‘I’m Weird’ by Jakintza Ilustración

I’m weird.

I’m in bed legitimately holding back tears because record, book, and video stores aren’t a thing anymore. Not because of weird nostalgia… not entirely. It’s because I miss the idea that a person could love an art form and open a business just sharing what they liked with the world.

Now everyone is a video store guy or music freak on social media, but you’re just sharing it with friends, not finding new ones through the experience of sharing your interests AND EARNING A LIVING AT IT. You say concerts… well, I say Po-dunk Alabama.

Lots of people live where acts don’t tour and if they do a lot of kids can’t afford tickets. I’ve never met one fucking friend hanging out in my iTunes app. You used to be able to play a tour of crappie clubs and do signings at the record store the day before and after and leave a stack of tapes and CDs behind.

If you were cool to the clerk they’d even hang your unknown self’s poster in the window and put your music right next to the register… “have you heard of…” that’s how you sell music and videos.

I don’t care if 347 other people who bought what I bought also bought this other thing. I want to know WHY they liked it and talk about it. I’m so frustrated. God damn it. I’m sorry for the old man rant and thankfully we still have a few places in business here in LA, but we’re LA and it’s all kind of jaded in its own way about it. I’m not into buying comics, but God damn do I buy something every time I’m in melt down because comic stores are kind of the last hold out of the way that everyone used to buy their entertainment. I’m damn proud that comic book shops have held their ground against the digital content retail monopoly system. They’re better for it and we should all be ashamed that we let it happen.

The average person can’t make their life’s work out of selling the art they’re passionate about and that means indie artists lose a huge resource in discoverability. It’s a lose / lose that’s strangling artists who work outside of the mainstream. To further that point we broke the value of media. We broke it and cant fix it. Because there are makers and sellers in the world we screwed up.

By removing the ability for a fan to participate in media strickly as a seller we’ve devalued our product. Now they just see Apple or Amazon, not the indie artists who upload their work to them.

They don’t feel like they’re screwing us with torrenting, they feel like they’re screwing the man and the man screwed artists by telling us to screw our biggest fans by just uploading our content to reach “everyone”.

It was a lie.

The audience doesnt exist at scale without huge marketing spends or having built that grass roots community. Without that network of engaged fans benefitting from our success as our “silent partners” local retailers they have no incentive to advocate for us by convincing people to buy our stuff. It’s a real mess.

End of gripe.

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