Sweat's Lauren Reskin: "Anyone Who Cares About Culture Should Support Record Shops"
Photo by Giulio Sciorio
Hey Lolo, why bother rescuing music shops?
1. "Service you'll never, ever get at a Best Buy."
2. "We're one of the only all-ages event spaces in town, we're a vegan-friendly coffee bar, a meeting place."
3. "Anyone who cares about culture in general should support record shops."
OK. Sweat Records wins. Now check the cut for Sweat founder Lauren Reskin's full response to Crossfade's Sweatstock 2013 and Record Store Day questionnaire.
Crossfade: Is the record store going extinct? If so, why should we save it? And how?
Lauren Reskin: The stores that are still going seem to have gotten themselves figured out by now. Sweat just turned eight years old and we are absolutely looking forward to continuing to grow bigger and better. Indie record stores are absolutely worth saving and you can do that by becoming a regular face at yours, wherever you are. We take good care of our customers, give them personalized music recommendations, and do a ton of special orders. And that's service you'll never, ever get at a Best Buy.
Does the world really need vinyl? Or CDs for that matter?
The people I speak to with record collections take great joy in and are very passionate about them. Obviously, as it's a digital medium, CDs are less relevant, and we stock far fewer of them than we used to, especially since most LPs now come with a free download of the album's tracks on MP3.
What's the purpose and importance of a place like Sweat Records aside from hawking pieces of playable plastic?
Anyone who has followed us throughout the years knows that we are not just a record store. We're one of the only all-ages event spaces in town, we're a vegan-friendly coffee bar, a meeting place, and we've created tons of resources for the local arts scene like SweatShopMiami.com. There are still a few stores around the world who can get by purely on sales, but most of the smaller ones that are thriving have had the smarts to become more of a community space and less of a strictly retail establishment.
With digital music sales surpassing physical music sales for the first time in 2012 (and hard-copy sales set to decline by almost 80 percent by 2016), how optimistic are you about the future of the record store?
That statistic includes CDs. But if you look at the statistics for vinyl sales, they've gone up sharply ever single year since 2006. Our inventory is probably 85-percent LP right now and we're phasing out the CDs to make more room for records. Records also still appreciate in value and have a huge collector's market.
Thurston Moore doing his best Iggy at Sweat Records.
If people don't particularly care about the survival of music shops, should they still come to Sweatstock? What will they get out of the experience of eight hours at the corner of NE Second Avenue and 55th Street on April 20, 2013?
I think anyone who cares about culture in general should support record shops. It's an important thing for a city to have at least one of. We get a ton of tourists and people who've just moved here looking to explore what's Miami's indie scene has to offer, and we're happy to be a portal for them. That said, everyone should come to Sweatstock at least for the experience. You'll discover some new local bands, run into old friends, maybe make new friends, score rare merchandise and freebies, hear new music, and generally have a good ol' time. Also, it's totally free, so why not?
Sweatstock 2013. Saturday, April 20. Sweat Records, 5505 NE Second Ave., Miami, and Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. The show starts at 2 p.m. and it's free. Visit sweatrecordsmiami.com.
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