The struggles of record labels and artists throughout the peer-to-peer file sharing explosion have been well documented, but we know very little about those on the front lines of this battle. The documentary Last Shop Standing: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the Independent Record Shop provides insight into the struggles of these small business owners as physical music sales declined.
The documentary is filled with interviews from musicians such as Billy Bragg and The Smiths’ Johnny Marr, but the real gems are the fascinating conversations with generations of record store owners. They share stories of the rise of rock and roll (“We’ll never sell that, it’s dreadful!” an owner remembers her mother’s reaction upon listening to Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel” for the first time) the decline (“I’d be going into record shops, and I wouldn’t be saying ‘How’s it going’ anymore”), and finally, the rebirth (“We’ve got to adapt and survive”).
Last Shop Standing reclaims the nostalgia of browsing for hours in your favorite record shop. If nothing else, this will convince you of one thing: there’s no comparable experience to playing a physical record. Music downloads are for the casual music fan, record collections are for the passionate music aficionado.
– Joanna Hurley