Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Buch Spieler Speaks

Earlier today, I received an interesting comment from the folks at Buch Spieler regarding my post from last Friday, Just Kill Me. It started a noteworthy dialogue so I decided to pull it up into a full post so it would get more attention.

My post on Friday was basically me bemoaning the fact that Patti Casey, Kristina Stykos and Susannah Clifford-Blachly all made the list of top albums at Buch Spieler.

This was the comment that Buch Spieler's left this afternoon:

We at Buch Spieler only wish that a title like Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane was our #1 seller. We could fudge the charts and include a band like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (an in-store favorite) but we do believe in truth in advertising. The fact that 6 out of 10 of our Top 10 sellers are local artists is very telling about the state of our industry (actual CD sales vs. downloads, among other factors). Or is it that Vermonters just like supporting other Vermonters?

Just for clarification, our biggest selling (and personal favorite) Christmas recording of all time is Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas. If the store was out of it on the particular day you came to buy it, we should have had more the next day. In this day and age of instant gratification, we sometimes fail. It's what makes us human in a faceless, corporate culture of capitalist greed.

The real question is where are the people who will buy more, if any, of the titles you (and we) like? Where are they?

I then responded with:

Hey Guys,

I think you're misinterpreting my post. I love Buch Spieler. I wasn't complaining about the store. I just dislike a lot of the artists that are popular in the area and use your Top 10 list to show what is popular around here to people outside the area.

You guys do a good job of meeting the demand for music in the area. I just don't care for what people are demanding.

As I've said before, if your racks reflected my tastes the place would go out of business. But that doesn't mean I can't rant, rage and joke about the local music scene.

As for where are the people that will buy the music we love, I think they are all around us. I don't think people dislike the music we love. I think they are just unaware of it. They haven't been exposed to it. So, in my tiny little way, that's a part of this blog...exposing people to music I love.

Most of the people who read this site are from outside the area. However, I know of a few people in town that have learned of bands on this site and bought the CDs in Buch Spieler.

Unfortunately, there are only about 80-100 people visiting this site each day with only about 25% of those readers being from VT (and an even smaller percentage from the Montpelier area).

Which prompted this response from Bush Spieler:

Hey Flatlander, I like your blog. You've got me hooked.

So, what to do about exposing the masses to new music, the kinds of tunes that will never be broadcast by the likes of Clear Channel. You're absolutely right about there being people out there who can and do appreciate the kinds of music we like. Now, if only they had a way to hear it. This is the problem. Poor exposure and complacency. The public, for the most part, seems to accept homogenized mediocrity. It's our cultural plunge towards the lowest common denominator and I don't see any concerted effort to reverse this trend.

So after an initial misunderstanding, it sounds like we are on the same page. The question is how do we expose people to new music. What do you think of this idea?

Between this blog, Latitude 44.2N and Analog Giant, there are three blogs in the local area promoting lesser known bands. We each typically focus on a band or two each week. Perhaps, you could use one of the shelves on the "New Releases" rack to display the CDs of the bands we are promoting with a sign that says something like "As Heard on Analong Giant, False 45th and Latitude 44.2N". K (of Analog Giant), jds (of Latitude 44.2N) and I could then include a line in our posts saying "This album is available on the 'Blogger's Shelf' at Buch Spieler in Montpelier".

This way our blogs could almost function as a listening station for your store and it would be good cross promotion. We'd be directing readers toward your store and when people ask about the shelf, you could direct them back to our blogs.

I haven't spoken to K and jds about this but knowing their interest in preserving downtowns, I'm guessing they'd be up for it.

If anyone from outside the area has any good examples of what has worked in their neighborhoods, we'd be interested in hearing about it.


Tmoore said...

Interesting... when Purepop blogs goes up, we'll have to talk more.

K. said...

Damn good idea Flatlander I would be all about it. Let me know what they say in response.

We could definately touch on some diverse stuff and the indie scene would be thoughly covered by two people (you and JDS) that seemingly know everything happening in the genre.

Anonymous said...

as a fan of both this blog and buchspieler, thanks for having and posting the dialogue in question. i think the listening station idea is brilliant. people around here (at least most i've met) are certainly open to hearing something new and good. featuring the music it sounds like we all wish buchspieler was selling 100s of instead of 1s of in the physical in-store listening stations and the virtual in-blog stations make so much sense.

do it.

Flatlander said...

Coo. I'm glad to hear folks like the idea.

Bo said...

I'm there.....I think this is a great idea. Fred, are you reading this? Yea for Buch Spieler, yea for our smart local bloggers. Yea for music made near and far.

Anonymous said...

Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!