As threatened, throughout April - in celebration of Record Store Day - I offer up a daily post related to all things record shop.
And if any of it sounds like a manifesto, consider it good practice for my election campaign next year.
Day seven of this steaming pile of japery, kinghell boring bullshit and contentious nonsense...
Bullshot Quango *not a Kaiser Chiefs side project.
Everyone who has worked in a record shop will have stories about selling a particular album or single because they chose to play it in the shop, and if you're a fan of the music you're playing then it's a super smashing great feeling.
Hang on, you're thinking. Why are you talking like a wazzock and why would you play something you don't like? Well, sometimes you have to take one for the team, particularly around Christmas time, or when a big release comes out and the head shed are being paid to push it.
'Course, I haven't experienced those abominable working conditions for a number of years, which makes it all the sweeter when someone likes the music I'm playing in LFD so much they choose to buy it. And sometimes they even buy it off me...
Independent record shops do a great deal for musicians and record labels. We plug the records by PULLING FACES (no one but you does this -ed) and we play the music, introducing people to bands and artists they might never have otherwise discovered. And it doesn't stop there. Those fans might purchase gig tickets and then buy merch at the gig, and the chances are they'll continue to support the band even after the band have split due to musical differences...
I always use the debut Tropical Fuck Storm record as an example, because I absolutely caned that record, sold way more copies than a non-league provincial backwater record shop is expected to, then saw a whole bunch of those customers at the TFS gig in Manchester. That right there is the band>indie record shop>gig biome flourishing. DOTS. BE. JOINED. Livelihoods and lives ENRICHED all round.
So it really boils my piss that record shops have to pay the PRS and the PPL annually - to the tune of £200+ - for the right to play music instore. Don't get me wrong, it's a good thing these bodies exist to protect the musicians and songwriters, and if a coffee shop or furniture shop or an elevator is playing an artist's music then yeah, absolutely they should pay for the right to do so, because otherwise they're not giving anything back to the musician.
But record shops do give back to musicians and songwriters. Every minute of the day, by virtue of buying and stocking their work, and when you consider the situation I described above about Tropical Fuck Storm, LFD generated income for the band that went way beyond just selling copies of the record in the shop. The income the band made directly from ticket sales and merch related to people discovering them through indie record shops (not just LFD) is significant.
Of course, no one from a record shop is going to stand next to the band's merch table going, 'Hey guys, heads up! Here's another one of my regulars. Hey Littbarski you lobotomized grub, what you buying? Oooh, two tees at £20 each, that nice twelve inch at £15 and a beer mat for a fiver....coooool. Yeah see you next week. Travel safe. OK guys. Littbarski's one of mine. He spent sixty quid you otherwise wouldn't have made without me; until last week he thought TFS was a furniture warehouse off the M54. What you reckon, a 20% cut sound good to you?'
Nah, that isn't going to happen is it? We do what we do because we love the music and we love the people who create it and we hold them (well most of them) in the highest regard and we know they deserve to be financially rewarded for blessing us with their talents.
But when the margins are shrinking and costs are going up, that invoice for the PPL and PRS still looks like I'm being rinsed by a bullshit quango.