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Things I will really miss about record shops

seany t

May 11, 2006
Because, let's face it, they're all going to shut, aren't they?

The thing I will miss most is that random chance discovery. I actually don't mind being able to buy & download music as and when I want it and think it's largely great.

But I've had so many great trips to record shops where I've discovered something unexpectedly, and that's what I fear we will lose with internet only shopping.

To buy something from the net, you need to generally know what you're after and seek it out. Sure, Amazon, LastFM and Genius can recommend other things you might like, but record shops just have that way of making you find new stuff.

Like last year, I walked into a record shop in Kingston and came away with about £30 worth of stuff even though they didn't have the album I was actually after; this was due to the owner playing a great compilation of British motown-esque tunes by the UK Sue Label, finding a hip hop bargain bin clearout and just taking a risk on a whole heap of unwanted promos and records by artists with nice LP covers / names I recognised. And it was nearly all gold stuff.

But that could never have happened on the net. Likewise, as a teen I fleshed out my taste and filled in many musical gaps by taking advantage of those awesome 5 for £20 offers in Virgin and HMV. But the equivalent deals just aren't there in HMV now, with the stores deliberately targeting cheap games / DVDs instead now.

Is there a modern day equivalent to record shop chance discoveries? I like Spotify but would far rather listen to my iPod as I find myself tuning in and out when it's streaming tunes for some reason. Likewise, I know I ought to listen to the radio more but still haven't invested in a new radio since the old one bust.

How do you guys find new, chance stuff in this day and age? Is it just through hard graft and blogs?