For 10 years, I worked in record stores. First at a CD Warehouse, then the Electric Fetus — both in St. Cloud, and both are unfortunately no longer there. From 2000-2010, I was on the cusp of all sorts of new music, knew many in the area that not only had bands, but made their own CDs too. To say music has, and still does, make up a bulk of my interests would be an understatement. I love music, I love record stores and I love Record Store Day.
This year will be the first Record Store Day without an Electric Fetus in St. Cloud. Granted, since I moved away from there, I never made the trip back for the annual “holiday.” Partly because Record Store Day is geared toward collectors — people who will pay top dollar for a rare release on this particular day. It is mostly because I have lived three-hours away from my home town, first in Worthington and now in Bemidji. I still miss visiting my home town for the sole purpose of buying new music. While I buy my music now via Amazon, I miss the camaraderie of visiting, talking music and buying music from my old co-workers.
What I loved about Record Store Day was talking with strangers about our mutual interest in music, seeing live bands in a cramped record store and supporting said bands by buying their albums — if the band was any good. There is a cool atmosphere on this day that allows everyone to geek out on music. I love combing through bins of vinyl and CDs (I’m not a vinyl purist, and as much as I love Neil Young, I think his views on CD sound quality is, at best, overboard).
I miss record stores, but I have known for a long time that such brick and mortar record shops are on the way out. Unless it is in a larger city, the record store probably will not survive. In a digital age, where people stream music and listen to music digitally more and more, the record store is not essential to a lot of people these days. That’s just the way things change, whether we like it or not. I’d rather take music suggestions from someone at a record store than, say, a Spotify program that roots out similarities in artists I listen to and then makes suggestions. Granted, Spotify is usually more accurate in its suggestions to me than 99 percent of record store employees’ suggestions, but I’d rather deal with humans.
This year, though, Record Store Day will be celebrated in Bemidji. And there will be live music, like-minded music fans and used music for me to root through. I’m excited that Bemidji is taking an interest in this “holiday” that has been a part of my life for many years. And while there is no record store in town — the nearest from what I can tell is either Fargo or Duluth — the day will include live music, spinning of vinyl and music fans chatting. The stores may be dwindling, the spirit stays alive. Or something like that.
Here is a Spotify playlist of spot-on suggestions it has made for me (just kidding, just a collection of Minnesota-related music I enjoy).