random thoughts…as if your own weren’t enough
We drove over to Barnes and Noble last Saturday to buy a birthday gift for a friend of my oldest son. It’s the only place other than Target and Wal Mart to buy new books here in the valley, although we’re fortunate enough to be able to support a half-dozen used stores. As the kid went off in search of Douglas Adams’ books, I noticed that the store was packed and there were lines at the registers. Always nice to see that in this day and age of economic devastation.
I looked at magazines…it gives me the same feeling as when I was a kid and I’d stand in front of the candy bars at the corner store. To this day I still look through the music titles in search of No Depression, as if the last year was just a dream. Habits are hard to break.
And so I went in and out of those magazine racks until I found myself in front of a rather large assortment of tattoo magazines. Back in my old neighborhood when I was growing up tattoos were something that the survivors of Nazi death camps wore on their arms, and of course there were the sailors with hearts and anchors. In high school a couple kids had “Mom” on their arms and maybe a “Joanne Forever” or something similar. It was not art nor ink nor all that popular.
And now, right here in Barnes and Noble, we have about twelve linear feet of shelf space devoted to magazines that feature tattoo artists and their work. It might surprise you to know that most of the tattoos featured in most of the magazines were mostly on the bodies of slender young females with stylish black hair and and multiple piercings. It’s kind of funny…because most of the tattoos I see around town are on the bodies of soon-to-be middle-aged mommies and daddies who might have more wisely chosen to spend their dough on a mortgage payment or perhaps to pay down that credit card balance.
The thought I had while studiously researching said tattoo magazines with slender young females was how the hell can that culture and lifestyle support a couple dozen publications while the alt-americana-indie-folk-rock-whatever-you-wanna-call-it community was unable to keep one little No Depression alive. And I know the answer and understand the economics. But still…it just sucks.
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There’s something going on down in Louisville, KY these days with indie record store ear X-tacy. In a nutshell, they’re trying to stay alive and with literally just days left on life support, they have reached out to the community they serve and asked for help. Store founder and owner John Timmons says without a rebound in business, the store will be gone in a matter of months.
Someone over at the university started a Save ear X-tacy Facebook page and there’s already 31,000 “fans”. Which is kind of ironic because John believes that it’s the internet…with both the legal and illegal digital downloads that have wreaked havoc on his business during the recession.
“We have a digital website, a download site that offers better quality downloads than ITunes,” Timmons said, “I can’t compete with Apple…I can’t compete with ITunes… I can’t compete with Amazon. I’m one store in Louisville Kentucky, one store that is in need. The only thing that will truly save this business is your continued support.” (2/12 WHAS11)
My heart goes out to John and all the other remaining indie retailers. Most of them can’t make a dime selling new music anymore, and they can only survive with the margins they get from used CD’s and all of the “lifestyle” product lines that range from clothing to candy. In April there’s a “Record Store Day” promotion that will ask consumers to come back to the local indie stores and make a purchase to help them out.
Like I wrote last year and still believe this year: if you want your local record store to stay in business…go buy one new CD (from an indie record label) and four used CDs of your choice. Maybe a cup of coffee and a poster too. T-shirts are nice. Those will help bring in a profit so they can be around next year.
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For years I used to pour over the weekly music sales charts and now I just check every couple of months or two. I was interested in how Patty Griffin did with her new title because if you like her kind of music, it was marketed pretty darn heavily wherever you looked. So after three weeks it’s sold a little over 29,000 units. I don’t know how that compares with her past recordings but it looks like it’ll have the legs to sell close to a hundred thousand by the end of the year.
I saw Crazy Heart the other day and liked it. The soundtrack tops the indie music charts at 74,000 units so far. When Jeff Bridges wins an Oscar, watch it double. He’s playing around LA a little…maybe got a new career?
Mumford and Sons debuted with 5000 units last week while Joe Pug did a thousand. Shearwater only sold 700 units…wish more people knew about this band. Reckless Kelly’s new one is one of their best….7500 sold in the two weeks it’s been out.
I wonder how and why Dave Rawlings puts out one of the best of last year and can’t crack 24,000 yet? To contrast, Taylor Swift has sold over 5,500,000 and Susan Boyle is at 3,800,000.
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This just in…life isn’t fair.