Vinyl stores catered to a niche market way before MP3s existed. Hence, In Your Ear Records survived the digital revolution’s evisceration of national retail chains. After 20-plus years in the basement of 957 Comm. Ave., record collectors remain IYE’s bread and butter. But it’s also a rad spot to browse heaps of used CDs, thumb through old zines, and find out that an 8-track kind of looks like an NES cartridge. We chatted up original and ongoing co-owner Reed Lappin.
About two years ago, cassettes looked to be coming back — for about a week.
Well, when you go back to the beginning of CDs, cassette sales were on the rise until the major labels jumped the prices, so they were higher than CDs. That was in the late ‘80s. They killed the record and the cassette at that point, to some extent.
I’ve read they wanted everyone to rebuy all their old Beatles albums or whatever on the new format.
We used to have one guy who joked about Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of The Moon. They’d have the 20th anniversary edition, and then the 30th anniversary edition, and he’d say “I’m holding out for the 50th anniversary edition.”
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Did the “elitist music store employee” stereotype hurt the industry?
You mean like in High Fidelity? Not really. I mean, any [employee] with an attitude would definitely hurt a store, but somebody who’s knowledgeable and giving people information, that wouldn’t. It depends on the individual, if they’re really snobby. “This is my private music section, go away.”
Do you think, in the future, there will be a microchip we’ll implant in our skulls that’ll stream any song we think of directly into our brains?
Well, do you want to be controlled by something like that? I don’t.
I would think I was controlling it, though. Marketing would protect me from the truth.
Well, there’re a lot of futuristic dangers with control that you might want to stay away from. I think people are learning that staying somewhat under the radar or anonymous is very important, or more valuable than having access to everything.