I’m always in search of movies related to music. So, I added “I Need That Record! The Death (or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store” to my Netflix Instant queue without hesitation. After reading the description about the movie, it appeared the movie would be about annoying hipsters who have to let everybody know they still listen to records. I was surprised to find that wasn’t the case. Instead the movie delves into a world of “vinyl nerds”, who obsess over their hobby like a comic book nerd.
The movie begins featuring interviews with record store owners and their patrons. Characters which prove to be more interesting than you’d think. Each interview helps you get inside the mind of the average vinyl lover and why they like records so much. They love everything about it, from playing the record to the experience of taking the record out of its sleeve and smelling it.
Had this movie stayed on this topic, it would’ve been a very unique watch. After a few interviews featuring vinyl lovers, the film eventually steers toward the subject of the decline in record stores across the nation. It then morphs into yet another whiny documentary about corporate greed. I should have known the movie would go this route after seeing that Noam Chomsky was associated with it.
You’ve heard the argument before. Large and greedy record companies are to blame for the decline in music quality as well as your neighborhood record store. It’s surprising this subject would be explored in a world where it’s easier now than ever for artists to get their music to fans using the Internet. The movie covers the Internet’s effects on the recording industry for a bit as well, with interviews featuring artists who have built a following without a corporate record deal. This makes the entire argument of the movie unclear. Is it the Internet or corporate greed causing the demise of the record store?
When this film isn’t droning on about corporate greed and focuses more on record store owners and artists, it’s watchable. At only 1 hour and 17 minutes, it’s not very long and is worth a watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It could have been so much better though if only it didn’t have the same, tired “fight the system” feel so many other documentaries have these days.
“I Need That Record! The Death (or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store” – 2008
3 out of 5 stars