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I’m not that familiar with Lavander Diamond. Are all of their songs produced with Microsoft Songsmith, or just this one?
Every time I try listening to a whole VG song, I find my self wishing I were listening to a new Aislers Set record instead. If VG intrigue you, but leave you feeling a little meh, check out The Aislers Set’s “Terrible Things happen”. It’s what lo-fi garage pop sounds like when fronted by a woman who understands things like melody and harmonies.
If record stores are dropping like flies, it’s because they’re largely superfluous these days. That’s hard for me to say, having worked at an independent record store for half a decade, but it’s true. Brick and mortar stores had three main things to offer their customers: 1. New product, 2. Used product/exchanges, and most importantly, 3. Expertise.
With new product, anything a customer wants is available to order through online distributors like InSound, who offer a far greater inventory than a physical store can hope to match. And of course, that physical product is now competing with legal digital downloads. The only real advantage physical record stores have over the internet in terms of new product is the “get it now” factor. Which only works if your customer needs to have their record or CD that day, and you happen to have it stocked.
As for used product, record stored still have the upper hand. There’s nothing quite like the experience of digging through crates of records or CD’s to find a gem you didn’t know you needed, and at a great price to boot. Still, I think online auction sites probably drain a lot of business from record stores for a lot of planned purchases.
I think the biggest thing hurting record stores now is the shift away from record store clerks being important sources of music knowledge. When I worked at a store in the mid 90′s, customers got wind of new music through their friends, monthly publications, or their knowledgeable record store clerk. The clerks had a big advantage, spending hours of their day listening to new music, and were a tremendous resource for customers looking to be exposed to new music. It’s not as though clerks know any less now, but with all the information the internet has to offer, that knowledge is drastically less important. Fans of music in 2009 have the ability to bookmark one or two or ten blogs who share their tastes, read about every new release they’d care about, and hear full or partial previews of any song they’d be interested in. And if that fan doesn’t have the time or energy to devote to this research, their friends often do.
I worked at an indy in the 90′s when stores like Best Buy were rising, selling new CD’s as loss leaders to get people in the store to buy TV’s. We could not hope to compete on price. What kept us in business, at least for another decade or so, was our expertise. People were actually willing to pay a little more to have the knowledge and guidance of clerks who knew their music in and out. Now that knowledge and guidance is available to a music fan at home, 24 hours a day.
Music stores have been dropping like flies because their main competition, the internet, has them beat in almost every way. Even if fans still actually purchase everything they sample and enjoy.
I agree for the most part. The problem is one of distribution and scale. For the smaller independent artist, digital-only releases are dirt cheap. A dude in his bedroom can make a record, anywhere from one song to CD-length, and have it distributed through the major digital channels (iTunes, eMusic, Amazon, etc) for almost nothing. If nobody buys the record, the financial losses are trivial; if the record gets a bunch of attention, there’s no danger of being understocked. Distribution is wide-reaching, instantaneous, and requires no transactional labor from the artist or label.
With physical formats, production and distribution costs are both serious concerns. For an artist on the level of Thom Yorke, I completely agree that multi-format releases make sense and serve both the artist and the fanbase. But a great deal of artists are not at a level where this makes obvious sense. Production costs for physical media are far more significant than those of digital media, and there is risk of losing money on undersold units. When physical media are produced, distribution becomes an issue. The small runs you suggest reduce production costs, but they also reduce availability on store shelves. Mailorder is the obvious solution, but then that competes with the instant gratification and reduced cost of the digital download.
I think the “CD is dead” argument holds water in the sense that now music distribution is not limited by the constraints of production and distribution costs. And for both artists and fans, that’s huge. Revolutionary even. I don’t have to think that far back to the days when I would hear a friend’s out of print Pram CD, or Tortoise 12″, and I’d have no way of getting an actual copy. That now seems unthinkable, and it’s because of digital distribution.
Artists with established fanbases should definitely release vinyl, CD, and digital versions of their records. But every other artist, and music fan, should be grateful that releasing or acquiring new music is not constrained by the necessity of a physical object, and shouldn’t really sweat it when that physical object isn’t part of the deal.
I love my brother dearly. But if he killed himself, leaving behind a fatherless 20-month old baby, with the note: “I haven’t felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music, along with really writing . . . for too many years now”, then I’d be the first person to call him a selfish asshole.
Here’s how life works: When you don’t have children, you get to have all the demons and tragedy you like. When you have a baby, you become an adult, and you give up the luxury of such self-centered activity.
Agreed. Above all else, we must strive to preserve the dignified legacies of young fathers who abandon their children in acts of cowardice…
Kurt made some good music. But he forever gave up his claim on any respect, reverence, or dignity when he pulled that trigger and left his baby girl without a father.
Being forced to sing hair metal in a video game is far lass than this coward deserves.