Occurring annually on the third Saturday of April, Record Store Day is aimed at bringing together all independent record stores to celebrate the art of music. Originally the brainchild of Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Carrie Colliton, Amy Dorfman, Don Van Cleave and Brian Poehner, it is now a global tradition, and one that has had the backing of artists such as Metallica, Joshua Homme, Iggy Pop and many more.
In today’s digital age people demand everything yesterday and music is easily downloaded from the internet. Many bands and artists release new material online prior to hard copy release dates. We have all heard the argument that audio quality is nowhere near as good if you choose to listen to your music in MP3 format as opposed to on CD or Vinyl. However, people appear to be shunning these older formats for the quick and easy option. Online retailers regularly offer albums at a much lower price if bought as a download.
Does this not mean that we are being pushed towards this trend? Browsing in my local record store for vinyl recently reinforced this concern. The average price for a record is between £15 and upwards. This is too expensive in my opinion. What incentive do shoppers have to buy vinyls at these extortionate prices, when they could buy four or five as a digital download for the same price? Especially with the cost of living as high as it has ever been of late. I recall browsing in my local record store and being introduced to many bands and artists. That in itself was a great experience, today you can find out about an artist in less than ten minutes online.
I much prefer discussion with fellow music enthusiasts and being pleasantly surprised at someone else’s record choice as opposed to what Google can muster up in 0.034 seconds. Music is an art form and MP3s are doing it an injustice. Yes, I can see the benefits of them but aren’t we just being a little too lazy when it comes to browsing? In the past it was almost treated like a pilgrimage, hanging out at the local record store for hours flicking through scuffed vinyls whilst new and undiscovered music was being played.
Has the way we experience and choose new music changed too much? Have we passed the point of no return? Should the music industry be doing anything about this?