WTF – This is TOO FUNKY!!! Although I’ve known this was coming for about a year now, I was immediately thrown into an unsavory FUNK when I attempted to visit the Virgin Mega Store in Times Square the other day. IT’S CLOSED – as mentioned, I knew it was coming, but since it’s been awhile since I frequented the establishment, I’d forgotten the date it was closing… for good. “You can go down to the one in Union Square,” said Tony (a long-time friend and fellow FUNK lover). “No,” I said, “both locations are closed.”
Back in the days of the inception and rise of FUNK, record stores were everywhere!!! Major Department stores had record sections, huge electronic stores sold music, everybody into music had a favorite “Mom & Pop” store they would visit – now that’s all gone.
Internet killed the record store guy – to be said like “Video killed the radio star,” by Buggles. Prince teamed up with Target for his latest release “Lotus Flow3r/Mplsound/Elixer. The album went on sale exclusively at the retail store back in March and was also available through his website www.lotusflow3r.com. The 3 CD set was being sold for only $11.99, and can now be purchased on Amazon.com. Today I saw a commercial for Funky Diva Vanessa Williams’ new CD “The Real Thing.” It’s also being sold at Target, and is up on Amazon already.
About a month ago I was strolling aimlessly through the Village in NYC and stumbled upon a record store that had been there for years. No doubt I had been there before, but forgot about it. A twenty year-plus veteran in the business of music, I have no need to purchase CDs often, but I definitely do on occasion. Now when those occasions arise, I have to plan a record store visit or make a special trip as opposed to just stopping by a spot.
An avid collector, the last CD I purchased was “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” Although I used to own it, somehow it came up missing a little over a year ago and a line from “Ex-Factor” kept popping into my head. “It could all be so simple, but you have to make it hard,” a sentiment that seems to continually rear it’s ugly head within our society, so I wanted to hear it from the CD of origin. A previously used copy, it cost me less than 10 bucks at a little spot in Hoboken. This is now my new favorite “Mom & Pop” retailer, as Target and Wal-Mart chains are not convenient for me to get to without a car.
It used to be all there was were department stores with record sections and local “Mom & Pop” stores, then the record industry was BOOMING, bringing on places like The Wiz, Tower Records, HMV and The Virgin Mega Store – those days are gone. Most people under the age of 30 could care less if a record store exists, and most of those younger than 20 have always gotten their music from the Internet.
Some of you reading may say, “So what, who cares,” this blogger does DAMN IT!!! FUNK is appreciating the art work of an album cover or CD insert; FUNK is holding vynil or a jewel case in your hands; FUNK is reading the credits, so when you hear a certain sound in a song months later or recognize a certain element of sonic delivery a year or two in the future, you make an educated guess that the music you’re hearing was probably done by the same producer whose name you read on the sleeve of a record you liked. It may be the end of an era for the record store, but FUNK lives on.