June 24, 2016

Fans ensure the doors stay open

If you know me, you know I'm a music fan. Every time I'm on a trip to a new city, I try to visit a record store. Having done this for years, I have favorite record stores across the country. Lou's in San Diego. Grimey's in Nashville. El Suprimo in Baltimore. Waterloo in Austin. Amoeba in San Francisco. Everybody's in Cincinnati. Whenever I find myself back in these cities, I make time to stop in and support their business.

I've visited other record stores in many of the towns listed above. And I've visited shops in other towns–Phoenix, Seattle, LA, DC, New York ... the list goes on for awhile. But I wouldn't list others as my favorites and I likely won't go back to the others. The reason why I always visit those listed above when I'm in that city is because fans run these shops. Nothing is worse than visiting a record store run by snobs like the one played by Jack Black in that scene from High Fidelity. It's a hilarious scene to watch but never fun to experience. Record stores run by snobs don't survive. Record stores run by fans can survive.

None of the shops I love are the same. Some are small. Some are huge. Some only sell vinyl. Others sell used and new CD's, cassettes, t-shirts and more. What they all have in common is that they employ people that love music and want to share that love. Their favorite artist may be Pig Destroyer and yours may be Tom Jones. It doesn't matter. They are glad that you are there. They are happy to share their passion. They want to help you find more music to enjoy. Fans create fans. Fans ensure the doors stay open.

In the church world, we call fans "evangelists." You need them. Don't let record store snobs greet people. Don't put them on the hospitality committee. Put your record store fans (aka "evangelists") on the front lines. Knowledge base is not a requirement. Fans are always learning, always growing.

As a side note, there's a difference between snobs and purists. Snobs are usually purists. But not all purists are snobs. Purists can be fans. They are the fans that are excited to elevate the tastes of those that love Led Zeppelin but encourage you to dig deeper to appreciate the genius of the Jeff Beck Group.

Okay, now I'll stop before the metaphor breaks down completely!