Low Fidelity: The Reality Of The Record Business, circa 2013

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: diary, featured On: Wednesday, August 7th, 2013


Neill Jameson is best known to readers as Imperial, frontman of the excellent USBM band Krieg. Along with Blake Judd, Wrest and Thurston Moore (!) he’s also part of the black metal project Twilight. I got to know Neill during an interview about three years ago and we’ve kept in touch since. As our readers know black metal doesn’t pay the bills unless you live in a small European country. Jameson pays his rent by working in a New Jersey record store. His social media posts on his daily experiences never fail to make me laugh. He graciously agreed to tell our vinyl-loving followers what really happens in a record store. — jmn

There’s a certain romance about record stores, an idea that the employees sit around and listen to music they love and meet and have intimate discourse with others who share their passion. Let’s end this horseshit idea.

Somewhere along the line I fucked up. This is about one way: the fact that somehow I ended up managing two record stores in southern New Jersey. The main one is located in a shopping mall that’s been on the verge of shutting down for years.

This isn’t the first record store I’ve worked at over my three and a half decades and I’ve come to learn my share of useless shit (Did you know every single living person in the 1970’s owned Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours?). I understand what goes into keeping an independent store open in the age of digital downloads, smug kids who think they deserve something for nothing, online gouging and the shift in pop and underground cultures. These are some of my observations.

With the declining economy people need quick money. This coincides with the rise of cheap entertainment, namely reality shows. Outside of exploiting teens who don’t understand the proper use of condoms (or are just shitty at pulling out) and the barnyard antics of lower culture there’s been a rise in shows with a simple premise: your old shit is worth a fucking fortune. Every time some asshole in Pawn Stars brings in a record that is worth good money, some hapless asshole brings in a box of moth eaten records to my store that look like two wolverines fucked on them and expects whoever they’re hoisting this shit on to pay out.

The majority of my conversations go like this: “So you buy records?” “How much do you pay for records?” There are many variations, always in the same rehearsed cadence. For a while I thought it was because my area is full of economically depressed winners who stopped living circa 1979. As I’ve traveled and gone to other stores I see it’s everywhere. People are desperate, which I understand, but rarely does something worth purchasing come through our door.

Even rarer is someone being o.k. with what you offer them. They will go around the store and pull the same records they are trying to sell and ask if they will be getting the amount they see on the price tag. Well, you need to make money to keep the lights on, which means you need to make money from what you sell. I thought this was taught in high school business classes. I always tell people if they want the most money they should sell online. This is generally met with bovine stares because they never thought the computer was for anything but cat pictures.

I like to think I enlighten and enrich people’s lives with this information but this is met mostly with being told that they need the money “now” or “don’t want to fuck with that.” I guess Amazon and eBay take patience. I’ve heard some great excuses before, including a man who said he needed it for an operation (the smell of cheap booze showing he was already self-administering anesthesia). Generally, people who want to sell interesting subcultural records sell them online so it’s no surprise I have 23 copies of that Lionel Richie record where he’s wearing the tacky green sweater but I’ve only come across Sore Throat or Venom records from a personal collection a handful of times.

In order to stay afloat, most stores operate across a broad spectrum of websites: Amazon, eBay, and Discogs. These can be fabulous resources to reach customers, at least until USPS doubled the shipping rate. The problem arises when you add the human element, and this applies for buyers and sellers.

Sellers have to deal with someone buying something without seeing the creases, surface marks and body fluid stains first. Poison Idea was right about record collectors being pretentious assholes: if you aren’t painstakingly clear about the condition of something when listing it, chances are you’ll get a refund request.

Amazon and eBay no longer offer a great deal in seller protection, so scams occur somewhat frequently. We get records sent by people looking to upgrade on a semi frequent basis, if we’re lucky to get the record back at all. All sorts of shit can happen to the package while in transit and trying to collect insurance is like pissing in the wind. I’m convinced some postal workers have a fetish for fucking on top of the boxes judging from the condition some things come back in.

There’s a flipside. This one is the fault of the noble music peddler. The greedier of us will take note of supply and demand and gouge the Lord Jesus Christ out of things that are readily available. Amazon at Christmas is a good example. New record that your distributor has a ton of but is unavailable on Amazon? That bitch is now $39.99, fuck you and your $19.99 on another site. Do some Google research on an Amazon seller called “Any Book” for good examples of this.

The absolute worst time that a customer’s desperation to own something RIGHT THE FUCK NOW is on our yearly holiday, Record Store Day. There are a lot of great brick and mortar stores that abide by RSD’s loose rules to not fuck the fans who want their chosen bands limited releases, and those are stores that deserve your money. Then there’s stores who keep the best items aside to throw online a few hours into it when people are in a frenzy and willing to spend $50 on a 7-inch that’s been available for five hours. The excuse? Trying to beat the asshole that was first in line to then do the same unscrupulous shit and flip it online as well.

There’s a video on YouTube called “Shit People Say in Record Stores” and this guy captures the anger of our day-to-day experiences. People are very predictable and you grow to be able to predict what they will say before they say it.

Our most frequent visitor is an open mouthed shell of a man. His wife drops him off to buy herself time away from the ghost she married. This man walks around remembering what it was like to be alive. He will talk to you about how he once owned “everything” in the store (including the entire Doom catalog I’m sure) and regale you with stories about youthful sex in graphic detail. He will think that you look up to him and he’ll start to come in frequently, to chat.
After this man comes the old woman who has a bunch of shit locked in some room somewhere that she wants to bring in for you to purchase. The memories she is selling smell like the chemtrails that led Jaz Coleman to flee to Iceland. These people are mostly harmless and not malicious but really fucking irritating nonetheless.

Then you will get the pebble in your shoe, the burn when you piss: the know-it-all. He will tell you he is friends with half the bands in your new release section. He will argue with you about facts that you never gave a flat fuck about in the first place. He will bitch about your prices and announce where to go online to download things for free to a full store. He is the generation that I want off my fucking lawn. He comes in not for the love of music but rather to pick a fight with whatever poor sap is behind the counter.

I wanted to think that it was just my store that attracted assholes but the more record store employees I speak to the more I realize that these people are a part of a culture. Our culture.

Oh, and occasionally people come in, smile, buy shit, and leave. But who wants to hear positive shit?

People generally think of record store clerks as judgmental, aloof assholes who laugh at your purchases. In a lot of cases it’s true. As someone who spends a lot of time at various record stores and shows I’ve found that at least half of the stores I go into are like this. The clerk will snort if you bring up something displeasing. You’ll be ignored if you ask for help.

Understandably, not everyone has constant good days so that’s an excuse, or perhaps the clerk is just beaten down. There are cases where the person behind the counter is just an elitist asshole who has become the archetype that fucks up the rest of the party for us. As I’m not a very conversational person I just try to avoid interaction with them as much as possible because I still enjoy record shopping.

I still believe in brick and mortar record stores, just like I still believe in underground record labels. It might be my age but these stores have always played a role in my personal history. I know that the same holds true for many of you.

It’s a sinking ship and I know I’m swabbing the poop deck. For someone to open a record store now it means they’re truly in it for the love of music and it’s a goddamned brave move. Places like Sit and Spin in Philly and Black Mess in Baltimore are places where you can discover a lot. They do it because they’re passionate and it shows.

There seems to be a new documentary on indie stores closing their doors every six months and they’re meant as a battle call for people who are passionate about music to come, grab a bucket, and bail the water out of the ship. Dry your eyes after that last beautiful analogy, brothers and sisters, and do your part. We might be the last generation who can.

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  • SkullGod

    Fun read, though depressing.

  • headovmetal

    Sad, but Neill needs his own column!

  • rupreck

    The thing about the pull out method that makes it a risky propostion is that there is a small amount of pre-cum that emerges from the tip of the eurethra when the penis becomes erect. One of those precums can make a person pregnant. No wonder your record store is going out of business.

    • Zac Schaneman

      precum has been found to contain no living sperm

    • Neill Jameson

      No wonder I have so many bastard children too. Also we’re doing fine, it’s more about the general climate. I’m sure everyone lives near a store that is either in trouble or closed their doors.

  • DharmaDog215

    When in reference to a “sinking ship” , you would be “swabbing the deck”, not “swapping ” it. And yes…. I AM an editor. :)

    • Neill Jameson

      My grammar,spelling, sentence structure and general well being are all pretty awful and not very well thought out.

      • xynobia


        Just kidding. This is one of the most enjoyable things I’ve read on the Deciblog in a long time. And as someone who spends a lot of time in record stores–with a strict ‘buy stuff, smile, leave’ agenda–this is a lot of food for thought.

  • Robby Beyer

    Great to read – meets my experience – we have opened a record store 2 years ago – aditionally to our label and mailorder which I have been running alone the 10 years before. This never was and never can be my main job… I think that says it all…



    • Chris Grigg

      I’ve been saying this for years.

  • Søren Thompson

    How much for the Peter Gabriel album in the upper left?

    • Jonathan Brodsky

      ‘Oh, that old thing? That’s just there to weed out the squares. You have to leave, sir.’

      • Søren Thompson

        The perfect Barry response. Well done.

        • Jonathan Brodsky

          Oh, Barry: how I worship at thy altar. I wish my brief tenure as a record store clerk was at an independent business and not a chain store in a mall: it only means something to condescend when not everybody who walks in the door buys shit (or, more often than not, nothing at all).

          For the record, the third Gabriel record is awesome (heck, everything through and including So has value); I have my mom’s old copy of that platter from when she was cool and cared about relevant things that didn’t rhyme with ‘-oldplay’.

          • John King

            I bought The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway at Rockaway Records in LA a while back. The clerk gave me attitude. And if I gave a fuck what other people think about the music I like, it might’ve bothered me. Not giving a fuck what the clerk thinks is one of the main reasons why I still shop record stores.

          • Jonathan Brodsky

            Why would anyone give you attitude over ‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’? I doubt your clerk’s comment was ‘that would make a much better EP or single LP’ (which is probably true), but to just be an outright schmuck because they associate a decent band with what they became, augh. That’s like buying Surrealistic Pillow and being mocked by a clerk serenading you with ‘We Built This City’.

            Admittedly, Genesis isn’t the first band I reach for when I get a ’70s prog fix, but I have them on hand, and at least you weren’t buying the 1983 self-titled album or Invisible Touch. I’d ridicule anyone for buying those, and hell, I have copies myself.

            (Abacab is hella tight, though.)

          • John King

            He didn’t say anything. He just looked at it as he rang it up and laughed a little. Then he gave me this shit-eating grin as he pushed it across the counter. Maybe he was baiting me. I dunno. I just said thanks and left. I should’ve asked, but I tend not to strike up conversations with clerks I don’t know. I’m usually the guy who buys something and leaves. I don’t live in LA, so it’s not likely that I’d ever deal with the dude again.

            I’m a regular at a couple local shops, so even though I don’t always stop to chat, it’s still hard *not* to get to know them a little. You overhear conversations, or you’re the only guy in the place and it’s awkward if you don’t speak, or you joke around, or if you like the same band, you bond. It’s not a dick-measuring contest over who knows the most obscure trivia, or who worked with what band, or anything else the author rightly points out — although I see those types every time I go crate-digging. I have my theories about why people do that to clerks — mostly insecurity and wanting to belong, borne of being a solitary male in a place society has deemed “cool” with people society has deemed “hip.” I just like talking about music with people who like music and aren’t going to Barry-from-High-Fidelity me to death. If we disagree, we disagree. I’m almost 40 and I’m too old to care about it. I like discovering new bands and giving them a chance, though, even if I end up hating it.

            Most everything after Abacab sounds like the soundtrack to Miami Vice or Magnum, P.I. (that’s just me though), until you get to Calling All Stations, which…yeesh.

          • Jonathan Brodsky

            Personally, I love a good record store conversation, but nothing forced or unnecessarily elitist – it feels good knowing that someone else has an opinion on a record or band that most people aren’t aware of or could care less about; the only real consistent banter I have with any clerk is the one guy at my local record store who plays bass in a fairly renowned Canadian post-rock (for lack of a better word) group, and it’s either me being drunk and telling him how great his band’s second record is or me being sober and asking him if they’re going to put out anything new soon.

            And, hey, at least Calling All Stations didn’t have Phil, though getting that guy from Spock’s Beard on drums… *shudder*. Just because you ‘can’ play doesn’t mean that you should – especially when it comes to Dream Theater and their shoddy, tacky neo-prog ilk.

          • David Bottoms

            I’ve had some dickheads give me attitude like I’m some cherry: one guy, when the intro to “Conquistador” came on the PA, rushed to inform us that “…that’s not Europe…”

            Twat. Another guy, when I was buying a Thee Fourgiven LP kinda snorts and says: “Oh, hm. Paisley Underground.” Whatever, putz.

  • Cory John William Kamermans

    The store in my city has a fresh crop of hipsters who have to have vinyl and vinyl only and the manager/owner just celebrated 25 years with a mini – festival… but this is also in canada.

  • Ryan Walker

    Great article Neill. Is one of yer record stores on the boards? Every time I head down to the beach, I make sure to buy something from that store- record stores with decent selections are rare these days, so if I can help support them, I’m all about it. Can’t wait for the next Krieg and Twilight records.

  • Paul G.

    Yeah,this happens every now and then

  • Joho

    I see extremes of good at bad at my store, but I will never get over the people that bring in records that are stuck together with mould in groups of 5, boxes full of rat turds, piles of records with no jackets…and expect money for them.

    Everytime a relaxed seller with clean stuff comes in I could hug them.

  • Joho


  • Danie_D83

    Did you fuck up? Or will you be one of the survivors who enjoys the spillover from other closings in addition to the resurgence in vinyl popularity?
    And 35? You act like you’re on your deathbed (is there a BM band with that name?)! You could have a completely new career in a matter of months. Shut up.
    IMO, when things go so far right they tend to come back left . R-Digital, L-things you can touch.
    Then again, I don’t buy much music, but listen to tons of the same shit and discover new things on Spotify. If I come across something I truly appreciate, I buy. I don’t have a single pirated song. Musicians need to get use to working for a living… again.
    Will I pick up a ltd release and flip it? You goddamn right I will.

  • Neal Swarbrick

    I’ve got a friend who owns a Record and Retro Objet (We used to call ‘em Junk Shops) shop. I do a few hours occasionally to help out and the writer of this article has it Spot On.

    Although he forgot to mention that the shop becomes the local drop-in center for the “care-in-the-community” citizens as well . . . .

    My friend has set a ‘policy’ that, in the main, he’ll only buy certain genres of music now – 60s-70s Pop/Rock, Prog Rock, older Ska & Reggae. Gen’rally he’ll not touch owt else unless there’s summat in the bag that he’ll not get without the rest of the contents being bought.

    Oh, and my guy doesn’t even OWN a PC, let alone know what the Internet is for – Bless :)

  • Erik

    Fuck. You make me want to be behind the counter, again…

  • Greg

    Great piece. I had a stake in a record store here in England but we closed it ten years ago as the city kept raising the rent. That really backfired on them as there are now lots of vacant units and the place looks like crap.

  • MoondogATX

    When I last culled my vinyl and took it to a local shop to sell, the clerk actually complemented me on how clean the records were. As a former record store employee, it was a proud moment.

  • thebrainfart

    “People generally think of record store clerks as judgmental, aloof assholes
    who laugh at your purchases. In a lot of cases it’s true.” The holier than thou scenesters that run/work at 90% of these places are EXACTLY this. Why support anyone who acts like you’re ruining their day just by walking through the door. These places do this and then cry like emo rockers that nobody shops there and that they can’t compete with the big whigs (uh um Schoolkid’s Records in Chapel Hill, NC.).

    • frost_giant

      Schoolkid’s, ugggh. Even the one on Hillsborough is full of themselves. I hate when a show has tix on sale there, they hate the services they provide. The people have driven me away from physical shops. Shows, from friends, and from direct only. If I had to rely on Raleigh shops for music I would stop listening.

      • Jus sayin

        Do the owners of these shops know? Might want to make sure.

  • Ron Nadel

    Hey, i feel ya, but imagine working in a classical music store or section? You’re lonelier than the Maytag Man.

  • Andy Synn

    The optimist in me prefers to think of physical media not as a “sinking ship” but as “transforming into a submarine”.

    Run silent, run deep.

  • T Dog

    My experience in my 30 years plus of record shopping (and I’ve been to record stores all over the US) is that the clerks only care about the music they listen too, Hundreds of times I will ask for a certain record or artist and 85 percent of the time, they are clueless and when they are clueless they show no interest in researching those certain artists/etc. What they will do is look it up in the Schwann book or that big yellow phonolog and nowadays some websites to try to throw some knowledge at you and for the most part, you already knew about it to begin with. Don’t get me wrong there are guys that know their shit but it’s few and far between these days. You don’t need a genius to work this job but it would be nice if they would go outside the box and learn about the other thousand styles of music and artists instead of the “well I listen to everything” attitude. Trust me, you don’t listen to everything. I for one have went from going to record shops from 52 times a year, to 4 times a year because of this. If you can’t tell me the difference between a Symphony and a Concerto, then I’m not going to waste my time in that establishment.

  • zenbone

    great article! you hit the nail on the head with so many of your observations.

  • Melvin Ramone

    I guess I’m lucky. This isn’t really anything like my experience working at a record store.

  • Bob Johnson

    Then there is the Sonic Death Monkey problem.

  • Lyre Lyre

    As a former store-owner, my most unique vinyl-customer memory–guy (buyer, not seller) brings a stack of used LPs to the counter. He asks how much for the lot, though they’re all clearly priced. I tell him that the prices are on the covers, he says “no, that’s just the price you’re ASKING, not the price they’re WORTH. Mind you, these are your typical, not-rare, good-condition LPs prices in the $4 to $8 range. I tell him that he can go to any shop or look online and he’ll find the same prices, he comes back at me with the same line, as if the entire retail world is mutually engaged in a vast conspiracy to prop up the price of used vinyl! I offer him a discount for the pile, maybe twenty percent, I can’t remember. He says no and walks out–guess he wanted to feel “right” more than he wanted records…..

  • Ricky

    I always get at least to CDs (yes I missed the vinyl era) at Good Records in Dallas!

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  • julio

    nice article. i cover a friend who owns a store when he has to travel or visit relatives – his family lives in a city 2 hours away from sp – and can say your points are spot on. if the issue of new standart format for music wont get sorted by our lazy, slow record companies, the ship will really sink…

  • Meester Gumby

    I was born in 1961 and I’m still alive and proud to say that I have never . . . NEVER . . . owned a copy of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.

    • Josh Allen

      My statistics make up for yours. I have had the cassette, lp and have bought the cd twice.

  • drewzer15

    I was looking for Placebo’s EP on RSD this year. My 2 local shops didn’t get any copies and I know for a fact that they tried. Not a big deal. So I went looking on eBay. Fuck! A 5 song 10″ is selling for $100? There’s only 3000 made? Well, I’m out! Except that 3 months later you could get them for a lot more reasonable price of $15 online. I’m sure some people are making a shit ton of money off of RSD. I hope those people die a slow and painful death.

    • David Bottoms

      The douchebaggery associated with RSD is a @#! joke……….

      • AnalogueLover

        Sadly they should cancel RSD for those reasons alone. It’s all BS.

      • Brian Reading

        If half the people who went to RSD were to regularly visit their local record store regularly, we wouldn’t NEED a RSD.

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  • earldumarest

    does your store carry Beatles?

    • Dolby Gillis

      Not anymore, we had the place sprayed last week!

  • earldumarest

    I went by Samford University and asked the kid where they kept LPs. He didn’t know what that was. So i said, where are your records? “Records of what?”

  • earldumarest

    Here’s my experience at a used book store. Brought in a bunch of books for trade credit. One old book they told me was worthless and they didn’t want it, but I could put it in the “free box”. You know, free books for whoever wants them. So I did. Came back the next week and the book was on the shelf for 5 bucks.

  • 4waysunshine

    I work from home, I sit in the AC at a pc all day and I catch myself bitching about my job and then I drive by some factory when it’s 100 degrees outside, and I have done my factory time and I remember that I could have a LOT worse. It’s hard for me to sympathize with someone like this. You work in a fucking record, cry me a fucking river haha. I know I could be perceived as the “ghost of a man” character (minus the sex stories) because I often visit out of town shops when traveling and yes, my wife goes to other stores because she has other interests. And I do like to make small talk because I learn things that way. One thing most people in the store biz don’t want to discuss is the fact that the digital revolution/ebay put something on the endangered species list: the asshole record store worker. You wanna be a smug prick? Fine I’ll go to another struggling store and spend some dough, or Ebay. Then I can shop and listen to my own tunes and not your pretentious discussions on how cool black metal is and how lame Rumours is….

  • Jim Gibb

    you should also mention that record companies aint helping when they release so many different color vinyl version of the same album.
    The new Red Fang album has 7 (so far) different color vinyl for the same album and the last Sword albums has 16 (so far).

  • Greta B, English major

    Swabbing. You are “SWABBING” the poop deck. Good article!

  • Matt Brown

    Sign of the times. Sad sad world where “for the love” does not pay the bills and it’s even worse for the musicians.

    “The music business is a cruel and shallow money
    trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and
    pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.
    There’s also a negative side.”
    ― Hunter S. Thompson

  • Timmybear

    The only time I can remember getting attitude at a record store was as follows: I went in to order a copy of the soundtrack of the film ZERO PATIENCE. The clerk, who was wearing a giant wooden crucifix around her neck, said: ‘Are you aware that film has a homosexual (she said it in that special way CNN reps used to say it – very clipped and sounding as though the speaker had swallowed excrement) theme?’ I said: ‘Yes.’ She said: ‘Why would a nice boy like you want something like that?’ I said: ‘Because I’m not a nice boy.’ She shut up then and finished the order without saying a single other word after getting my contact info.

  • Nathan Justice

    Get a real job

  • Nick

    Record stores are cool

  • Fenriz Smith

    Talking records is cool, i heard Neil was a racist anti semite neo nazi though

  • MWWI

    As a kid I spent every Saturday in the record store going through all the same albums I had the week before in the hopes that something new would pop out. As teenagers we saw the person behind the counter as some sage, the keeper of the cool records knowledge. Most of the time that person was a smug dick who didn’t want to be bothered by some kid who had yet to find out who Lou Reed was. Well asshole, you were the person who was supposed to share that knowledge. We came looking, and you spit in our faces. So, it kind of sounds like someone is getting what they were giving. Regardless of what you thought you were, you were a store clerk working in customer service. Pretty self explanatory, serving customers. Had you done that and shared your love of music with your customers, instead of trotting out the hipster mantra “I only like records you don’t know about, and I’m not going to tell you what they are”, record stores might be a better place to be. Even now, some 30 years later, when I go into a record store there’s the dour fuck behind the counter who is grayed and bloated, or living in a pale skin a half size to big for his frame, who has lost even the will to sneer. You’ve earned it buddy.

    • Plumpers

      You didn’t have many goals after you dropped out of the 9th grade did you?

    • heath

      you weren’t ready for the knowledge, dude.

  • Josh Allen

    What a whiny old bastard. I can’t stand people who whine and bitch about everything. No, you aren’t clever and no, you are not the only one who has a crappy career where you have to deal with the same old obvious questions and comments on a daily basis….and yes, I have worked at a record store.

    • Silvie Monk

      You realize that you are bitching about bitching, right?

      • Josh Allen

        No, I am COMPLAINING about his bitching lol.

  • Alex Booth

    Hey, do you have any Barry Manilow? I can’t find his stuff anywhere!

  • Dean McIntosh

    As I recall, when the MP3 format was being hailed as the hottest thing since sliced bread, people with stars in their eyes and air between their ears proclaimed that finally, artists could sell their music direct to the customer and those record labels that routinely fukked everyone over would go away.

    Well, we saw how that worked out, did we not? Not only do the record labels still exist, but we have a monopoly gatekeeper called Apple who essentially took someone else’s idea and made it their cash cow. This modus operandi happens to be big brave Web 2.0’s hallmark.

    Meanwhile, formats that are not just theoretically but demonstrably better than anything the RIAA has thrown at us before languish because path dependency disallows them from getting their day in court. Lossy compression of a 44.1 kHz 2.0 channel source as opposed to lossless compression of a 96 kHz, 5.1 or 7.1 channel direct master? Gee, where do I fukking sign?

    MP3 was the hip thing twenty years ago. Not only have actual music listeners’ ears moved on, so has the Internet and digital formats. But since Apple controls the entire industry now, and Apple has a hard-on like you would not believe for a twenty-year-old lossy compression format, we are stuck with that twenty-year-old lossy compression format.

    I sympathise a lot with record store employees. But your closing statements are on the money. You are on a sinking ship. The RIAA assumed it was unsinkable, and Apple lined it up for torpedoing. One of the most well-known features of a deregulated market is that there is a perpetual elimination of the weakest competitors, even when only strong ones remain. Whilst I cannot predict when music will only be available as a stream of crap-sounding 1s and 0s, I can tell you that it is inevitable unless some major changes are made.

    • Sam McIntosh

      Your rant is funny. Apple does not use, nor have they ever used MP3. Apple has no form of a “monopoly” on music distribution, Amazon (which does use MP3), Mog, spotify, pandora… the list of major distributors of music, both sales and subscription, is very large. Finally, your high res dreams are already available via sites like HDTracks and SuperHiRez.

  • Joshua Vinny Andrews

    I’m am a record collector but all I can think of when reading this is: “white people problems”.

  • http://www.danielnester.com/ Daniel Nester

    An alternative title of this might think piece be something along the lines of, “Why People Have Come to Avoid Record Store Misanthropes Who Prey On and Ridicule Poor People Who Sell Off Their Records and Shop Online Instead”

  • missyroth

    I worked for Cactus Records in Houston back when it was cool to work for a record store. It’s a completely different world nown

  • Midwestears

    I love buying records or music in general. I have been loyal to my local shop Positively 4th St Records for 19yrs. It is usually a great experience, but once i was looking for something particular they didn’t have and couldn’t order. The clerk recommended that i buy something more mainstream. I was so mad, went home and ordered it off of amazon or something. The band wasn’t even that off the wall-they had recently played on Letterman. Otherwise, I have had great conversations-or none at all-which is fine with me as long as i find what i came in to buy.

  • danielledstroyer

    I was in the music industry… you know, I booked that band before they were famous… they stayed in my friends living room.. blah blah blah…

  • Mister 1960

    To be fair, I’m kinda askin’ for it;
    Walkin’ up to the counter in my moldy old skinny tie and tweed jacket that were probably last worn by an eighty-six-year-old man who bought them new in 1962 to go with his slightly used Desoto Fireflite, setting a hefty stack of Connie Francis, Chubby Checker and Bobby Rydell albums down on the counter with a Randy and the Rainbows LP facing upward and greeting the clerk with a cheerful “Howdy!” while he/she eyes his/her reflection in my hornrim glasses.

    “Can ya imagine I found all these babies in the 99 cent bin?”

  • Mr. Zero’s

    This guy is 1000% Correct, in every aspect of every word.


    Sad – but true ..
    And I’m also possibly one of those “loud mouthed” (old-man) Know-It-All’s too..

    Also ..
    “Sad But True”
    I do “know-a-hell-of-a-lot-of-it” .. (it’s just that I take about as long .. to get to the point that I wanted to tell .. “as well”).

    It’s an old fodgies semi-mental condition known as “verbosity”

    It’s that – -I KNOW — what “I” want to say ..
    But don’t quite know how to say it “correctly”..

    Let me just spit ALL of the words out (here)..
    In the hope that the right ones will somehow ..
    Mysteriously follow in some sort of ‘logical order”..

    Is my (own) “record groove” of ultimate wisdom ..
    About as long as that (single) one .. that’s full of music “information” too – on an old 33+1/3 rpm LP.?

    Oh – yes..
    I know what I was going to say now..
    H..Hehehehe “HE” (excuse the stutter).!

    HE – has finally remembered where he “put” it.!!



    If you “think” that THAT .. “sideways on” WIDE_MODE (analogue decoded and thus not digitized until the thing was put onto Youtube.. as a digital video) wasn’t “ANYTHING SPECIAL”
    Then “have” a wee think on this thought..
    The NEXT video – that I had put on Youtube (but as it “had” been also containing the “playing” music source – which had to be later audio-swapped .. because Youtube suck’s at recognizing NEW WORK)


    (as well as itself – the “thingie’ma’jig” – being HAND_MADE “out-of-junk” too)

    Just something (at the time in “1965” – that I was) ..
    A 12 yr old kiwi lad..!
    Did design.


    What could a (rather ignorant in all things technical – with zero funds) Kiwi boy hand-make .. (in 1965) .. that would involve almost all of the rest of his life..
    Trying to figure out why..
    Could even get past 4ch quadrophonic.. before resorting to an inferior style of “digitized manipulation” .. in order to “attempt” to re-create..
    Surround sound..

    Being – THAT — which I already knew how to do..amongst all the dust and junk – inside a Central Otago “Mixed-Stock” Farmer’s (cattle/sheep) “hayshed” .. BACK IN 1965 ..?

    So .. what did he do.?
    Well here’s what ? IT LOOKS LIKE..!
    Music that YOU have always played .. from vinyl.

    I recorded something .. of an OLDER vinyl .. onto a small 7″ Reel-to-Reel” 3/8″ iron-oxide (made in Holland) ? Phillips “portable tape recorder” ..
    And then later “played& re-recorded” it .. onto (another even smaller 1/4″ tape) Compact Cassette .. to then “wait” some MANY LONG YEARS .. to one day /.. PLAY that compact cassette tape.. on one old stereo tape player.. into a couple of speakers.. in another room . whilst I fed a pair of twisted pair speaker wires.. into the Aux input of a second old stereo 2ch amp..
    To then feed the speaker signals ..
    Into this..

    TO GET

    10 (yes – ten) channels of VISUAL AUDIO.

    However.. YOUTUBE .. in it’s infinitely useless manner..
    Decided that something ‘playing’ discretely in the background..

    (being an audio track of something – which was needed – in order to inform, educate .. and improve upon)

    With something completely irrelevant to the exercise in question..
    Audio is NOT something that can easily be disguised by different music.

    Actually APPEARS to look SIMILAR — (in effects) — TO THE OLD “tape recorded” music…?
    So – what the H3LL is the old fodgie talking about.?

    This actually..
    A visual display – of:
    Ten channel (10ch) “analogue” surround sound audio..

    Cheers ..
    Oh – and the original tracks..
    Bowie (‘singing’ Labyrinth .. I think it was)
    Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”
    And some old dude .. singing an even older “low/slow” love song..

    And the Youtube enforced Audioswap?
    Deamscape 007 ?

    It is NOT the music which you need to concentrate upon

    But the “TEN” individual single filament torch globes..
    That are fed from the two speaker feeds.. from an old 2ch intergrated amplifier..
    THAT — is what you should be watching..
    I made that 10ch “analogue” deplexer-decoder (thing) — in 1965
    So that I – could listen to ALL of my older recorded musical sources
    ie: 33+1/3 & 45 rpm vinyls.. and my 2ch compact cassette tapes .. & my home made stereo reel-to-reel’s
    Later — I also listened intently — to FM stwereo radio broadcasts .. and even later .. to FM Stereo TV movies and programs..

    What have YOU been doing.?

    Oh – tha’s right..
    Still struggling to listen to ..
    Ancient (old & thus out-dated) 4ch quadrophonic & electronically altered 2ch stereophonic .. “digitialized” .. imitation surround.?

  • David Bottoms

    As a 40-year collector I say BRAVO. I’ve got some older caches of stuff here in town (Shreveport) I can hit once in a while, and a couple honest-to-God B&M joints called Day Old Blues and Disc Daddy. I try to throw around some $ locally, even though I’m no rich guy. May the tools be sparse, brother–

    • David Bottoms

      FWIW, the dude running the joint (mid 20s, say), is pretty damn nice…

  • Christopher D

    Having worked in retail, I can attest that some of these complaints about how people act transcend the record business. I worked in a cell phone store and we would regularly get the “know it all” as well as the customer who would loudly announce that all of the accessories we offered were cheaper on Amazon. Or even that the phones that someone else was about to buy were cheaper elsewhere. Those types of people are just one of the downsides to working in retail…

    • Christopher D

      Also not uncommon was the customer who just wants to come in and shoot the shit without buying anything.

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  • CRT

    one time i went to a record store and I bought a Gorillaz greatest hits and Islands cd’s, The clerk didnt seem dickish, but he just kind of gave me like a surprised look, like he was surprised at my purchases, and now I still always wonder why..

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  • Ronald Spindle

    I actually thought about opening a record store about a year ago, and this article more than turns me off the idea, just because of the shitty customers…

    I worked as a film projectionist for 15 years, and it never failed when working at a film festival for people to gather around and ask me a barrage of questions about this actor in that movie or who did the wardrobe in some other film, as if I was supposed to know all of this stuff just because I ran the prints. Then, just like the “know-it-alls” they would regale me with their knowledge of cinema, and name-drop like a talking phone book… But they couldn’t tell you the aspect ratio or the theatrical sound mix of their favorite movie if you put a gun to their head, things you need to know to make that movie presentable in the first place. They probably stretch 4×3 movies so they fit the screen, too.

    Same with records. The guy who slept with the band and recorded them before they were famous and who is insulting the selection in your store probably has the tracking force and anti-skate on his turntable set to damaging levels.