By: Brian Kohlmeier
I am a self-anointed music junkie; an affliction that has grown over the years. It started at an early age, when I would listen to my parents’ 8-track collection, which consisted of the likes of Helen Reddy, Neil Sedaka, and Dolly Parton. Eventually my older brother got into music and he turned me on to the loud wonders of Kiss. I was obsessed with Kiss, and would listen to nothing but Kiss, and even made the bold statement that I would never buy or listen to any other music act for the rest of my life. I get quite a chuckle when I think back to those narrow-minded days of yore.
Over the past 30 years, I would guess that at least 75% of my disposable funds have gone towards building my music collection (which is definitely comprised of much more than rockers with painted faces). I’ve got albums, cassettes, 45’s, and CD’s from just about every musical genre, from the rarest of rarities to popular fodder in just about everyone’s stereo. I could spend hours on end in the record store flipping through what they have to offer in search for some gems that “need” to be a part of my ever-growing collection. This process has become much easier with the advent of the Internet, which has allowed me to do my music browsing from the comfort of home (and at times, the office).
In the past, I was more than willing to travel great lengths for the opportunity to spend time in a record store. At first that meant pedaling my bike across town, then evolved to driving to the next town where I discovered an establishment with a jaw-dropping array of new and used music. In these days of music downloads, it’s increasingly more difficult to locate a good record store, so I fell into a pattern of cyberspace purchasing. I truly loved the time spent in a physical store, getting my hands on the actual products, but the selection is much more vast in the online world.
There are a plethora of web sites out there that could whet the appetite of even the casual music collector. Thousands and thousands of music titles are out there, many of which are rare releases and obscure bands. Even more exciting for the serious audiophiles is that many of these are in vinyl form. Sure, not many of us still possess a turntable in this day and age, but if you do, there is a virtual treasure trove to be discovered. As one of those atypical creatures that totally haven’t given in to the CD and the download, finding a fresh source for vinyl is a dream come true.
A wise band (okay, a one-hit wonder) once said, “Video killed the radio star.” That sentiment can now apply to music sales: Downloads killed the record store. It may be tough to find a cool place to buy music close to home, but fear not; at least you can stay home and still find some awesome tunes at your fingertips.