I just found this trailer for a documentary called “I Need That Record”. The documentary tells the story of 1000s of independent record stores and their survival. I thought it would be good to post it since it is Record Store Day tomorrow, April 19th.
“I Need That Record” is a documentary feature examining why over 3000 independent record stores have closed across the U.S. in the past decade. Are they going to die off? Will they survive?
Since the 1890s the record store was THE place to go for prerecorded music, but today the way we access and consume music has been redefined by technology. Ecommerce, iTunes, the iPod, P2P networks, music blogs, and social networking sites have all had a profound impact on the way we access music and on the state of the independent record store. Downloading and pirating seem to be the easy answers to the chaotic state of the music industry, but higher powers like major labels, big box stores (Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy etc.), and corporate owned FM radio are also shaking things up.
The music industry has always been a unique marriage of art and commerce, but today commerce has proved to be the ultimate influence. Rather than develop great acts, embrace new technology, offer affordable products; the major labels are more concerned with turning the clocks back to preserve old business models- with only one thing in mind- THE BOTTOM LINE.
Keep the full paid expense accounts and 7 figure incomes. Keep suing fans. Keep shoving bland music down people’s throats that will sell x amounts. Keep producing homogenized radio programs that play the same 50 songs. Keep supporting big box businesses that could care less about music; businesses that sell music below list price. Keep screwing the consumers and retailers who love and care about good captivating music. Squash new ideas, new innovations, and new possibilities as the future of recorded music, a commodity that supports the artist, vanishes.
While it would appear that the internet is the new force for musical discovery and delivery independent record stores have been, and still are a strong force on the musical experience.
Record stores serve as important community spaces that provide foundations for new musical and artistic scenes and movements, a place where unique under the radar bands have been continuously supported, a place where the underground can thrive, a place where independent thought is encouraged and challenged, a place where people of different ages, races, and taste can mix and mingle face to face.
Unlike the internet, physical stores are a real place, with real people, where community is formed and supported. Not just record stores, but original mom and pop main street stores are all in a fight to stay alive. Independent businesses are hubs for new jobs, new innovations, and creative thought.
Over the past ten years it has become increasingly harder to compete with big chain businesses that have big money and Congress protecting them. The rich and powerful in business and government have thrown a wrench in the wheels of progress. American culture has become more isolated and atomized as a result of homogenous culture and thought. Businesses and establishments that make different parts of America distinct from one another are disappearing. In order to save community, ourselves, and our world what we need are independent creative places where new ideas and thought can be nurtured. Not more of the same…
Some interviews include- Ian Mackaye of Dischord Records Fugazi/Minor Threat/Teen Idles, Chris Frantz of the Talking Heads, Pat Carney of the Black Keys, Mike Watt of the Minutemen/reunited Stooges, Noam Chomsky, guitar composer Glenn Branca, punk author Legs McNeil, rock photographer Bob Gruen, Bryan Poole guitarist of Of Montreal, Numero Records, Rhino Records, Bloodshot Records, United Record Press (the largest vinyl plant in the U.S.), and many many many indie stores across the U.S. (NYC, Boston, DC, Cleveland, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Minneapolis, Memphis, Nashville, L.A.).