Came across this fascinating piece from the New Yorker on the closure of NYC record store Other Music... raises some interesting points.
"... Critics can and have read Other Music’s bow-out as representative, in an allegorical way, of any number of bigger Ends: the End of music as a physical medium to be collected and doted over, the End of curated off-line retail, the End of curation, the End of the East Village, the End of New York.
'Most of those Ends—whether real or imagined—have already been eulogized so aggressively that to revisit them now seems plainly indulgent. In our accelerated culture, collective nostalgia, in which we mourn the freshly antiquated for reasons that are unclear but still enormously potent, is its own cottage industry (especially for culture reporters)..."
The flipside of that cottage industry is the vinyl revival story, which culture reporters churn regularly - somewhere in the world every week, a journo writes a story on how records are making a comeback, interviews a record store owner, quotes some sales % rise (with no $ value attached), and a young punter who has starting buying the vinyls. It's a simple formula (read it here, I broke it down into a handy list).
I also liked this discussion round the idea of genres and how youths used to associate themselves with one particular one....
"...As I’ve learned teaching music criticism to New York University students, subsequent generations have since adopted a lovely “Do you!” magnanimity when it comes to musical taste. Part of this might have to do with their instinctively inclusive temperaments—they have come of age in an era in which intolerance is forcefully policed—and part of it might have to do with the breakdown of genre, at least as it once existed in the record bins. There are no record bins anymore—no little plastic signposts signifying content, broadcasting a set of principles, musical and otherwise.
"Genre itself—or, more specifically, genre affiliation as a means of self-identification—feels like another End hovering in the atmosphere this week. No one is asked to choose one affiliation at the expense of another. Instead, it is perfectly normal, even expected, that a person might have a little bit of everything stacked up in her digital library. The idea of “Other Music” as it was conceived in 1995 is unknowable now..."
Why Record Stores Mattered by Amanda Petrusich.