It's Record Store Day, so reach out and touch some music

Yes, it's easier to buy downloads or CDs over the Internet, but if you're lucky enough to still have a local "record store," drop by today.

Steve Guttenberg
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg
2 min read
Record Store Day isn't just about LPs; CDs are also part of the celebration. Steve Guttenberg

Sure, it's easier to buy downloads or CDs over the Internet, but if you're lucky enough to still have a local "record store," drop by today. It may be participating in Record Store Day celebrations in the U.S. and U.K. and offer special deals or discounts. And who knows, you might even meet other people who like music.

I've discovered so much great music in stores over the years playing over their sound systems, or talking with the stores' employees and customers. There's also something about holding a CD or LP in my hands that I can't get online.

If you love music, it's time to show respect for it in its tangible form, and stop music from becoming nothing more than disposable digital data. Musicians work long and hard to record their tunes, why wouldn't you want to hear everything they laid down? A 128Kbps or 256Kbps download "loses" a lot of music that was part of the original recording. How much is lost? Well, CDs run at 1,411Kbps; where do those other bits go?

One thing's for sure, you're not hearing them when you listen to downloaded music. And if you can't hear the difference today, you will in the years ahead when you get better speakers or headphones. You may have to buy the music you've already paid for again to hear what you've been missing.

But Record Store Day is a celebration of the little guy and independent record stores, and since the giants like Tower Records are history, most brick-and-mortar record shops are indies, owned by folks who have a real passion for music.

Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are being offered and hundreds of artists in the U.S. and in other countries will make special appearances and performances. Metallica officially kicked off Record Store Day at Rasputin Music in San Francisco on April 19, 2008. Record Store Day is now celebrated on the third Saturday in April.

Here's a cool YouTube interview with Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins in 2009. He's definitely a vinyl fan, and will be appearing today at Amoeba Records in Hollywood.