Record buying habits + Not Lame

I recently ordered Radio City’s lost power pop gem from Not Lame and it made me think that it would be about time to improve my record buying habits again. Especially before moving to Turku I was bad boy and I bought way too much from places like cdwow, play, amazon. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with picking up a few bargains or buying harder to find items from amazon for example, but back then I often ordered some major albums like Ryan Adams, Wilco.. from places like that instead of using finnish record stores. After moving to Turku few years ago I had a great record store 8Raita near me and I decided that if they have a new record that I want in stock, I will buy it from them. I admit that I’m still not a great customer, because if I’m looking for something more obscure that they don’t have on the shelf, I often take the easy way and just order it myself from a foreign online store instead of asking them are they able to order it. So I’m still no customer of the year, but buying those 50 or so indie albums a year from them is still a big step into the right direction. Let’s call it a step one in changing my record buying habits.

Step 1 already happened a couple of years ago, but step 2 in changing my record buying habits is a new thing and involves Not Lame. About ten years ago I ordered some pop albums from Not Lame by sending cash in an envolope to Bruce and dreamt about times when I could afford all those great pop albums. I remember often thinking that I will become loyal customer when I grow up and have more money to spend on pop music. But did it ever happen. I mean the thing about being a loyal customer. There’s been better times. Clubhouse membership in the past and more frequent orders, but I’ve never been a really good customer. Especially lately it’s been more like once or twice in a year and that’s just not good at all. Surely there’s been times that I haven’t bought much power pop, but also few times that I’ve ordered some power pop stuff from Amazon instead of Not Lame and well.. That’s almost criminal, because quite frankly Not Lame is a big part of my power pop education. I red every word of the old mail order catalogs and during the last ten years I have found lots of great bands because of the monstrously and extremely highly recommendations by Mr Bruce Brodeen. The question that remains is why the hell I haven’t ordered more albums? How bad would I feel if one day Not Lame has to quit because of financial restraints and I realise that I haven’t done anything at all to help their survival? This has to change and therefore the step 2 in changing my record buying habits is making a midsummer promise to myself. Starting now I will buy at least one album from Not Lame every month. That won’t make me a customer of the year, but it’s again a step into the right direction. And I’m not doing it just to ease my guilty mind. They carry music that I love and I will get a lot of great power pop in change.

Step 3 should probably be doing something with buying all those used cds. There’s a little bargain bin whore inside me and I buy a lot of used cds. Eventhough I have a policy that I won’t buy used copies of any new CDs that I know for fact that I will love, I still feel a bit guilty. Especially this backfires when the used CD turns out to be really wonderful. For example Langhorne Slim’s album turned out to be my album of the year and I’m still bloody ashamed that I bought it used. This is because buying a used promo copy of an album doesn’t really help the artist much. At least financially. However, I think I’m weak and I can’t quit buying used cds. I’m a hopeless case. A record addict and I can’t afford to buy everything as new. Still I don’t think I should be too guilty about this, because usually I wouldn’t buy that particular record as new anyway. It’s just the moment when you see that $6.99 price with free shipping code that makes you buy it. I hope I one day learn to just leave them be, but of course then I could miss out on new Langhorne Slim

Anyway, Sorry for this rant. I just thought that if I publicly write this it forces me to become a better customer by 1) supporting the local record store (in my case 8Raita) 2) Supporting the indie online store (in my case Not Lame). I will still keep using places like Amazon as well, but the biggest share of the money I use to buy new records has to go to 1 & 2.

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  1. Very thought provoking. I totally ‘get’ what you are saying here – kind of the way I have been with my buying habits. Not sure why I would buy from the big corporate places when other places(heard of Not Lame, just checked it out – very, very cool – obviously ,big passion going on there) and not the smaller guys.

    Now, so many of them are gone. GONE. The rest appear to be struggling as music fans abandon the places that spark the passions of niches like ‘power pop'(which I kinda like and think I will check out a bit more along with some of the bands you talk about here.) I am partially to blame on some level – I was bummed when Miles Of Music died in January. I used to buy a LOT of music from them but…..well, guilty and lazy.

    Now, I feel like flogging myself. Resolution: buy more music from cool places with real people. Care more.

  2. Thanks for the comment. Nice to see that someone is A) reading this blog B) thinking about these same issues.

    “Buy more music from cool places with real people” is indeed a great resolution to the problem. And obviously Not Lame is just an example that perfectly fits to my case. Eventhough many are already gone, there are still some good places left. Not Lame isn’t even the only good power pop store out there and all the other genres surely have their own stores that are worth supporting. But if even the passionate music fans don’t wake up into the reality and support them they will be soon be all gone. Thankfully there are people who have been supporting these stores all the time, but hopefully folks like me will realise that every little bit helps and it’s quite easy to change your habits. I’m not saying that there’s something wrong with using the the big corporates for some bargain hunting for example, but if I start to think about why I would buy some new indie power pop album from Amazon if also Not Lame sells it, I really can’t think of any reason. Sure it might cost $2-$3 more at Not Lame, but I’ll feel a whole lot better if I purchase it from them and those few extra bucks go to a great cause. Helping a great record store to survive.

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