BY JOHN B. MOORE
Try as they might the major record labels have not managed to screw up the revival of vinyl… yet. Likely because it happened despite their best efforts to convince folks that digital music was all we will ever need (years after fighting the digital movement and finally being forced to play catch up).
Nope, the recent rebirth of vinyl happened not because of a push by record labels or big box retailers deciding to offer up the format again, but because diehard music fans – many of them who also happen to be mom and pop record store owners– did everything they could to stay afloat and cater to fellow music lovers who reveal in the warmth of the of vinyl sounds and the excitement of discovering new music.
Last Shop Standing does a fantastic job of describing what those independent shop owners went through over the past few decades with the rise of CDs and MP3s, at time when over 2,000 record stores were forced to shutter across the UK. The documentary interviews 20 different shop owners, musicians (everyone from Johnny Marr to Billy Bragg) and label folks. The bottom line, you can’t replicate the feel of a small record store by shopping for music online or in a WalMart where cheap music is just used simply to lure you into the store to buy a TV.
Though it’s still too early to tell if the revival of vinyl is just another passing fad or is (hopefully) proof that records will always be around, Last Shop Standing serves as a love note to vinyl.
As British musician Richard Hawley puts it so well in the doc, “You are never going to discover Captain Beefheart or the 13th Floor Elevators or the Velvet Underground in your local supermarket, ever”.