What Happened to Records?


The above picture, which features a mostly empty record store, represents the decline of record sales as well as the increase in illegal downloading of music.


The most noticeable feature in the above picture is the African American male that is standing in the middle of shot. He is fingering through a stack of records at what appears to be a record store. The man is the only person in the photo, and he is wearing a sports jumper and a baseball cap. In the background, there is an abundant amount of compact discs and vinyl records that fill the many shelves that are in the store. There are posters that are hanging on the wall on the wall, and they appear to be somewhat old and retro. The lights illuminating the room also seem to be somewhat retro. It is difficult to decipher the names and album covers on the CD’s surrounding the man.


This fairly average photo that could be taken by anyone speaks volumes about the music industries strong tendency to change. Fifteen years ago, the record store that is the setting for this photo was likely bustling and producing a very good profit, yet in this photo, there is only one person pictured in the photo. Record stores such as this have been made obsolete by the incredible growth in illegal downloading as well as the widely used Itunes store from apple. In the 21st century, all the music you could find at a record store and more can be found online. However there are still a contingent of people with a more old-school approach that purchase physical copies of albums or even vinyl prints of the album or song. While record players are a rarity in the present day, there are still those who prefer its classical nature to CD players, Ipods or any sort of MP3 player. It is also important to note that it is fairly difficult to read any of the artists on the CD shelves. This could represent the fact that the lack of purchasing CD’s has had an effect on all of the artists in the industry rather than just a small collective of musicians. As the URL indicates, music sales at this present time are at an all time low, and this can mainly be attributed to the pirating of MP3’s from underground websites all across the internet. The ability to essentially take music off of the internet in the comfort of your own home free of charge seems to greatly trump the possibility of driving to the local record exchange to purchase a CD.  The record store’s retro look could attribute the idea that purchasing CD’s from a store is simply a thing of the past. It seems difficult to believe that record store’s will make a comeback in the grand scheme of society, but perhaps one day they will return to prominence as the music industry begins to boom in sales once again.