Last week I stood with Brad Pope,
owner former owner of the now-closed Compact Disc Store, inside what had been the last standing indie record store in South Baton Rouge. Together we looked out over a space strewn with old promo posters and a landfill of unwanted CDs like orphans left behind despite the 70% Off sign still hanging over the door. I listened to Brad talk about the difficulty he had faced trying to sell physical releases in the .MP3 Age, and how ironic it was that after more than 20 years in business, one little file type shuttered his doors forever.
What a shame, is all I could think, because for all I know people still want to hold real artwork in their hands. They want to meet the artists they admire. To feel connected and hear from them directly. To share a common experience, a handshake, a smile. I download songs from music blogs and the iTunes Store just as much as anyone, but does music-buying have to be a zero-sum game? Can’t we hear our music and touch it, too?
Jack White is doing everything he can to keep physical releases, particularly vinyl, alive. His latest rascal’s venture co-opts the food truck trend for rock ‘n’ roll to birth the Third Man Records Rolling Record Store. He even turned the bright yellow record truck into a music venue on the streets of Austin during SXSW. God bless you, Jack White.
“Not Fade Away” [Buddy Holly cover] and “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” – Jack White (live in front of Third Man Records Rolling Record Store, Austin TX, March 21, 2011)