[Hype Hype Hooray] John Cusak Record Guilt or Why We Should Buy Vinyl, I Guess

Every [two weeks?] Jamie Hale takes a long, hard look at the music industry and the blog scene that feeds it. Here, he releases those findings and makes snarky, sarcastic remarks. Admittedly, both Jamie and Knox Road are a part of this scene. So sue us.

All this talk about Record Store Day has really got me thinking. Can I support what appears to possibly be a money-making ploy by the greedy music industry? Is the event worth celebrating to support independent music and small record stores? Can I REALLY get my hands on that clear Panda Bear 12″??

It also has me thinking about my consumption of music. For the better part of my life I was an adamant CD-buyer. I could be found most weekends digging through the dusty bins of used CDs at our gross record store, hopefully to pull out a Pixies or Green Day album, cracked, grimy and looking for a good home.

It wasn’t until the summer of 2008 that I changed my tune. A co-worker was heavily into the music blog scene and introduced me to the thriving online world of indie music. Until that point I had stuck to the “People who bought this item also bought…” section of CD Universe (a website that, much to my surprise, still exists). With thousands of new albums to hear (bear in mind I had missed about six years of indie music) I couldn’t keep buying CDs.

I turned to illegitimate, dare I say illegal, means. We all know by now that anybody online can get their hands on whatever music they want, free of charge. The Lars Ulrichs of the world have given up and younger musicians have accepted the fact that being well-known doesn’t mean a lot financially. But as I read the Record Store Day arguments between our own Mr. Jesse Croom and We Listen For You’s Zach Hart, I thought back to my old music collection.

One of my most prized records is a strawberry-red Yeah Yeah Yeahs 7″ that contains “Pin,” a remix of “Rich” by Pandaworksforthecops and the YYY cover of Liars’ “Mr. Your On Fire Mr.” From time to time I take the single from its sleeve and go back to my awkward high school days when people would say “Oh the Yeah Yeah Yeahs? Didn’t they do that song ‘Mops?'” I would just glare, turn my Discman up a notch and hate the world a little more.

I don’t have anything physical to bring me back to the days since 2008. Sure, I’ll put on Team B’s “Always On My Mind” to reminisce about a particularly painful breakup or listen to MGMT’s Congratulations to go back to the best summer of my life, but it’s not quite the same. The question is whether or not we’re willing to spend money–A LOT of money–to support artists we like and have physical reminders of how the music we love shaped our lives.

Sometimes I think John Cusak’s character from High Fidelity would be furious at me. “But we’re in a recession! I make minimum wage!” I want to yell at him. But I know he would just glare, turn his stereo up a notch and hate the world a little more. Can I deal with that guilt? Can any of us, really? I’m not sure, but maybe if I buy five or six records on Record Store Day, I’ll at least have a few memories to hold on to.

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