Can You Dig It: Crawling for Vinyl While Pondering Music Consumption in 2014

The Faithful dig on the inagural Vinyl Crawl. (Photo - D.Hixon)

The Faithful dig on the inaugural Vinyl Crawl. (Photo – D.Hixon)

This past Saturday myself and three like minded souls ventured out into the urban wilderness of Cambridge and made history. January 25th of 2014 will forever be remembered as the first ever Vinyl Crawl. The idea was hatched and beta tested in December with superb results, and version 1.0 on Saturday was just as successful. The premise of the Vinyl Crawl is brilliant in its simplicity, but the rewards are layered in complexity.

How to Do A Proper Vinyl Crawl:

  1. Choose a Time, Date, & Record Store to meet at.
  2. Shop at said Record Store for as long as needed.
  3. Once done proceed to a reputable Pub within walking distance.
  4. Buy a beer and discuss records purchased.
  5. Go to the next Record Store, repeat Steps 2-4 as long as needed.
  6. End day at someone’s apartment – listen and discuss records further. Beer is optional but highly recommended.

Can there be a more perfect day? Records. Booze. Friends. As close to the afterlife as I can think of. The real reward was the social aspect when showing-off, talking about, and listening to the gems we picked up. Too often in these “socially connected” times people are only interacting with music (and each other) digitally. YouTube links shared and ripped to MP3, DropBox URL’s passed along for an unreleased album, Spotify suggestions, Facebook recommendations, Pandora Channels, SoundCloud links, BandCamp pages, and endless tweets, chats, and pins give the illusion that we’re connected to music more than ever but that’s not the case.

Don’t get me wrong, I use everything that was listed above on a daily basis (well minus Spotify or Pandora – fuck those services), but I use them to compliment my musical journey, not as the soul source. Odds are your favorite music has come from a friends suggestion or blind discovery – sure the occasional algorithm will expose you to something “new” that’s aligned with what robots think you like, but what’s the fun in that? If you’re on a punk Spotify channel and discover a “new” punk band is that really new – or are you just regurgitating a previous meal? If you’re only exposed to music and genres in your wheelhouse then you’re waving the white flag to your own musical evolution – and taking away the greatest reward of music consumption – Discovery.

As suds from the bars penetrated our synapses and wax weighed down bags our discovery became a shared experience – and made for one of my better Saturdays in recent memory. The below map shows our path was fairly linear – but the conversations were anything but, as we exposed each other to new buying habits and music we could never gather from behind the screen of a laptop, tablet, or phone.

Vinyl Crawl Map

Vinyl Crawl Map

Inaugural Vinyl Crawl Path:

  1. Planet Records
  2. Charlie’s Kitchen
  3. Armageddon Shop
  4. Whitney’s Cafe
  5. In Your Ear!
  6. People’s Republik
  7. Weirdo Records

This is the first of many Vinyl Crawls we’ll be organizing (hit me up on Twitter if you’d like to partake) – and even if can’t make it – try and take the time to visit a local shop near you (with friends if you can) – these hubs are vital to the betterment of the Music Fan’s experience, and thankfully each shop we entered on Saturday was lively and hopping with like minded patrons and music freaks – which I hope is a sign that the death of the Record Store’s been greatly exaggerated.

*For you Instagrammer’s out there peep #VinylCrawl for a look at some of what was picked up on the crawl.

Derek Hixon

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