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It’s a well-known fact that Detroit-native Jack White is an advocate of the back-to-basics ideologies that were once so present within the music industry. Instead of MP3s, White produces vinyl records; instead of relying heavily on computers, White records using actual instruments, many of which he builds himself.
And instead of suggesting fans download his music from the internet, White pushes for a more hands-on experience: physically going to a stand-alone record store.
It is all of these qualities that have landed the former White Stripes frontman the spot as the official 2013 Ambassador for Record Store Day. As of today, the Third Man Records’ owner has already utilized his newfound title, releasing the following message to music lovers:
Years ago someone told me that 1,200 high school kids were given a survey. A question was posed to them: Have you ever been to a stand-alone record shop? The number of kids that answered "yes" was... zero.
Zero? How could that be possible? Then I got realistic and thought to myself, "Can you blame them?" How can record shops (or any shop for that matter) compete with Netflix, TiVo, video games that take months to complete, cable, texting, the Internet, etc. etc? Getting out of your chair at home to experience something in the real world has started to become a rare occurrence, and to a lot of people, an unnecessary one. Why go to a bookstore and get a real book? You can just download it. Why talk to other human beings, discuss different authors, writing styles and influences? Just click your mouse. Well here's what they'll someday learn if they have a soul; there's no romance in a mouse click. There's no beauty in sitting for hours playing video games (anyone proud of that stop reading now and post your opinion in the nearest forum). The screen of an iPhone is convenient, but it’s no comparison to a 70mm showing of a film in a gorgeous theater. The Internet is two-dimensional…helpful and entertaining, but no replacement for face-to-face interaction with a human being. But we all know all of that, right? Well, do we? Maybe we know all that, but so what?
Let's wake each other up.
The world hasn't stopped moving. Out there, people are still talking to each other face-to-face, exchanging ideas and turning each other on. Art houses are showing films, people are drinking coffee and telling tall tales, women and men are confusing each other and record stores are selling discs full of soul that you haven’t felt yet. So why do we choose to hide in our caves and settle for replication? We know better. We should at least. We need to re-educate ourselves about human interaction and the difference between downloading a track on a computer and talking to other people in person and getting turned onto music that you can hold in your hands and share with others. The size, shape, smell, texture and sound of a vinyl record; how do you explain to that teenager who doesn't know that it's a more beautiful musical experience than a mouse click? You get up off your ass, you grab them by the arm and you take them there. You put the record in their hands. You make them drop the needle on the platter. Then they'll know.
As Record Store Day Ambassador of 2013 I’m proud to help in any way I can to invigorate whoever will listen with the idea that there is beauty and romance in the act of visiting a record shop and getting turned on to something new that could change the way they look at the world, other people, art, and ultimately, themselves.
Record Store Day began in 2007 as a way to support the independent record stores of the world. Since that time, more than 1,000 stores have signed on to participate, and 2013 is set to be the biggest year yet.
Michael Kurtz, Record Store Day co-founder, stated of White’s involvement: “Jack White is a record store owner, a record label head, a record maker, and a record consumer. The passion, pride, creativity and independent spirit he puts into every one of those roles is undisputed. We can think of no better Ambassador for Record Store Day 2013, and are thrilled to have Jack White on board to celebrate the culture of the independent record store.”
So don’t forget to support your local record stores come April 20th; Jack White will be eternally grateful.
For more information on Record Store Day and to find stores participating near you, click here, and to keep up with all of Jack White’s latest projects, head to his official website.
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