Ask Roofless Records honcho Matt Preira "about the future of the record store" ...
Oh yeah, that's a dare. Because even though Mr. P isn't as pessimistic as Kenny Fucking Millions (who doesn't give "a shit about the future of anything"), he will share some pretty terrifying nightmares. Like something about "a dystopian future in which records are illegal."
Just check the cut for response from the Roofless Rex dude (also the weirdo mastermind behind deaf-in-the-left.tumblr.com and a former Sweat Records staffer) to Crossfade's Sweatstock-slash-RSD questionnaire.
Crossfade: Is the record store going extinct? If so, why should we save it? And how?
Matt Preira: Speaking strictly from statistics, The Record Store is, in fact, going extinct. But my (limited) understanding is that gimmicks like Record Store Day -- and the broader "industry" embrace of vinyl records and deluxe packaging from which RSD spawned -- is slowing that down. Potentially, if humanity can stall long enough, The Singularity will strike and we won't really need to be worrying about whether or not people still buy vinyl because we will be one big robotic meta-entity, and everybody knows those hipsters only listen to cassettes. And, yes, I do think The Record Store's extinction should be slowed down for as long as we can. To learn why, read my response to #3.
Does the world really need vinyl? Or CDs for that matter?
Yes and no, respectively.
What's the purpose and importance of a place like Sweat Records aside from hawking pieces of playable plastic?
Well, eBay revolutionized the record collecting community's access to the global discography of Spaceship Earth. And Discogs not only refined record collectors' ability to find long out of print copies of releases that barely existed in the first place, but it introduced the most methodical, thorough, and democratically open-source system of music archiving that has ever existed.
But despite the myriad innovation of the Internet, no service has yet to recreate the twin poles of a good record store: discovery and sociability.
If you want to sit at your computer and monotonously buy every record you've ever wanted every time you get paid, well, that's your right and choice to be a boring nerd. Personally, I feel like I'm getting a brain massage every time I step into a record store. Maybe I'm just wired for browsing, but I find the most satisfying purchases to be the accidental ones. I'd rather walk into a store with a dollar amount I'm looking to spend than a formal Want List. Sweat's general manager Emile Milgrim has turned the shop into one of the best spots for new vinyl - across any and all genres - releases in Florida.
And then, of course, there's human interaction. The Internet allows us our brain to consume more information about music than ever before. But aside from recreating already established zones of contact (like reaching out to artists in other states to set up a tour) it has not done much for Intentional Sound's communal properties. Sweat, on the other hand, with its endless programming (musical, arts related, activist-oriented, and so on) is probably even more of a social space than your average record store.
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?
I look forward to a dystopian future in which records are illegal and people have secret prohibition era-style listening parties.
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?
One could attend Sweatstock and have a great time without every stepping foot in Sweat Records. There is a ton of crap to hear, see, taste, feel, and connect with psychically on the astral plane. There are three stages of live music and you are guaranteed to like at least one of 'em. Eight hours on the corner of NE 2nd Ave and 55th St might yield: hard narcotics; cleaning products disguised as hard narcotics; a job watching the cars in the parking lot; a mean-ass pet dog that has seen some shit; a rooster; a voodoo curse; Churchill's chicken tenders; Mr. C's business card; that deaf lady's business card (R.I.P.); and your portrait drawn by the legendary Joaquin.
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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