Friday, April 15, 2011

Record Store Day 2011 - Why physical music lives on.

Record Store Day 2011 happens internationally on April 16 this year.  Why, in this largely digital age and indeed the format in which I am writing this, does that matter?
Owning real physical music is a thrill. All those who have suffered bereavement when their iPod or other digital music device called it a day will know about this. Physical music is also fragile but it is more about treating it like a pet or a friend and thus not taking chances, let forbid abusing it. Vinyl is a particular case in point: it is larger than many pets and equally likely to repay your neglect by giving up the ghost. Treated with care it can however live for decades, probably centuries, and likely outlive us.
Think about it.
Can you imagine writing a Last Will and Testament that specifies what should happen to your collection of .mp3 and the like? Maybe you can but, arguably even if legally purchased, is it actually legally yours to give from beyond the grave anyway?
Your physical, legally purchased, music is however no less a collection than that of any of your other possessions. The designated recipient might not like it, and there is little that you can do about that, but it is truly yours to bequeath.
Even if you chose to specify that, were it not wanted the chosen recipient should sell it or give it away, it would still be there for others to enjoy.
Now think about it again.
It is not just about old or recherché music - although that is available at independent stores too - because if they were simply to live in the past that would certainly be suicide.
It is about new music, independent labels, self-promoted music and all the rest of the new music phenomenon - much of which is actually a digital/internet phenomenon - and this is why it matters more then ever before.
It is not just an event for would-be artists either. In this respect I'm going to mention a certain Lady Gaga - who has put her support behind Record Store Day 2011 - whilst listening to 'The Fame' on 12" vinyl.  Anything is possible now.


Anonymous said...

Nice post too! Like the Lady Gaga bit at the end!

gogmagog said...

So well-put. I cannot ignore mp3s but am largely controlled by what Frank Zappa so eloquently defined as the "Fondlement & Fetishism Potential" of physical music (when he proposed music as stream/download as early as 1983).

The act of searching for a record, purchasing, unwrapping and looking over is, for me, very near the pleasure of actually listening to the recording. You hit the nail on the head, friend. Again, well-said - and thanks so much for your superb blog.