Did you know April 21 marks the fourth annual Record Store Day, an event designed to highlight and preserve the feeling we used to get from buying music somewhere, rather than in cyberspace? Remember the time (as MJ said) when we used to eagerly wait for singles and albums to be released? When artists would appear in-store to perform while their new offering was being stacked on the shelves?!
I remember when I bought my first ‘cassingle’ – yes kids, that was a ‘music single’ on a tape (a what?). It was Dannii Minogue’s Love and Kisses, bought in a music store at Smithfield Shopping Centre in Cairns, if I recall correctly.
My first album was The Bangles, Different Light bought in 1986 – how I loved that one! My little heart broke when the tape unwound in my walkman, but my mum saved up her last dollars and replaced it when she could.
Then of course CDs became the greatest invention of my adolescent existence (until the Internet, of course), with my first purchase being Bryan Adams, Waking Up The Neighbours. Music was important to me as a teen – it meant everything. So much so I set my sights on a career in radio when I was younger. I knew all the artists, all their albums, each upcoming appearance and what was on the way. I was completely addicted to Savage Garden and remember catching a bus into Brisbane city early on the morning of their first album’s release and joining other fans in the purchase line at HMV Queen Street Mall. The excitement, the anticipation. It’s something you guys don’t have now in this society of instant gratification. I must admit, it’s fantastic (especially for the ‘impatient’, like me) to be able to hear a song and immediately ‘get it’… from somewhere. Although every now and then I do feel quite nostalgic for the old days of spending hours browsing music stores. A highlight of my 2000 visit to NYC as a 20-year-old was exploring the Virgin Megastore in Times Square which is sadly, no longer there. It is disappointing that these businesses have disappeared into cyberspace – only ten years ago the record stores we visited in America still stocked tapes (which my brother and I thought was cool, in a retro kinda way); and if you had just one hit single in America, like Savage Garden did, then you could actually make a million well-earned dollars because people who loved you paid for the disc (or tape, or record, as the case may be).
Times have changed but evidently there are those out there like me who remember the joy the music store provided… those of us who all secretly had a little dream to spend our time working with CDs, tapes, DVDs (ala Empire Records). Across April 21 in Australia a range of independent record stores will be taking part Record Store Day, offering cut-price CDs and vinyl, limited editions, rarities, staff dressed as pop stars of old and artist in-store appearances. The Aussie operation is run by the Australian Music Retailers Association – www.recordstoreday.com.au (Tweet @RSDAustralia), which aims to grow the movement both annually and internationally; with that in mind you can also check out what’s happening in America on this special anniversary – www.recordstoreday.com.
Here’s to the ‘classic’ record, tape, CD and DVD. Mp3s we do love you, we just miss your predecessors every now and then. Who knows, hopefully our music stores will indeed be around for many more years to come, with new and improved opportunities that may emerge thanks to technology.
Do you have a fave memory of waiting for a new release or buying a certain album? Share in the comments below or tweet me, @sarahblinco.