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Pop Culture Reflection: Where Have All My Music Stores Gone?!

16 Dec

I’m reminiscent of my record store experiences, but local music shops are fading away while online stores like iTunes have stepped in.

Like the rest of the high tech world I also download and purchase new music from iTunes or Amazon.

I still want the hard copy cd when it comes to certain bands; R.E.M holds this priority. (note my previous two blogs dedicated to them)

I bought R.E.M’s definitive collection the day after its’ release date and realized that I had to go to either FYE or Best Buy just to find a store with a decent music selection.

The good independent music stores just aren’t surviving anymore at least not in metro Detroit.

My favorite local music store was Wherehouse Music (This was how the store really spelled their name it’s not a typo) unfortunately it closed several years ago but it was my go to place for music.

I would head straight to the used hard rock and punk sections at Wherehouse and search albums.

I loved this section because of course it was a way to build my collection cheap and you could listen before you buy.

I would pick out certain albums with cover artwork that interested me and I would check it out.

This method is how I stumbled into loving the band Pennywise.

I remember seeing their logo on the back of somebody’s shirt from an MxPx show and thought it looked cool so while I was skimming the used section at Wherehouse my eye caught that familiar Pennywise name again. The album I saw was About Time and the price was only $4.00.

The picture was of an alarm clock strapped to dynamite on a mustard yellow background.

I grabbed it up and instantly loved the fourth track “Every Single Day.”

From that album purchase I went on to watch Pennywise perform at the next Warped Tour and since then I have bought all of their other albums and I have went to a lot more of their shows.

Today stores like Target or Costco are not places I can go to and linger around the music section and they also do not supply the vast genre selection to allow me to discover underground and local bands in the way a music shop such as Wherehouse did.

I also upgraded most of my album collection from cassette tapes to cd from the used section at Wherehouse.

There were other local shops around that I less frequented like Flipside Records, Rock-A-Billy’s, Record Time and Hot Hits. Now all of those stores have closed except Flipside Records.

Buying my last official R.E.M album from Best Buy certainly was not the same experience of when I use to buy a new R.E.M release from a music store. Instead it felt like a quick errand of run in-grab the album-let the clerk ring it up-done.

I miss buying a new album from Wherehouse’s midnight sale special.

I am now left with memories of those early music store sales.

I remember when R.E.M released Reveal around 2001 you could get a special edition booklet but it was limited. I wanted to buy it early to ensure I got the booklet.

So right at midnight I stood outside of Wherehouse Music excited to pick up the new album. When I went inside the store there was a long line of people and at first I thought all that fuss was for R.E.M.

Wishful thinking on my part instead the big line of people where there to pick up Lateralus by Tool! Here I thought people were finally coming to their senses about R.E.M.

Turns out I was the only person who was there to pick up Reveal.

As I waited I overheard the guy in line behind me ripping on R.E.M’s performance from the Tibetan Freedom Concert and how lame Michael Stipe was for wearing eyeliner and a skirt.

The irony was that this guy had on a green t-shirt for the band Live, and the lead singer of Live is a major R.E.M fan and it was R.E.M.’s music that inspired this band.

Of course I didn’t say anything to the guy about his shirt but I did shoot him the look of death before I proudly requested my copy of Reveal.

I know It’s outdated to still want to buy cds but It’s the experience that is missed and my Wherehouse Music memories are golden to me .

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One Response to “Pop Culture Reflection: Where Have All My Music Stores Gone?!”

  1. Eva Cristescu December 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    Due to the popularity of the internet physical store fronts are disappearing similar to a bookstores and the like because of technology like the ipad, kindle and itunes. It’s all available right at your fingertips.
    The dynamic between music lover and the music store is similar to an artist and the gallery, they’re both are looking for inspiration. Where else does a lover of anything creative spend hours discovering their passion? Now, it’s the internet however there’s one thing missing the human interaction of meeting people with similar interests and the friendships that could develop.

    Where is a weary creative soul suppose to go for some personal interaction with others alike?

    Like

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