Desert island downloads?

Posted By on August 12, 2007

I was on vacation on the Jersey shore the first week of August, which was great. But I was mad I missed the first day of the Goldmine record show at the rock hall in Cleveland. I thought it would be a great occasion to sell my book, “Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories.” So when I got there on Aug. 5, the day after we got back from our week away, I brought along five copies of CRRM, just to see how I’d do.

I did okay, though I didn’t display my wares at the Goldmine table at the rear of the show (I’ve contributed to Goldmine since 1984 and should be considered a kind of regular). The way I did okay was by going around and talking to dealers about my book; call it cold-callling. Three bit. One was a guy from Cleveland who was familiar with my work. The others were dealers from Dallas and Baltimore who’ve been coming to the show to sell their vinyl for a few years now.

The show was something else. Not only did the rock hall not promote it at all—like there was no banner on the building saying it was going on—there also was a marathon that day. So there were lots of runners in downtown Cleveland but woefully few rock ‘n’ rollers. That added up to poor attendance, little business and fewer wares to check out.

The lower level of the hall seemed a little busy, but a lot of it was browsing rather than buying. There were some big-ticket items, like old soul albums of the ‘50s and ‘60s, but there were far more cheap albums – and cheap compact disks. Several dealers told me the show’s been shrinking steadily; fewer and fewer vendors are coming, not to mention buyers.

It occurred to me that within 10 years—make that five years —this show will be a thing of the past. The magazine’s been slimming down noticeably, and the editors are considering a major reformatting to reflect the shift to digital in music. My kids buy CDs primarily for travel, to pop into the car’s player. But generally, they download. I myself am considering selling my compact disks; I’ve amassed thousands in the 36 years I’ve been reviewing.

I won’t sell them before I download the music I want to keep. I’m going to put it all on a big hard drive on an iMac so I can play it throughout the house and transfer it to an iPod or burn a CD. But I no longer need the disks, I figure. Nostalgia is powerful, but it can be a burden, too.


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I'm a veteran critic and business writer who reads and listens and writes about music, books, hotels and travel. I've been in the business for many years and still enjoy it. My pride and joy is my book, Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories. Follow me on Twitter: