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I Need That Record! The Death (or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10 from votes
Release: 3 May 2008 (USA) /

I Need That Record! The Death (or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store

Genre: Documentary, Music, Musical
Director:
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Synopsis: A documentary feature examining why over 3000 independent record stores have closed across the U.S. in the past decade. Many sources all pose threats on the very well being of our favorite record stores. Will these stores die or will they survive? Written by Brenden Toller

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Critic Reviews

First of all – just want to say – I'm a vinyl guy. And I'm not an older dude, I'm 28. I buy it at the local record store, and since most new music comes with download codes, I have it digitally too. Is there a lot of music I get online for free? Sure. But I buy a lot of the music I own, too, because I like having the records. Feels good in the hands. And I am a big supporter of the local record store – in Phoenix, where I live, there have been a few go under in the last few years, and there are really only a handful of good ones left.

That said, I have a few problems with this film that really just have to do with its perspective of change in its industry. There's a certain nostalgia prevalent throughout the film that affects its many interviewees, and it tries to carry an argument which at its premise is a bit soft. One theme of the movie is that music – the culture, the art – and its fans are getting less by the changes in how music is discovered, bought, and talked about. But just as the movie geeks didn't die out with the bricks-and-mortar video rental industry, I really don't think music and all its subcultures have a whole lot to fear.

The guys in the film may be glum that the emphasis is being shifted online, but that doesn't really signal a change in what music stands for or what we love about it. As long as bands make records, there will still be records to buy at record stores. And we'll still be having conversations about them in record stores, even though it's now happening more in other places – in blogs, bike shops, bars, basements, and plenty other places that start with "b." It's moving to places that start with other letters, too. Nothing's dying is what I'm saying, and I have a feeling that record stores going out of business haven't fully understood how they should integrate with the shift.

I think that rarely is something ever lost when it comes to changes in art and culture; it's simply reinterpreted, redistributed, and enhanced in several cases. For example, the artwork on an LP is just that – artwork. In the past, yes, it was a significant companion to the album – but putting that one single element up on a pedestal is unnecessary today. Bands have websites, videos, posters, Twitter backgrounds, Facebook profiles, t-shirts/stickers/DVDs/etc. Less Than Jake made bobblehead dolls. Animal Collective even made a shoe. The bands are fine; music will live on. You can experience a particular group in more ways than ever before.

If this film's argument is that music will somehow lose its way during the industry's transformation, then it seems they're simultaneously denying the resilience of the artists they claim to understand and champion. In the end, it really just does a good job of capturing the tail end of a cultural corollary and the wistful ruminations of those directly involved in its scene. A scene that yes, is shrinking, but is very much alive elsewhere.

All that said, I'm still going to buy my music, and they'll still all be records. Feels good in the hands.

Also: support your local record store!

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