Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Record store day tomorrow

Independent music stores have been celebrating "Record Store Day" for the past few years as a way to build awareness and get people in to buy merchandise.

The website has a store locator function so people can find local participants.

The Post writes about it today, "Record Store Day brings customers — and headaches — for independent stores," as a two-edged sword, that stores buy new releases that they can't return if they don't sell, and that many customers come in for Record Store Day but not the rest of the year.

WRT the latter point, the response is to build a marketing program that brings people to the store throughout the year (cf. "direct marketing").

Baltimore's Soundgarden is a great independent store, and has just been picked one of the nation's top stores ("Sound Garden named one of the country's best record stores by Billboard" from the Baltimore Sun).  The Hampden neighborhood's particularly cool independent bookstore Atomic Books is also participating.

We got a great well-priced Fugazi compilation at Stinkweeds Record Exchange in Phoenix.  One advantage of marginal old strip shopping places and centers is that as they decline their rents drop and they can end up supporting great independent retail--the little strip had some good boutiques as well.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has a story too, "WRIR plans Record Store Day events," which lists radio station-sponsored events in the Richmond area, while the Village Voice reports on the closure of a record store, "After 46 Years of Business, Bleecker Bob's Finally Closed This Weekend."

The website also has two stories, "Record Store Day Hits Richmond" and "6 Reasons to Celebrate Record Store Day." Both stories list the area's stores, including Plan 9 Music, which is a cool place (the company has had financial problems and closed most of their other stores in the state).

For the NYC store, the issue was extremely high rents--the landlord wanted $20,000 per month. Based on the "Main Street rent metric" ("Commercial retail rents #2"), that means they needed to do anywhere from $2.4 million to $6 million in annual sales in order to make a profit. Given the size of the store, that is extremely unlikely.

And see "Does Chicago finally have a Music Office? Maybe, though most people don’t know about it yet" from WBEZ radio and Chicago Music City: A Report on the Music Industry in Chicago by the University of Chicago for the Chicago Music Commission.

While plans for the music sector in a community are atypical, they are out there. I think they should be done along the outline I provide in this blog entry, "Arts, Artistic Production and Culture Districts Revisited," but I think they need to include discussion of the retail sector and local radio broadcasting, for profit music halls, etc., not just nonprofit facilities.

For example, the MGHZ tv stations in Northern Virginia used to run a good music show called Strictly Global, which was produced at the State Theatre in Falls Church (which is a great place to see a concert, especially from the balcony). It's how I learned about some bands and songs I still listen to today, like this one.

Past blog entries that are music-related include:

-- Seattle also has a Music Promotion Initiative
-- Planning your community's night time attractions
-- Music and urbanity
-- Why did DC's attempt to create a music museum fail?
-- Ground up (guerrilla) art #2: community halls and music (among other things)
-- Neighborhood-community building: Porchfest music festival


Top 10 Record Store Day releases (from the RTD story)
1. Trey Anastasio: “Blue Ash and Other Suburbs” (ATO Records): Phish guitarist-vocalist’s 7-inch picture disc of three previously unreleased solo songs.

2. Big Mama Thornton: “Jail” (Vanguard): A 12-inch reissue of the blues dynamo’s 1975 live album featuring her legendary hits “Hound Dog” and “Ball’n’ Chain” as well as the slow-simmering strut of the album’s title track and the barroom burner “Sheriff O.E. & Me.”

3. CSC Funk Band: “Funkincense” (Electric Cowbell): Former Richmond resident, percussionist and Electric Cowbell record label owner Jim Thomson releases CSC Funk Band’s much-anticipated second full-length release on special limited-edition 150-gram 12-inch vinyl.

4. The Cal Tjader Trio: “The Cal Tjader Trio” (Concord): Featuring Cal Tjader on vibes, bongos and drums with pianist Vince Guaraldi and bassist Jack Weeks backing him up, this virtually impossible-to-find record from 1953 is reissued on the original blue vinyl 10-inch.

5. Charlie Poole With The Highlanders: “Complete Paramount and Brunswick Recordings” (Tompkins Square): Recorded in New York in 1929 and featuring liner notes by Poole historian Kinney Rorrer, this remastered 12-inch vinyl release by North Carolina banjo player Charlie Poole is a must-have for anyone interested in hearing one of the early giants of American music in his prime.

6. Cut Copy: “Bright Like Neon Love” (Modular): The Australian quartet’s moody electronic debut EP is released on vinyl for the first time.

7. Hanni El Khatib: “Skinny Little Girl/Pay No Mind” (Innovative Leisure): Limited 7-inch release from this up-and-coming Los Angeles-based Palestinian Filipino garage rocker.

8. Eli “Paperboy” Reed: “WooHoo/Call Your Girlfriend” (Warner Brothers): Hard-hitting soul funk from this classic R&B-loving singer and guitarist is packaged in a 7-inch with limited-edition handmade cover.

9. Flaming Lips: “Zaireeka” (Warner Brothers): A deluxe box-set release of the psychedelic rockers’ eighth album featuring four 45-rpm LPs (each pressed on a different color vinyl), art unique to the album and a 12-page booklet.

10. Hüsker Dü: “Amusement” (Numero Group): A double 7-inch reissue of the influential Minneapolis trio’s first single including studio alternates of “Writer’s Cramp” and “Let’s Go Die” not found on the original release.

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