Record Store Day: How Do You Like To Buy Music?

Brady Vercher | April 19th, 2008

It’s Record Store Day, so let’s find out how everyone prefers to purchase their music. Do you prefer the physical CD or the convenience of downloading digitally? iTunes, emusic, Amazon, or a combination? When you buy CDs, do you actually go to a record store or chain store or do you order CDs online? And if you do buy CDs, how many do you buy from a record store annually?

  1. Brody Vercher
    April 19, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    I like the convenience of hearing music samples online before I purchase something, but the majority of my music comes from a chain store or record store. I like actually owning a hard product with the music on it. Rhapsody saves me from buying a lot of CDs, so I probably only purchase 3-4 a month. To me, it’s much more gratifying browse the aisles at a record store than it is to visit iTunes or Rhapsody.

  2. corey
    April 19, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    I agree with Brody wholehearedly. Nothing beats purchasing a record, opening it out of the wrapper, and popping in the cd player and listening to it in your vehicle on the way home.

  3. Brian
    April 19, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    I agree, I always like to have a hard copy of the record. Corey you are right on about unwrapping the cd in the car sitting in the parking lot and putting it in the cd player for the drive home. I still load them all on my itunes and ipod but still like having the cd. I by 99% of my cd’s at either target or walmart.

  4. Mike Parker
    April 19, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    I really don’t have a preference either way. I used to love buying CDs just so I could read the names of the songwriters and the liner notes. I’m surprised how often the electronic versions neglect songwriter information in the metadata. Still, with the internet, I have all the information available to me, even if it requires searching.

    I used to have stacks and stacks of CDs… then I got married. Had kids. Bought a house. Space is at a premium nowadays and all those discs are in boxes out in the garage. All my music is on a Zune, and buying electronically much more convenient.

    Also, I don’t live in a city that has a music store with a decent selection. So I’d be stuck in the land of Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts without digital distribution.

    I’ll order CDs if it’s a limited edition, has a DVD I might watch included, or includes other content not available digitally. I think my last CD purchase was Reckless Kelly “Was Here”.

  5. Lynn
    April 19, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    I have a Mac and (unfortunately for my pocketbook) I’m addicted to iTunes. I also tend to buy individual songs; rarely whole albums. I only buy the physical album of my absolute favorites (to get the pictures, notes and special features).

    Some people like to blame iTunes, Rhapsody and programs like that for the decline of the music industry, however, I’m buying more music than ever. I almost never bought albums in the past. The convenience of the purchase and the fact that I can buy individual songs is great! It’s a system set up for the fan…not the record companies.

  6. Leeann
    April 19, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Up until February, actually, I only bought hard copies of my CDs. I have so many CDs that I can’t even count them. I have books and books of them. Now, I seem to be buying them digitally on amazon though. I, too, enjoy being able to read the liner notes and songwriters and all, but the instant grattification wins out these days. I live in an area with lots of box stores, so variety isn’t always available. So, I already had to get much of my music from amazon, so now I just don’t have to wait for them anymore. As for how many I buy in a year? I’d really say hundreds, especially when I buy used off of amazon. It’s really rather ridiculous.

  7. Leeann
    April 19, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    PS. I buy so many CDs that I often times realize that I’ve missed listening to some that I’ve bought here and there, because I’ve already moved on to buying more.

  8. Leeann
    April 19, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    In February, when I started buying music digitally, I told myself that it would be a great way to not buy entire albums if I only liked a song here and there on them. However, my addiction to music buying caused me to go down the slippery slope of just buying all of my music digitally so that I could enjoy the convenience of having it “right this minute.”

  9. Mike Parker
    April 19, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    I think if anything, the ala carte digital download is going to lead music into a scary direction. Picking and choosing songs only heard on the radio does a huge injustice to the really good songs that aren’t good commute songs or dance numbers. So much of the music I enjoy is music that can’t be absorbed without really listening to it.

    Something like “Hottie” is immediately accessible and understood at the deepest level it’s aiming for. But a really great song, like say- “Sticks that Made Thunder” by the Steeldrivers is not picked up when heard only once.

    Album cuts are sometimes the best music. I hope digital distribution doesn’t kill ‘em.

  10. Rick
    April 19, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    I buy only CDs and will only resort to digital downloads as a last resort when new music I really want becomes available only through download. It doesn’t cost that much to physically make a CD as I’ve seen businesses online that will make the CD’s, include a jewel case, and print a four color insert for just a couple of bucks each if a 1000 units are ordered. I just wish the record labels or independed artists would always continue to offer a physical CD for sale even if the only source is their website. I just want to be able to purchase the CD at a reasonable cost and a single online outlet source would be fine by me….

    I buy most of my country CD’s off of ebay or the sellers that work through Amazon. Most of those CDs are used, older CDs from the 80′s & 90′s. If a new major label CD comes out that I want, I will typically purchase it the first week of its release when they are often promotionally priced between 7 to 10 dollars at Target, Best Buy, or Circuit City. I have a Wal-Mart nearby but I can’t stand that store and it has nothing to do with union labor issues. Its just too big and too much hassle to deal with. For indie artists I will try to buy their CDs from their own websites (like The Wrights) or CD Baby (say for Dave Cox or Jon Byrd) so the artists earn the most money.

    PS – The thing I really don’t like about downloadable music is that it doesn’t create a collectible item! I love collecting older CDs and the occasional LP which can often be purchased used for very little money. Downloadable only music just takes all the fun out of collecting…….

  11. Rick
    April 19, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Oh, I guess I should mention that I don’t have an MP3 player and don’t plan on buying one……

  12. Jason Bleau
    April 19, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    I am old fashioned. I love going out and buying CDs, albums, records, take your pick. I hate burning CDs and I don’t download.

    I’m proud to say after four years of collecting I’ve compiled over 200 CDs. For me that’s a big deal. I’m addicted.I still remember my very first one, “Shock N’ Ya’ll” by Toby Keith.

  13. Mike Parker
    April 19, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Jason,

    I still remember my first CD as well… it was G&R Appetite for Destruction in ’87 or ’88. I still remember my first digital download too… Scotty Emerick’s the Coast is Clear… Win some, lose some…

    Rick,

    I agree that it’s nice to have the physical disc as a collectible of sorts, but real collectible’s have value. I’m not sure I believe that the average CD of any popular artist will have much value down the line. It’s not the same as it was when there were rare, unreleased, and bootleg copies of music floating around. I can go to the pawn shop and pick up any cassette tape made in the 80′s for a dollar. I think the digital experience needs work to mimic the feel of getting a new, factory sealed CD, but I think physical media is going to die… and quickly.

  14. Paul W Dennis
    April 19, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Strictly purchase of CDs and LPs. Frankly, I miss the artwork of the LP and strongly prefer analog sound.

    I will record LPs and Cassettes to CD (if not otherwise available at reasonable cost), but I’ve never downloaded anything. I tend to patronize small shops in preference to the big box stores. I also make quite a few purchases off the internet, mostly from CD Baby and Collectors Choice Music.

  15. Mike W.
    April 19, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    I used to buy CD’s, but eventually got burnt out on having to store all of them in a little apartment and generally speaking, I found the value was lacking. I tend to like 4-5 songs on the average album, some albums have more, some less, but paying $15 for 4 songs is horrible value and I dont drive enough to actually care about having the physical copy to play in my car (my car doesnt have a CD player either). A couple months ago I switched from CD’s to Rhapsody. I have never looked back, they have a lot of CD’s that are older and a lot of artists that are hard to find in stores in Minnesota (specifically a lot of Texas and Red Dirt artists).

    Rhapsody costs me $13 a month, a small price to pay for the space I save, the convience, the sound, and the fact I dont have to worry about scratch and I have a whole lot of extra cash as well (a must with Gas prices where they are at).

    I do sometimes buy CD’s off of Amazon, but that’s only if I cant find the artist on Rhapsody. For instance, Rhapsody doesnt carry a lot of the Canadian country artist, like Doc Walker, so I will usually buy their albums off Amazon due to that.

  16. Jeremy Potts
    April 20, 2008 at 1:46 am

    I buy albums however I can get them cheapest. Most of the time that’s CDs – I can usually get what I want for $10-$15, especially as I usually buy older albums. I go for iTunes for stuff that’s out of print or I can’t find in stores (I got Live Cream Volume 2 on iTunes after about a year of searching record stores to no avail). I rarely buy single tracks except as a taste test – I’m a great believer in the album as a format and want to listen to the whole thing. I average about 20-25 physical CDs a year. I’ve only started buying records on iTunes since last October, so I don’t know how much I’ll end up buying on there over a year annually.
    I do my CD shopping at JB Hi-Fi, although sometime Borders is more port of call for rarer releases (Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert for $18 about a week ago). I always go to the actual store, as I’ll usually get a better deal and also, I have an irrational suspicion of online shopping.

  17. Matt B.
    April 20, 2008 at 11:24 am

    I LOVE CDs. When a teenager, I’d spend almost ALL of my money on CDs. When I worked in the summer, I bought tons. I loved the feeling of opening them up. I still do but it’s lessened because, now, after spending a couple of years abroad in China and Korea, I have gotten used to downloading albums from iTunes. I still enjoy going to used CD stores (Buzzard’s in Tacoma, WA) and indie CD stores (Silverplatter’s, sadly lost it’s lease in the one local location, but has 3 more).

  18. Mike Parker
    April 20, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Matt B. I was in Tacoma a few weeks ago and almost walked in a record store right next to Swiss. If I hadn’t been babysitting a drunk sister in-law I would have. I miss living in large/college towns where good music was actually in-stock.

  19. Lanibug
    April 21, 2008 at 7:12 am

    I buy most of mine from Amazon or itunes, but it is a cost thing — when I go to Wal-Mart or Target and they want to sell the CD for $13.99 and I can get it from itunes or Amazon for $9.99 or less, I am going to get it that way. I am not a person that needs the CD — if I want a CD, i just burn one…most of the CD’s on itunes come with the liner notes anymore anyway….I do buy a few CD’s every now and then, when I cannot resist and am out and about.

    But also, I just do not want to have to store them anymore, I still have not unloaded the ones that are still in the box from when I moved two years ago, because they were already on the computer.

  20. Jim Malec
    April 21, 2008 at 7:23 am

    “Why would I spend $9.99 for an album on iTunes when I can just as easily download it for free?”

    When I walk away from the engaged, musically dedicated audience of The 9513, that is what I hear.

    So I applaud all of you for buying music–in any way, shape, or form.

  21. Brady Vercher
    April 21, 2008 at 8:06 am

    I hope all you people that buy digital music are backing up your hard drives. It’s usually not a matter of if it dies, but when.

    Here’s an idea: it seems people buy digital music for the convenience factor and instant gratification. So when someone buys a CD online, why not give them the ability to download the music instantly or at least stream it for a couple of weeks until their CD arrives.

    On the other hand, when someone buys an album digitally, why not give them the opportunity to have the CD sent to them for the cost of shipping?

    Instant gratification, convenience, physical media, and bigger sales numbers. It seems like a win-win situation for everybody.

  22. Mike Parker
    April 21, 2008 at 8:14 am

    Good point. With the low cost of hard drives and even flash drives these days, there’s no excuse not to have a back up. I put all my music in three places now- after learning the hard way a couple years ago.

  23. Lanibug
    April 21, 2008 at 8:57 am

    I always immediately copy it to a CD — learned that lesson the hard way, luckily, I had all my music on another computer and was able to get it all back –

  24. Heidi
    April 21, 2008 at 11:31 am

    I currently don’t have a digital player so I am stuck in the days of cds. I’m okay with that though because I love the tangibleness of a cd and the liner notes and pictures.

    90% of my music comes from Walmart/Target/HMV/A&B Sound and the other 10% is pre-orders online.

  25. Lucas
    April 21, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    I’ll buy some music blindly, Garth, George, Alan, etc. For new artists, I listen online first. I won’t buy for one single with a new artist unless the rest of it is good.

    I purchase CDs, 99% of the time from Best Buy after a price check, the other 1% from Target after a price check. I would go with a smaller family-owned record shop but the only small shop here 1. Doesn’t carry much country, if any at all. 2. Is well known for selling drugs. So they’d never get my business.

  26. James
    April 21, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    Just as I made the conversion to cd, I have completely gone over to the digital age. I have a Zune and I LOVE it. Don’t get me wrong, I own 4 record players and approx 500 records and I really enjoy them, but you cannot beat a MP3 player of some kind for diversity and portability. I download 95% of my music (over 80 gigs of country alone) and 2007 I probably downloaded 50 country cd’s and 200 singles alone. Nowadays, I only buy new cd’s if that is the only option and those are burned immediatly.

  27. Robb
    April 23, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    I was browsing a Virgin mega-store the other day and saw Miranda Lambert’s latest CD selling for $18.99. I bought the download from Amazon for half that.

    That being said I went to Ernest Tubbs record store in Ft. Worth yesterday and had a great time browsing. I ended up with CD’s by Nat Stuckey and Stoney LaRue.

    I prefer the record store but it’s getting harder to justify the expense with Amazon and emusic downloads being so cheap.

  28. Lucas
    April 23, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Robb, it’s remarks like that which support my theory – it is ridiculous how much they’re charging, all they have to do to get CD sales back up (and there’s more profit in it) is lower the prices and allow people to transer them to their ipods.

  29. Matt B.
    April 23, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Lucas,

    The labels could lower ‘suggested’ prices and places like Virgin Megastore would still charge that. So, labels would have to be willing to have suggested CD prices around 9.99 or less and they aren’t.

  30. Robb
    April 23, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    As a former employee of Sound Warehouse (yeah, I’m old) who would shop at Best Buy because their prices were cheaper than my employee discount, I’ll agree in laying all blame at the record companies. Their biggest mistake was eliminating the $1 single. That’s why itunes is the #1 music retailer these days.

  31. Funk
    April 23, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    You poor people. I get all the music in the world direct to my Creative Zen for $14/month. All of it. Millions of tracks. I can live without Garth Brooks who doesn’t want to play along.

    This is an issue I’m pretty fired up about. In RL, I’m a chemist and I know first hand how little it really costs to make pharmaceuticals. The drug companies, and the record companies, will tell you that the research and development costs are huge but I promise you, most drug research is done in the public universities we all pay for already. It costs pennies to make a pill.

    Same for CDs. Musicians will perform for peanuts early in their careers so the development costs are small. We know CDs cost a buck or two at most. The rest is ripoff, just like the drug companies.

    The truth is that there are a handful of companies (4 or 5?) controlling country music distribution and sales. Same for big pharma. It’s up to the people to force them to change their ways. Portable mp3 players and subscription based downloading is a good way to do it.

  32. KathyP
    April 23, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    CDs from Amazon, most of the time.

    Indvidual singles from itunes – Amie (Pure Prairie Leageue), Barlight (Charlie Robison), Drinkin Song (Jason Boland) and some old rock classics, to name a few.

    I’ve only bought 2 CDs completely from itunes. I’m old school, I prefer ‘hard copies.

  33. Matt B.
    April 23, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    Today I bought the hard copy of Phil Vassar’s CD instead of the Digital version because they were the same price ($7.99) and I was at Best Buy to get a memory card for my fathers digital camera (I gave him a 4gb but no store print kiosks read those, so a smaller 2gb one it is).

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