No, It’s Not OK to Buy Vinyl at Urban Outfitters
After it was announced that Urban Outfitters is the world's biggest seller of vinyl records, Chuck Armstrong wrote a piece in defense of the chain titled, 'Yes, It's OK to Buy Vinyl at Urban Outfitters.' In response to that column (read it here), we present 'No, It's Not OK to Buy Vinyl at Urban Outfitters,' written by Judy Mills, owner and operator of Mills Record Company in Kansas City, Mo.
Update: Urban Outfitters claim that they are the world's biggest seller of vinyl is being refuted. Get the whole story here.
What happens to my soul every time a vinyl record is sold at Urban Outfitters? Don't get me started.
It is the Wal-Mart-ification of music, pure and simple. By buying big, getting exclusive Hot Topic-like contracts with labels (I'm looking at you, Sub Pop), you make it tough for independent record stores to compete on bread and butter vinyl releases. Sure, Mr. and Ms. Vinyl Shopper save a dollar on that exclusive Sub Pop clear vinyl version, but what do they lose?
I can tell you exactly what they lose.
They lose service ... from a record store employee who is probably over-educated but works this job because he or she loves music (not t-shirts, but music), and loves vinyl in particular.
Not just the superior sound, feel and art involved, but the cleaning and maintenance, the jacket details and the history.
And they're happy to share that passion with you.
They lose a diversity ... a depth of choice. If you Wal-Mart vinyl (yes, I just made that a verb) then where do Burger Records, Hardly Art, Trouble In Mind, and a couple dozen more really inspiring record labels have an outlet? Not at Urban Outfitters, that's for sure. And therefore, your shopping experience gets either really bland or really lonely (read: online shopping).
They lose a community ... in my record store, friends meet friends. Musicians meet their bandmates and talk about gigs. We introduce our customers to local bands through in-store performances and music suggestions that would never happen otherwise.
It's a community.
I know what records you love and when something new comes in that sounds like it, I will connect you to that. And so will my team. You will bring your kids and dogs in here and you will feel like you're a part of that. Do you ever feel that at Urban Outfitters?
If you do, then I say it's OK to shop there. If you don't, then spend the extra dollar at an indie record store and keep us alive.
What you gain in return is worth the dollar, I promise you.