By now, it is almost a cliche to point out that, with the rise of digital media consumption, there has been a parallel rise in older formats rooted in its physical existence. For every E-Book reader, you will find another person loudly decrying the value of books. So it is with music that, with the ubiquity of now streaming music delivery, many still cling to their ever expanding record collections.
I don’t want to say one format is better than the other because, in the end, digital would win from a practical standpoint (ubiquity, takes up no space, infinitely portable, etc.), and I personally think that the two can exist together quite peacefully. But, I think it is also very human to want to have something tangible to tie us to the things we love, a way of connecting ourself to the world around us through the medium of records, books, posters, clothing, souvenirs, etc. And, if you are like me, then your love of music is often expressed through the careful collection of records.
My record collection has always been about achieving two goals. Find new and exciting records being released today and get a hold of copies of records I love and which make up my personal canon. I am not particularly invested in collector items or digging up first pressings of obscure records with picture discs. Instead, I see it as my way of engaging with the music I like on more material level.
This, to me, is why Record Store Day (this Saturday, April 19th) is a sort of holiday for myself and other music nerds. I may not be going after each release but it is a great way to celebrate the communities that spring up around local record shops. More than a big box store, these small shops give music fans a place to dig and find old favorites while also connecting people to new classics. And because of their size, your local record store can get to know you and your taste and provide an outlet for discussing music while pointing you in new directions.
This week, we will be running a series of columns dedicated to our individual record store experiences. It is a way for us to detail just how we engage in that critical ritual of killing time in the stacks with our favorite wax discs and also show just how important your local record stores and their dedicated clerks really are. Hopefully you will understand why the buffaBlog logo features a record.