Friday, April 16, 2010

On Record Store Day - The Day Before

I've been thinking a lot about Record Store Day lately, for more reasons than one. Obviously, it's a great day in its own right. In Minneapolis there were always in-store concerts, sales on most everything and so on. In D.C., there are sales, giveaways, maybe some in-stores? I'm not sure. But all those things make Record Store Day, in and of itself, a worthwhile affair. Anything that brings like-minded people together is a good thing.

But as I noted in the previous post, this time around -- now that I actually have a record player -- I'm set on getting my hands on some of these exclusive releases. I'm so set, in fact, that I'll probably be lining up at least three hours before opening tomorrow in D.C.'s Adams Morgan neighborhood just to be among the first in line. Crooked Beat is stop number one, as I hear they'll have most releases and some giveaway bags as well.

The idea of getting up early, waiting that long in line - basically the day-after-Thanksgiving approach - is something I couldn't really see myself doing for anything for a long time though. I once waited six hours outside Fifth Element in Minneapolis for the last 100 remaining tickets to the Rhymesayers 10th Anniversary Show, but that ended up being one of the greatest concerts I've ever been to. Worth it. I also waited for a couple hours for a Brother Ali in-store/release party there, but nothing like this, I think.

Then I started thinking about the objective reality of what I'll be doing: Waiting in line for limited-release records that contain music that are only available for one day. In the year 2010, that's quite strange if you think about it. I could easily download a lot of music right now. I could find some of these records on Ebay or something - granted, they'll likely be much more expensive than they will be tomorrow. But, no. Tomorrow, on April 17, 2010, I'll be getting up early and waiting in line at a real-live store to buy music in it's physical form on vinyl. How strange.

But as strange as it is, I think that reality is what I like so much about this vinyl adventure. In today's world, so much is available at any time, whenever you want it. New music? Download it - maybe even for free. Movie you want to see? Go online. That television program you like? Hulu. You can Netflix, you can Tivo, you can stream, and on and on. I don't know if all that is really a good thing, though. It kind of cheapens the product and the experience. There's a big difference in the mindset when it comes to music when it can be either simply some coded data on a computer or a physical thing you can hold, look at, and so on. I mean, sure I watch stuff on Hulu and download music. But in a way that just hurts the sense of community around a common activity -- everyone's got their own screen, their own ear buds, doing their own thing. You're experiencing little together - that's no fun.

But Record Store Day has become a kind of last vestige of a time when people would get together to watch a show or listen to an album -- and just do that. More than just an excuse to probably spend too much money on records and go for the exclusive releases, Record Store Day is something that brings people together, as cheesy as that sounds (and believe me, I know it's cheesy). But it's true, too! Tomorrow, there I'll be, with a bunch of other like-minded people, standing in line, together, waiting to buy music we could - for the most part - already be listening to. On its face, that's strange. But if you get it, it's great. And it's really a rare thing in today's world. And I'm really, really looking forward to it.

No comments:

Post a Comment