I remember getting so excited walking up to the ‘ol strip mall knowing that I was going to a wonderland of new music, black light posters, endless rows of rock concert t-shirts, studded wrist bands, smoking paraphernalia, band stickers, the scent of incense in the air, and the latest big rock band blaring over the speakers in every corner of the store.
Walking into a record store was a bombardment of nearly all senses and always created a mood of rebellion, excitement, and wonder. What’s this album sound like? Look! It’s my favorite rock band on a black t-shirt! In fact they’re ALL black t-shirts! Oh MAN, Look who’s coming in concert next month! Who’s that hot metal chick over there looking at Cinderella’s latest record? Who’s this playing over the loudspeakers right now? Check out this pile of free local mag’s and bands promoting their up coming show at the local dive. I think I need some incense to cover up the smell in my room in case I get a girl to come over…HA! Fat chance!
But, these are things I remember and used to get so excited over when I made the trip to the record store. And actually, I just got that feeling again when I walked into Tower Records today. It was great! But I walked in knowing that this is probably one of the last times I ever step foot inside an old school record store and what actually drew me in was the “going out of business” sale. 25-30% off EVERYTHING. Sad. And I’m sure in a few weeks the percentage will go up to 40-50% off until it’s ALL GONE. And then what? Is this a prelude to all brick and mortar music stores going out of business due to iTunes and the proliferation of online music stores such as Amazon?
We’ve seen vinyl turn to tape. Tape turn to CD. Is it now the time for CD’s to turn to Mp3’s? Is this good bye to tangible media, cover art, lining inserts, and “thank you’s” from the band? Will music become what the ATM card is to the paper dollar? We know it’s there, but we can’t SEE it? My gut feeling says it’s bound to happen in our lifetime and that kids of today and tomorrow are going to miss out on the great music experience known as the trip to the record store only to be replaced by “Come over to my house and you can pillage my mp3 collection”.