Michael Clarke over at The Scholarly Kitchen has a piece up about what publishing might learn from Indie Rock, and while I think the essay describes something that many bookstores (if not publishers, his main audience) have already learned, it’s worth a read.
It starts at the local record store, where I seem to always to find really knowledgeable people who turn me on to great music. In Chicago, I lived a few blocks down from the legendary Reckless Records on Milwaukee Avenue, the model for the record store in the movie High Fidelity. Here in Charlottesville, I am right around the corner from the fabulous Melody Supreme, whose proprietor always has a great recommendation. I realize there are services like Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Genius, and Soudhound, and I use all of these. But I continue to value the non-algorithmic connections of the human mind when it comes to music association and discovery.
The bookstores and record stores that are going to live are the ones, like my personal favorite, the Last Bookstore here in downtown Los Angeles, who understand that leaving your house to go to a store now has be experiential in and off itself. It’s too easy to order anything you want–from coffee to clothing to books to music–on Amazon. The Last Bookstore succeeds as a place because it is beautiful. It’s worth rousing yourself to go to. I hope to heaven we can keep them open.
Like Clarke, I have gotten interested in vinyl not because I can hear any really difference–I’m a post-rock, electronic, and ambient freak, and almost all those are fine in digital formats–but because it’s fun to have browsing through records be a tactile experience.