Friday, 8 April 2011

NME writers who "don't care about Record Store Day"

A certain music paper i used to religiously buy and act on the advice of a lot has seen a lot of its best writers leave since I stopped regularly buying it about 8 years ago, and the quality of the paper has sharply declined, to the point where they put Lady fucking Gaga on the cover.... and today a frankly clueless writer posts on the NME blog why he doesn't "care about Record Store Day"....

If physical singles are finally dying out for good, then don’t expect me to send any flowers to the funeral. I don’t care about Record Store Day. I don’t even care if I never own a physical CD or vinyl record ever again. I got rid of 90 per cent of my CD-based record collection last year, leaving behind only the records I’d paid for before becoming a music hack.  I don't miss them.

And here’s why: if you’re seriously bothered about the way your tunes are delivered to you, you’re focusing on totally the wrong aspect of what makes music great.
Let’s get a few things out of the way first: the death of the physical single won’t kill B-sides. Aren’t digital EPs and free pre-album taster downloads their modern equivalent? If artwork is worth seeing, you’ll see it, even if it’s not on the cover of a CD or vinyl record.
Next: you don’t need to own music to enjoy it. I don’t sniff records. Buying a CD or 7” doesn’t make me like a tune any more than if I’d hear it streamed on a blog – great music is great music however you hear it.  
If you’re going to release something physically, make it spectacular, an event, something worth owning – an idea Radiohead have clearly come round to with newspaper release of ‘The King Of Limbs’.
Do I miss going to record shops? Nope. The faceless high street stores I could tolerate, but local independents? In my experience, the stereotype is usually true: they’re staffed by socially-inadequate, sniffy twerps. Just ask Day V Lately:
If I was teenager today with meagre wages to blow, I wouldn’t buy CDs (like I did with my minimum wage spoils  ten years ago) or waste my weekends in record shops. I’d download Spotify, keep my ear to the blogosphere and spend my dough on tickets to gigs and festivals. I might even have some spare cash for a better guitar, amp or synth. Is it a total coincidence that guitar sales have increased in recent years?
Of course, there’s the eternal conundrum of how you make this modern music consumption model profitable – and Spotify’s disastrous margins suggest that no one’s even close to finding it yet.
But, ultimately, the reason physical singles are being phased out by Mercury – and others will follow soon, if they haven’t already started – is that few people are actually buying them. Bands regularly turn in pathetic physical sales figures, numbers in the low hundreds that would've seemed unthinkable in the days of million-selling Number Ones.
Physical singles are a dead horse. The less time and effort is spent on flogging them, the more money labels might have to blow on signing new bands – the ones formed by kids buying guitars, clothes and drugs rather than records.

What a dick. 
To people like me, downloads are no more than a more convenient alternative to recording your music onto blank cassettes. So I will download or stream albums prior to buying them on CD or vinyl... and if I like them then (on average) under £10 is a small price to pay for fine music as well as a nice physical piece of album art to store in your collection for may years to come (and NOT able to be erased at the click of a mouse).  He says how people on minimum wage shouldn't be expected to splash out on CDs and records because they're too expensive... Well sorry, a CD on average is under £10 and that's about 2 hours wages even if you are on minimum wage. And two hours of work is well worth it for music that will bring you pleasure for more than two hours, in some cases music that could bring you pleasure for years to come. 
This guy's tone seems to suggest he wouldn't care if CD and vinyl ended up extinct, simply because HE doesn't like them. Well people like me and many more do.
In contrast to him, I sold a lot of my CDs years ago to download stuff instead... then the hard drive crashed, all that music wiped, and a lesson was learnt. Plus i missed having something to collect and having more to show for my appreciation of the music than just sound and a file on a screen.  So over the last two years I've been buying back all the CDs i owned in my youth PLUS loads more stuff I never had before. And now the total number of CDs alone are in four figures....
And as for the "socially inept geeks" in independent record shops, these "geeks" are passionate people, passionate enough to do a job that probably pays very little these days, in an industry commercially declining.
So Mr NME Writer, YOU are wrong.

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