Record Store, Need I Say More

…ok, it’s corny to use a lyric from a song I wrote in high school as a subject line…especially if that lyric is to a song that you could not possibly have heard.  Also…since the line is…badly written…but it suits the blog so I continue!!

I miss record stores.  ‘Record Store’ probably means something different to everyone.  To me, it’s the Used Record Stores of Guelph, Orillia, and the side streets of Toronto that I used to frequent in the early 90s.  I would flip through the vinyl (or cassettes, at the start, and later the CDs) and grab sometimes ten…twenty at a time!

I’d discover new (old) bands based on the album cover, or having heard of them before in passing (Pixies, FM, Hawkwind) or because it was next to an album by a band I liked and was only $3 so who cares!!

It was a very cool experience: flipping through albums and discovering treasures.  I found the Peter Hammill albums that a friend played for me when I was younger…the Jazz Butcher, Nash the Slash…

I found an album from the late 70s of electronic music that sounds like an early version of house, where no instruments were listed…just ‘Computors.’ (sic)

I found full length LPs with singles I heard on the radio, and then had a chance to hear the rest of the album. Sometimes I was lucky…other times…the album sucked.

It was, for lack of a less lame word, an adventure every time I walked into one.  I knew I’d be leaving with something, I just didn’t know what.

That whole experience is kinda gone now.  Ric’s Collectables on Main Street closed down right under my nose…I walked by it a thousand times but only went in twice.  The three stores I used to visit in Guelph are gone.  I’m not sure if Round Again Records in Orillia has survived.

Worse, the last record store I visited in Toronto, just yesterday…it ‘looked‘ like an old dingy used record store, but the prices certainly didn’t match. ($20 for a wrecked copy of XTC that I picked up a decade ago for $4?  Seriously?)

I’d love to find a way to bring that feeling to the modern age but…its hard to see how.  iTunes and online digital music retailers are boring.  Sure, I can flip through at a million miles a minute, find the album I’m curious about with a search, even preview it by pressing play…but the ability to discover the albums ‘around‘ it doesn’t exist anymore.

Google and Facebook don’t even really let me discover anything new anymore.  The algorithms are designed to help me find things based on what I’ve already found.  Over time, a search online will only point you in the directions you’ve taken before, never down a path you didn’t know you wanted to take.

Is that progress?!

I’m not pessimistic, though.  The pendulum always swings back and I’d be surprised if reaction to ‘personalized search’ doesn’t lead to a more randomized option.

And with record stores, they are pretty much fading, but something new and adventurous will be on the way.

When I spot the seeds of that new idea sprouting I’ll be sure to talk about it here!

Or…if you see it…please let me know!  I’d rather find out from a real person about a cool new twist on the record store than try to find it online!

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5 Responses to “Record Store, Need I Say More”

  1. cartographer1973 Says:

    Re: “Personalized” (or “targeted”) search results based on prior searches.

    OK, so, we know this is happening with Google and Facebook. This whole targeted search is driven by profit motive. And you’re right, it creates a more narrow world view than is really good or necessary. I agree, there may be times and situations where targeted searching can be a good thing, but I also think that in most situations it isn’t really necessary. In effect, it’s “dumbed down” the internet for the user and given the brains to some corporate committee somewhere. Of course, this isn’t in the user’s best interest; the user needs to learn control and how to sort the garbage from the good.

    That said, perhaps you should try different search engines instead of Google. There were dozens of them before Google came along, after all. Some of them are still around. My personal favorite of these is Ixquick, which is a metasearch engine (i.e. it searches other search engines and compiles the results).

    http://www.thesearchenginelist.com/

    …has a comprehensive list of currently operating search engines, arranged by type, theme, media, geography, etc.

  2. Rob Says:

    Its been bad news all around for record stores of late Sonic Boom is moving thanks to a dollar store (FU dollarama), Criminal Records (my fav) is shutting down, and even HMV has been sold (whether that is good or bad remains to be scene).
    But I am with you on prices. Some places that now recognize that records are ‘hot’ again are increasing prices on records. Even those that are not either collectable or in good shape.
    I was at an ‘antique’ shop (often a great place for vinyl, although prices are generally inflated) where they had a sub-par copy of Zeppelin for 40 bucks. Total rip off.

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  5. opciones binarias Says:

    Having read this I thought it was very informative.
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