custom continued well past the cd switch. But within the last 5 years, the releases I wanted became more difficult to obtain. It became frustrating to go into a local record store only to walk out empty handed because the album I truly wanted had to be special ordered. I hate to admit this, but when the digital download options came into play, I played that option out because it was more convenient.

    I still miss those old days of walking into a well-stocked record shop & losing myself. But that was another problem. The inventory in some of our local shops became so scarce that it wasn’t even fun to browse anymore. All you could find was the same popular music found in most major department stores. There used to be so many record collector shows in this region, but those likewise ceased operations about 7 years ago.

    Like I indicated previously, I knew the digital download options would kill the independents. I was stubborn & tried to buy everything I could from our local shops. When I finally bought my first download via Amazon, I knew that was it. I found some remixes that I’d been trying to find via special orders, but to no avail. But there they were staring at me from the computer screen. I could have them with the click of a button. I went for it.

    We still have one remaining independent record store left in this small town. Trouble is, they don’t sell the music I love. But I hope they stay in business for a long, long time.

  2. You next on the Your Stories list. Thanks so much!

  3. Back in my teenage years (late 70s), I loved going to record stores, not only locally, but whenever we were on a family vacation or even a shopping trip to a "nearby" city (quotes are because we lived in the middle of nowhere), usually in Minnesota (Duluth, Minneapolis) or Manitoba (Winnipeg). One of my favorites was "The Last Place on Earth"/"The Electric Fetus" in Duluth. There you could get all kinds of imports and obscure stuff, all brand new. Mainstream record stores were great also, whenever there was a big sale on.

    Today, what have we got? Wal-Mart, whose stock is abyssmal and very mainstream, HMV, where you have to pay an arm and a leg for anything, and other chains of that ilk.

    It is these people who control the charts; they decide what they stock or don't stock, and indirectly what sells or doesn't sell.

    The record companies, too, should share some blame, for changing formats so often, because they seem to do so just to sell you the same old albums on the new format.

    They're whining now about downloading -- sure it's okay when the new technology is on their side, but watch out when it's on the consumer's side for a change.

    So, where do we go for the stuff we want? Online seems to be the only place. Music blogs are great because of the downloading possibilities.

    I feel for the artist, but if it's someone new, and I like his stuff, I make sure I go out and buy his new stuff whenever it comes out instead of downloading it.

    And, as for "old" stuff, often online is the only place to get it. Hey, if they'd release it, I'd buy it, but they won't. So, I have to turn to those brave souls who share it with the world at large. They're doing the rest of us a great favour, and to them, I say, "Thanks!"