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Saturday, 15 September 2012

Last Shop Standing

Last Shop Standing is a documentary film to be released on September 10th 2012.

Last Shop Standing inspired by the book of the same name by Graham Jones takes you behind the counter to discover why nearly 2000 record shops have already disappeared across the UK. The film charts the rapid rise of record shops in the 1960's, 70's and 80's, the influence of the chart, the underhand deals, the demise of vinyl and rise of the CD as well as new technologies. Where did it all go wrong? Why were 3 shops a week closing? Will we be left with no record shops with the continuing rise of downloading? Hear from over 20 record shop owners and music industry leaders as well as musicians including Paul Weller, Johnny Marr, Norman Cook, Billy Bragg, Nerina Pallot, Richard Hawley and Clint Boon as they all tell us how the shops became and still are a part of their own musical education, a place to cherish and discover new bands and new music.


Got the book for Christmas the other year and it's a great, if very depressing, read.

I love record shops. Scary to think just how much money I've spent in them. I've got shelves and shelves and boxes and boxes of records to show for it though.

And, as the trailer states, record shops are great for finding out about new stuff, getting recommendations, chatting and all the rest of it. It'd suck if you couldn't turn up in town you've never been to and check the record shop out.

I reckon it'd genuinely be disastrous if record shops died.

Which is why I can't understand why record shops don't sell downloads. Already touched on the idea in this post about Rough Trade but it's worth repeating.

A record shop is somewhere where you go and buy music. In ye olden days before records you'd have bought sheet music. Then it would have been 78s and then onwards to vinyl, 8 tracks, reel to reel, cassette tapes, CDs and whatever else you could stick music on.

So why is the thought of selling a piece of card with a download code printed on it so inconceivable?

New 7"s in shops are now between £4 and £7 which is quite a lot. Wouldn't it be great if you could get several singles for a tenner? Well you could with download cards. For a couple of quid people are more likely to take a punt on something they haven't heard before.

I can't think of one single idea why it would be a bad thing.

You only need to look at the itunes store wikipedia page to see the ridiculous amount of money they're making. Biggest music store in the world now, apparently.

Blows apart any argument about people not being willing to pay for digital stuff.

Could you imagine a music shop in the 60s and 70s that refused to sell vinyl or one in the 90s that refused to sell CDs?

1 comment:

  1. I've wondered about the record shop/download thing, too, but I suspect there are two big reasons why we won't see it happen:

    1. More cost/equipment for the stores to maintain: Record stores are hurting already, and investing the money in the tech and expertise needed to maintain it is just another financial burden they're probably ill equipped to handle. An indie record store is never going to have the resources or be able to take advantage of the economy of scale that the big eTailers can.

    2. Competition from existing juggernauts: If you're someone who already likes iTunes and Amazon, you're probably not going to be willing to expend the effort to go to a physical location to buy something that you could get without ever putting pants on or leaving your house, especially if you know they won't have an exhaustive catalog like what you can get online. I also think it' s a bit of the "preaching to the converted" problem. Most download sales would be to people who were going to come in and buy product anyway, not someone who wouldn't normally be bothered.

    I always look at bandcamp first if I want a digital release, but I'll be curious to see how it holds its own against the big guys. I hope it does well, but on the other hand, I feel like most people have already shown that they're perfectly happy with mp3 quality and they're perfectly happy with iTunes and Amazon, just like they're perfectly happy buying from big box stores in the real world.