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Still Supporting Indie Record Stores

In the digital age, it’s gotten harder and harder to not only acquire physical copies of new albums, but also to support the shrinking number of independent record stores.

I’ll admit that I have succumbed to the digital age in my own music collection. Although I own hundreds of records and CDs and have smaller collections of cassettes and boxed sets, I do get a lot of my music digitally these days.

When a band I really love puts a new album out, I make the effort to get a physical copy of it. I like being able to hold the album in my hands and to look at the artwork, lyrics and linear notes.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, one of my all-time favorite bands, released I’m With You on Tuesday, so I had to go out and get it. I quickly realized that, unfortunately, my closest option was Best Buy, but I wanted to support an independent music store.

The closest ones I knew, both of which are 20 or more miles away, were Record and Tape Traders in Towson and the Soundgarden in Fells Point. Not that I don’t love these stores, it’s just upsetting that the number of independent record stores in the area have seriously shrunk in my lifetime. I happened to be downtown Tuesday, so I hit up Fells Point and grabbed the album.

I’m With You came with a hologram pin of the Chili Peppers’ logo, a small, but much-appreciated thanks from the band for buying a physical copy of the album on the day of its release. I also picked up Fleet Foxes’ Helplessness Blues on record.

Fleet Foxes know how to put out a record. Now, as someone who loves the tangible qualities of music, a record is the ultimate experience. Fleet Foxes, who attributed their rise in popularity partly to illegal downloads of their music, know that their fans are digital people. So, with their record, they include a download code for legal digital copy of the album. But to give fans like me an incentive to keep buying records, they also included a poster of the album cover, which I plan to get framed.

I’d hate to see records and CDs become a thing of the past. Downloading an album and simply putting it on an iPod skips a huge part of the experience. It’s nice to see bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Fleet Foxes giving incentives to buy tangible albums.

Demarcus Love September 06, 2011 at 09:29 PM
Thats technology for ya. I feel the same way about books and the book store. The same way the iPod is devouring the music industry the iPad is taking bookstores one after the other. http://bit.ly/qh6m2T

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