July 20, 2006



Amir, or Amir: "Because I am a DJ living in Tel Aviv, a city without real vinyl record stores (except for two fairly good second hand shops that cater to the whole DJ/collector community), I visit record stores like crazy when I go abroad, and usually manage to develop good relationships with the clerks.

Visits to real life record stores allow for an elusive random factor of walking in and, purely by chance, overhearing something you can't name, responding to it, and having the clerk—who can't name it himself—respond to it: "You like this? Well, there's also this thing here, and I don't know what to call it, but you might like it as well." I've gotten some of the most precious records in my collection through this kind of interaction. As unmediated human interactions by essentially non-verbal systems disappear, this experience might get lost as well; hence the popularity of—but limited satisfaction offered by—the 'customers who bought this also bought' type of collaborative filtering software."

Michaela a/k/a/ Cindy Hotpint chimes in on her own site.

Michael Pop: "I feel like I am the last of a dying breed. I am twenty-five years old and have been buying CDs since I was sixteen. I can't download a song to save my life, and I have only a vague idea of what iTunes is. I memorize release dates and look forward to them with anticipation. I do not preview music online before buying it. I take educated leaps of faith, the old-fashioned way: through word-of-mouth.

When I was seventeen, I went to a hole in the wall in Santa Monica called Moby Disc. I'd driven past it many times, but could never muster the courage to go inside. Even then, I was aware of the snobby clerk stereotype, and I didn't want to get yelled at if my choices didn't pass muster. When I finally took the plunge, I was relieved to find out that things were not as I had imagined them. If anything, it was all business; I did my shopping, they rang up my purchases, and I was on my way.

After I had been shopping there for a few months, one of guys who always rang me up commented on one of my selections. He said that if I liked that record, then I'd probably like this and this. From behind the counter, he produced Teenage Fanclub's 'Bandwagonesqe' and The Posies 'Frosting on the Beater.' He gave them to me for free and said if I didn't like them to just bring them back. Those two records had a profound impact on me, and I credit them with shaping my musical landscape.

That man was Rusty Squeezebox of Baby Lemonade. Over time, we developed a friendship. I trusted his recommendations, and he rarely, if ever, let me down. I gave Moby Disc all of my business until they went out of it. Since then, it has been one heartbreak after another: Liquid Music in Pasadena, Rhino Records in Westwood, Aron's in Hollywood. I love shopping for, and discovering, music, but it gets harder every day. It's sad that people like Rusty—helpful, knowledgeable ambassadors of good music—have become marginalized by the Internet."

Posted by Sasha at July 20, 2006 06:14 AM | TrackBack