This week Jennifer Doherty, the writer of the popular blog 'Paws For Thought' is the guest blogger. I'm really excited about this because I don't know many people more passionate about music than Jennifer.
Guest Post 5
Music fans were recently reminded of the great work that independent music shops do, during record store day last month. It’s a pity that we need a particular day to remind us, but the music scene has changed so much recently.
Cool Discs in Derry is the Northern Ireland equivalent of Road Records. Opened since 1996, it has done a lot to promote Irish music in the area. Its owner, Lee Mason was responsible for bringing many well-known artists to Derry, and promoting their work by telling any customers who might be even slightly interested.
I remember my first time in the shop. I was 10, and really starting to love REM. I was obsessed with their song ‘stand’ (probably because of the silly lyrics) and needed it on CD. I bought their album Green for £6.99, and saw it in Virgin the same day for a pound dearer. I loved cool Discs right away!
I started liking The Frames in 2001, beginning my love of Irish acoustic, folk and alternative music. I tried to buy as many albums as possible, and would save for weeks for a particular album. This was when I was in school, with no money, so buying an album then was a big deal. I bought many albums, singles and gig tickets in Cool Discs. I remember buying The Frames album ‘Dance the Devil’ with birthday money my granny gave me, and when I went to Pay, Lee changed my copy for a copy that Glen had signed when he visited the shop previously. Needless to say I was very impressed, even though I’m blind and can’t even see the signature!!
It’s a pleasure to buy music from people who know what they are selling. The staff in Cool discs often recommend albums and discuss the ones I bought the next time I come in. I sometimes hear music playing while I’m in the shop, go and ask what it is, and come out with something that I hadn’t planned on buying. I can go into the shop the day an album from a band I like is released and the staff nearly know what I’m looking for before I ask.
CD sales are decreasing rapidly due to the Internet, music downloads, and people who rob the industry by not paying for music anymore. I’m not a fan of downloading, preferring to have a physical copy of the music I buy. Flicking through someone’s CD collection is more enjoyable than scrolling through x number of gigabytes on a computer or mp3 player, not to mention the difference in sound quality. I’ll admit I have bought albums from stores like Tesco’s and HMV, because they are often cheaper, but many of these people are only interested in making money, and couldn’t care less about the music they are selling. Its handy to be able to download songs individually, and I would sometimes do this if I really need something in a hurry for a radio show. I would rather put on an album from start to finish and hear how all the tracks fit together. I enjoy learning about the process a band or artist went through to make a particular album sound the way it does. Obviously then if I prefer particular tracks I’ll listen to those individually, but by not hearing a full album, you could be missing out on some great tunes. How many of your favorite album tracks never get played on radio?
I think independent music shops have to play their part and work hard to promote the work that they do in order to attract customers and keep them interested. This is something that road records have done very well recently, through their use of the internet and twitter. It’s a business I definitely wouldn’t want to be working in these days, but I will keep supporting independent music shops as long as they are around.
Here's 7 Day Mile from Dance The Devil:
[Thank You Jennifer for these five posts. I know how busy this week has been for you and I really appreciate the time and effort you put into the five guest posts.]