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Digging in the crates

It had that barbershop vibe, the relaxed atmosphere where people kicked back, dug the crates, and talked music.

There were posters and promotional displays but they couldn’t outshine the album artwork. Marketing started from the bottom up. Consumption was based on peer recommendations.

The record shop was a place of giver’s gain, where the information shared upfront by one crate digger to another got reciprocated down the road.

Back then, music collecting was truly social. Today, social algorithms make recommendations.

While the data is getting smarter, popularity reigns because the wisdom of crowds leans popular, making music suggestions more mimetic and less random. Pop music exists because people are too shallow, lazy, or genuinely uninterested in looking deeper.

You only need to listen to a few DJs and curators to know what’s good. These are the same crate diggers you used to speak to in the record stores which are now mostly nonexistent.

Taste is not universal. It’s personal yet relatable and trustworthy, especially if it’s coming from a respected source.

Stepping into a particular record store once meant openness and experimentation, the willingness to try new sounds and share tracks with others.

In the absence of music shops, music lost some of its frequency and culture fell on deaf ears.

By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of four books.

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