Make effort to save the music, buy CDs
Appreciating music is a very important thing, and people forget that a great way to do it is going out to buy CDs. Yes I said it — buy CDs. Not stream albums, not download MP3s, but actually go out to a record store and buy CDs. But don't head to a Best Buy, Walmart or an FYE store. Head out to an independent mom-and-pop record store. This Saturday is National Record Store Day. Participating independent stores will be holding special sales, raffles and in-store performances to celebrate anything and everything record related. I am advocating that everyone go exploring Saturday and see what record stores they can find.
The music industry and record sales in general have been going downhill since the Internet became the place for music to be sold and promoted. It has helped musicians, but also hurt them by killing record sales. While there are some that use iTunes and other devices that sell albums or singles as MP3s, people pirate music everyday.
Independent record stores are gold mines for all kinds of music, not just the mainstream, but the independent and local bands find ways to sell their music through these stores as well. A lot of record stores serve as thrift stores that sell novelties and vintage clothes, which allows shoppers to pick up a lot of cool items for a really low price.
There are so many advantages to getting music from these stores. It is not like an FYE, where albums are crazy overpriced, and when you try to pay, they get you to sign up for a membership to an awesome "VIP Club" that will only cost you more money and trouble than its worth. Independent stores are not out to get your money by promising you rebates and gift cards because you pay a membership fee that they do not tell you about for months without you realizing — what like I'm the only one this has happened to? That's my punishment for pre-ordering "New Moon" while buying my best friend a Justin Bieber poster I guess.
You get great music at a really good price. Some stores even have awesome exchange deals where you can sell your old CDs and movies, while finding other really cheap ones. How do $3 movies sound? Does it sound as good as 50 cent — that's the money amount, not the rapper — CDs? You also can afford to choose music at random, where you might actually end up finding something new that you enjoy. Pick a letter in the alphabet, go to that section, close your eyes and choose an album. You might get something really weird that you will never put through your ears again, but at the same time you might find a new favorite band. You can do this because it is affordable and beneficial to the store itself, as well as the musician who you are purchasing the album by.
These stores are also all about the music. Many bands do record releases, and in-store acoustic as well as electric shows for bands that want to promote a new album. Vintage Vinyl, on Route 1, has a lot of awesome shows of local and mainstream bands. These performances give fans an intimate setting with their favorite music makers and allow them to meet and greet.
People forget how much time and effort bands actually put into their albums. Between taking the time to record the music and weeding through a slew of songs, there is album art and promotion, as well as figuring out what to call the album they are trying to sell. The best way to thank your favorite band for the work they have done is actually buying the album. Sure the Internet is great for figuring out if you want to spend money on the whole thing and listening to your favorite singles over and over. But when it really comes down to supporting musicians and also enjoying your favorite band, physically holding a copy of their album is a feeling like none other. If you get excited when you hear a band you like has a new album coming out, get excited and go buy the album when it comes out. Sure its going to leak on certain Web sites, and they are going to stream it on MySpace first, but enjoy their hard work to the fullest extent that the artist deserves by enjoying the physical copy of the CD — as well as the lyric booklets, photographs and artwork they chose to go along with their album concept.
So remember to celebrate the music this Saturday and find a record store that strikes your fancy. Find a cool new band to see and pick up new music. For a list of participating record stores you can go to the Record Store Day Web site www.recordstoreday.com, or check out this week's "The Aquarian Weekly."
Megan DiGuilio is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in journalism and media studies. She is the former The Daily Targum opinions editor, and her column "Dirty Pop" runs on alternate Thursdays.