St. Paul, Minnesot'as True Metal Record Store (RIP as of Dec. 24, 2015)
Alternate post title: Vague Reflections on Records Because…
Thanks to stock-issue anti-social values metal is famous for (including being a prick without provocation or reason), Into the Void USA did not officially participate last week in that “holiday” I had never heard of until two days before it happened. (You likely had to wait in line elsewhere that day to get your Rough Guide to African Disco, and we apologize profusely.)
Our fair store owner Mr. Shane Kingsland estimates that vinyl sales represent about 25 percent of the total units sold at Into the Void Records USA, which is a fair representation given that they are probably about 20 percent of the stock at any given time. There is obviously built-in, old-fashioned Capitalism 101 common-sense in the parity of those numbers — the proportion of sales to stock will tend to equilibrate over time if owner isn’t asleep at the switch (and last time I checked, which was last Thursday, Shane wasn’t).
As everyone seems to viscerally understand, vinyl sales continue to grow, quite likely goaded by the full-on rape of the marginal value of a given piece of music by its ubiquitous electronic availability, legal and illegal. Into the Void USA will undoubtedly be expanding vinyl to meet the latent demand as soon as the funds allow; the more you shop, the more the odds improve! So you know what to do.
But CDs rule the roost in our little St. Paul subculture thus far. My personal thoughts on whether this makes sense run both directions. I have a profligate CD collection thanks in large part to momentum from a time when I was first accumulating music and there was a complete dearth of new vinyl. As a young and mobile lad just hitting his stride with the obscure stuff, CDs were simply the most pragmatic for listening and procurement. Funds are limited for an unemployed shitbag kid and used CD stores were everywhere. I’m definitely a slave to circumstance.
It took some wading through young adulthood, gainful employment, the growing ubiquity of online sales and a few Milwaukee Metalfests before my (metal) vinyl collection was anything but laughable. Old vinyl at Root Cellar also helped. Being a Death Metal Guy though, I will always relate to CDs as I do, and without fail will always buy them first when exploring new musical territory. It seems to me for whatever reason that Death Metal Guys lean toward the digital realm of things. I have some vague boring theories about the reasons that are probably completely wrong. In any case, metal seems to have the congregation of hipster collector-nerds and black metal limited-to-50-collector-nerds to thank more than anything for vinyl’s general resurgence within its confines.
This brings me to my larger point: despite the practical affinity I have for CDs, vinyl rules beyond argument for the most classic of classic and my favorite of favorite recordings. And being able to buy vinyl, defect and shipping-cost free, from a local source rules even more. I don’t need 220-gram triple-LP reissues either; some of the sweeter wax is basic, affordable and respectably constructed. I’d rather not feel like I’m purchasing a museum piece and know I’m probably in the minority with that sentiment.
Along those lines, I’ve enjoyed the privilege of actually spinning my dusty classics alongside the venerable Mr. Shane at Clubhouse Jäger the first Monday every month. Besides shaking the nagging feeling of vinyl’s ultimate novelty for me, and regardless of the way the wind blows in the twitchy bitch of what we call the music “industry,” I hope for the sake of metal in the Twin Cities that we can keep it growing in months to come. It’s great to have the choice to pump up my collection just to play fake-DJ for a few hours in any case.
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