A Short One from Doug Draper
Posted April 15th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
It wasn’t so long ago that people who claim to be in the know about pop culture and how we will participate in it in the future were predicting the demise of record stores and almost anything that resembles the vinyl and shiny plastic disks we listened to music on in years gone by.
And for a while it looked it looks most sadly to this record store lover and others that they might be right after one grand old record store after another like Sam the Record Man on Yonge Street in Toronto and whole record store chains went the way of the dinosaurs as more and more people were choosing to use handheld gadgets to download their music from various online sources.
Then something fantastic happened. A whole new generation of music fans in their teens and 20s began discovering the magic of taking a disk out of an artfully packaged sleeve and giving it a spin on a turntable. And suddenly, there are stores featuring whole rows of music by thousands of artists – new and old – on vinyl records that had all but disappeared only a few decades ago.
This renaissance of vinyl has thankfully breathed new life into the last of the great old record stores that managed to barely hang in there selling music, as they also still do, on CDs.
Today, I can walk into one of my very favourite old record stores, one of the sole survivors during the darkest years of music downloads – Record Theatre in Buffalo, New – and feel like I’ve gone back to the future with row after row of CDs and vinyl records featuring music by almost any artist that pops into one’s mind.
To the extent that I enjoy shopping at all, which is almost never, going into a record store has always been my greatest pleasure and I can’t help but celebrate those record stores – especially the independent ones – that managed to tough it out during a period when it looked like these magical places were going the way of Kodak film and livery stables.
That is what Record Store Day, launched across North America in 2007 by a hardcore group of music store fans, is all about – to “celebrate and spread the word,” in the group’s words, “about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1400 independently owned record stores in the US and thousands of similar stores internationally. The first Record Store Day took place on April 19, 2008. Today there are Record Store Day participating stores on every continent except Antarctica.”
“This is a day,” the founders of Record Store Day continue, “for the people who make up the world of the record store—the staff, the customers, and the artists—to come together and celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these independently owned stores play in their communities.”
This year, Record Store Day is this Saturday, April 16th, and that will see this lover of record stores back at Record Theatre in Buffalo, New York, one of the biggest and best independent record stores you can find anywhere between Toronto, Ontario and way down at the other end of New York State in the Big Apple.
And I’m not getting paid or given anything to say that. In fact, the great people at Record Theatre – in the mothership store at the corner of Main Street and Lafayette Avenue in Buffalo and the good satellite store further north of Main Street at University Plaza near a campus of the University of Buffalo and the Amherst Theatre, won’t even know I am giving the store a plug unless they find this online.
I just want to see great stores for music like this and great book stores, survive in a world where the temptation is there to get everything online.
You can find out more about Record Theatre and the specials it is featuring on this Record Store Day by clicking on – http://www.recordtheatre.com/ .
Learn more about Record Store Day and what it is all about by clicking on – http://www.recordstoreday.com/Home
And last but not least, there may be other independent record stores in your community. I just found a good one called Mindbomb Records that opened a year ago on James Street in downtown St. Catharines, Ontario.
If you love record stores, do what you can to support them, not just on Record Store Day, but every day of the year!
NOW IT IS YOUR TURN. Niagara At Large encourages you to share your views on this post. A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who share their first and last name with them.
Visit Niagara At Large at www.niagaraatlarge.com for more news and commentary for and from the greater bi-national Niagara region.