Sunday, April 21, 2013

"Happy" Record Store Day? SHIT NO

Main Street Jukebox in Stroudsburg, Pa. Bought "Pleased To Meet Me" here.
Everyone was going around on Saturday, as they do every year, Tweeting and Facebooking and commenting "Happy Record Store Day." Why? What was so happy about it?

According to me, it sucked. It sucked because Rainbow Records, the last record store on Newark's Main Street, is closing down at the end of June. Great. F*cking great. Main Street has 14 pizza places, 65 bars, 10 boutique clothing stores, 24 ice cream joints, and 745 restaurants. And three parking lots. BUT AS OF JULY NO RECORD STORES. This is a college town. What the f*ck?

Smug asshole.
It sucked because of Metallica. Thanks, jackasses, for your Great Stand against Napster and the music pirates of the world. You did justice by millionaire douchebag rockstars, like yourselves, everywhere who didn't want their sex and money train derailed by music fans. The real tragedy is that Lars Ulrich, maybe the dumbest man alive, actually had a point: Free downloading of music DOES hurt recording artists, who can't make money if people aren't buying it. Unfortunately, by vilifying people who just love music, you only emboldened them to find new ways to continue "stealing" it, and at a higher rate. There's a way for this to work, it will just take someone with more smarts than the braintrust that is Metallica.

It sucked because of the record industry, which had a brief glimpse of sanity in the early 1990s before turning inspired alt and indie-rock acts into cash cows, which eventually killed great bands like Superdrag, and then ushered in rap-metal, and then boybands, and then faux-indie rock, and then castrated rock like The Shins, and then The Killers, and so on. The industry controls what's popular like the government controls what party is in power (what?).

It sucked because of fans, who have become too confused or too lazy or both to delve deep into the outer reaches of the Internets to find and discover great new bands. Clearly there's a need for band sites like the Bandcamps, and the Facebook, and the ReverbNations or whatever other MySpace replacements are out there, but there are now TOO MANY options for fans. They can't find what they should be finding. The f*ckfaces at snob clubs like Pitchfork only contribute to the confusion.

It sucked because of MTV, and then MTV2, and then VH1, and then VH1 2, and now VH1 Classic, all of which started out as channels that just played music videos and then started stuffing programming which stuff that had nothing to do with music. That spectrum ranges from "I'm A Pregnant Teen, I Love Evil Clowns, But No One Knows It" on MTV to airings of movies like "Fletch" on VH1 Classic that have NOTHING to do with music at all. You can say, well, anyone can watch whatever video they want on YouTube. Well, they don't. And you can say, well, no one makes videos anymore. And I'd say, well, that's the problem. For all its negatives MTV did some amazing things for music, introducing bands like R.E.M., The Replacements, Jane's Addiction and various acts on "120 Minutes," introducing rap to mainstream society on "Yo! MTV Raps," keeping metal alive on "Headbanger's Ball" and making Mark Mothersbaugh famous. Today, the latter gives parents everywhere joy on a daily basis via "Yo Gabba Gabba," which actually helps promote music through the appearance of cool bands on the show.

Yes, this is the Devo guy. And, yes, he is keeping music alive.
It sucked most of all because it's reality. No one wants to buy CDs or tapes or vinyl anymore. Maybe the labels and artists could contribute to help indie stores stay open. Maybe artists could treat releases like Cracker Jack boxes and put special prizes in each one, like codes to downloads or special artwork or even those little comic book thingys they put in the actual boxes for the caramel popcorn treats with the peanut shit.

And maybe someday it will come back due to the retro factor. Until then, we'll just follow along like little sheep and download the latest Lumineers single on iTunes. Yay. Does the fun ever start?

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