I bought something from IKEA the other day. Yes, the one place that defines the modern home to look somewhere simple, space aged and almost O.C.D., lured me in with a bookcase. For some time now I've been looking for something to shelve my vinyl collection. This particular bookcase was just the perfect thing as a much needed move for a collection that was growing past the few milk crates holding them.
While there certainly isn't an IKEA in every town like Wal-Mart or Target or McDonald's (places we all shun for their conformity and lowbrow appeal, yet still make repeat offensive purchases from), the selling and appeal of mass consumption still lies within the idea of the particular furniture and housewares store.
So after putting together this bookcase and shelving up the wax collection, I finally sat down to watch I Need That Record! The Death (or Possible Survival of the Independent Record Store). A purchase made many weeks ago (ironically enough, on Record Store Day) but put off until now.
The DVD begins with the closing of two local record stores in Connecticut: Record Express and Trash American Style. The movie then goes into a brief history of how radio turned into payola turned into Telecommunications Act turned into MP3 turned into...well, if you need the 20 minutes history lesson, then by all means, the first part of the documentary is a quick fire synopsis that covers the gist of how we are addicted to $5 MP3 and $10 CD deals that can't even save the industry from dwindling profits that they still so long for.
The DVD does capture some great interviews with Ian Mackaye, Mike Watts and record store owners from Newbury Comics and Grimey's. For any and all music lovers, new or old vinyl purchasers or snot nosed punks who love their 7" collection unconditionally, the things that are said by these artists and owners hit a truth about why we are so abrasive in spending our disposable income (whatever is left over from our bills and debt) on 12" of fine pressed audible candy.
What the documentary fails to do is explain the "possible survival." There's talk of hope and owners moving forward with their dreams with a middle finger to the man, but there's no talk of the success of Record Store Day, the rise in vinyl sales, major label reissues and (only lightly touched upon) the actual "need/want/desire/obsession" of needing that record.
Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty decent documentary, and for someone who may not know as much as I had known going into the film, it's a great education worth sitting through. The film also speaks volumes about the importance of local businesses and the corruption of an industry running on the dollar and not the sound. There are still a lot of unanswered questions as well. The main one I ask is, "How long will this vinyl/tangible medium last?"
Just yesterday I picked up the Felix Culpa's Sever Your Roots and Underoath's Lost in the Sound of Separation for dirt cheap in the used bin at a local shop here in Austin. On Monday, I'll be shelling out a few bucks for two upcoming pressings of two of my favorite albums. I'm sure (especially since I bought this damn bookcase) those won't be final purchases for the year, or the next few years at that. But how long will the trend of vinyl last at this point? It seems Record Store Day was quite a success, more so than last year, but it also seemed it was due to some scalping off those who waited for the aforementioned desire.
I think the title speaks more volumes than the documentary itself. There are certain records I would pay a good amount for, because of the attachment either musically or emotionally felt by what lies between the grooves or hand crafted packaging. I can't speak twenty years from now. Maybe then my collection will at least end up turning over a small profit for a family vacation and bring joy to a kid in the next generation that finds it in the used bin at the local record store that hopefully hasn't closed down by then.
I'm not going to say I haven't lived my life without regret. If there is one thing I don't regret, it's taking my father's record player and his collection instead of him just tossing it out. If there is even a thought to tossing those albums out, at least recycle them at the local store. We all have different eclectic taste. There's no telling if there's going to be someone who comes along that has always needed that record you were kicking to the curb.