Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Rant #1,333: Record Store Day

As I mentioned yesterday, the only shopping I did on Black Friday was for myself, at my local record store.

Record Store Day has been around for the past couple of years, and it highlights local record stores, which had been a dying breed until recently.

Yes, digital downloads have knocked out many of the record stores that proliferated the planet since the 1950s, and even larger chains have gone under because of this, including Tower Records and Virgin Records.

But the local record stores live on, because there are many, many people, like myself, who are serious record collectors, and quite frankly, the only place to get "serious" records--mainly vinyl--are at these local stores.

Sure, you have eBay, but who wants to go through the hassle of bidding on an item?

Yes, we also have GEMM, but like all shopping on the Internet, you can't hold, feel and look at what you want right before you when you order from this site.

Yes, you need an actual store, and that is what Record Store Day is all about.

And various record labels have noticed, and they put out special edition records just for the occasion.

This year, when I visited my local record store on Record Store Day, I was looking specifically for two special edition records to add to my collection.

One was a Beatles' extended play record, a re-released disk on heavier vinyl. One can't pass up a Beatles record during this special day, and being a 1960s music lover, I certainly wasn't going to let it get by me.

Then there was another record by an artist who really isn't much of a singer and is better known for another craft.

His name is Mick Foley, and if you know anything about pro wrestling, you know that Foley, who lives right on Long Island, is one of the all-time greats. Beyond the ring, he is a best-selling author, a comedian, and most importantly, a family man, and I just had to get his Christmas record, which will allow my son and myself to meet him at an in-store appearance later this month.

So I bought those two records, and a bit more.

The store I went to is the type of store that I can get buried in, going through all the aisles, and seemingly miles and miles of records that they have.

I bought some singles that I needed--with picture sleeves, no less--and a few LPs, and I didn't really spend very much money doing it.

And it made me happy, because serious record collectors know that the best way to listen to music is not on CD, not through digital files, but on vinyl.

Sure, I do copy them over to MP3s via my turntable/computer setup, but I do this to listen to what I have on my car radio.

Otherwise, the greatest listening experience is truly via vinyl. Rock and roll was made for that format, and vinyl sales are rising each year, because the younger generation--kids between 18 and 25--are rediscovering vinyl, which I think is great.

There is hope for this world!

I almost forgot to mention that a sidelight of the day was actually quite important--the store I went to donated a percentage of its sales to various local charities.

So all in all, while I missed the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, I really enjoyed myself on that day, shopping in a different, less frenzied way.

To me, there is nothing more relaxing than going through hundreds upon hundreds of records at my local record store.

If you haven't done so, brush off your turntable and go to your local record store.

Vinyl lives!

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