Record Stores: An Endangered Species

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Photos by Miranda Jayne/Euterpe Staff

In my mind, there is a graveyard for the many beloved music establishments that are no longer, even for some I am too young to have experienced myself. I’d like to think that New York City’s CBGB exists in some alternative universe you can request at time of death, if there is an afterlife. I mourn over the Spec’s I visited weekly as a child, local venue Talent Farm that I frequented as a teenager, and the Virgin Records Store where I would spend hours digging through imports and gems that I could never find anywhere else.

I briefly lived in New York City this past year, and Other Music was an establishment I thought would be around until kingdom come. It sat on East 4th Street with a blue and orange flag hanging above, decked out in posters so much so that sometimes you could not see inside. The store had a musty smell, which any proper record store should, and had some real gems. I often popped in on my break just to fingerwalk across their new arrivals. The store once so embedded in New York’s music scene has announced they will be closing, and this has brought a lot of criticism on the music industry, record sales, and listener consumption.

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Standing in a very full Radio-active Records for a set by the Front Bottoms made me think about the death of Other Music, and likely many other record stores that will follow. So many record stores are near extinction, as they are often only ever frequented for Record Store Day.  As an avid lover of all things music, some of my best memories are in record stores and so today I implore you to please help keep these magnificent places alive. Please go to the in-store set, but please also stop in instead of clicking “Add to Cart” for that record on Amazon. You won’t even have to wait two days! Come in on Record Store Day, but also come in to order your favorite band’s release because this is the only way we can keep these local cultural hubs alive.

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Shout out to the Front Bottoms, who played a free in-store set at Fort Lauderdale’s favorite record store on May 10th, and encouraged fans to stop by. The set was a few songs, and the store reached capacity fairly quickly, with many fans gathering outside, peeking through the windows to catch a glimpse of their performance. The band was in town for their show later that night at Revolution Live.  Following their set, they did a meet and greet, signing albums and chatting with fans. Ultimately, labels and bands: please give back to these outlets by doing these kinds of events with mom and pop shops. Mom and pop shops: please stay around because we need you.

You can listen to the Front Bottoms here and make sure to stay tuned because we have a special surprise coming soon!

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