Brendan Toller’s documentary, comprised of in-depth interviews with cultural pundits, public domain footage, wonderful animated collages by Matt Newman, and archival footage, chronicles the death of over 3000 record stores across America.
“There’s a lot of bad isms floating around this world, but one of the worst is commercialism.”
The doc is a passionate rant against the commercialization of a personal and artistic form of expression loved by many: independent music. I Need That Record features brilliant interviews with: Noam Chomsky, Lenny Kaye (Guitarist, The Patti Smith Group), Ian Mackaye ( Minor Threat, Fugazi, Embrace and Co-owner/ co-founder of Discord records), Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) Mike Watt (The Minutemen) and owners of record stores across America.
This documentary offers a riveting, behind-the-scenes glimpse at the business side of the art form. Toller argues that, in the past, the industry was about promoting original talent, and then, over time, it lost its core values. Now, the major labels put profits before innovation, and spoon- feed us artists through various forms of payola (i.e. paying DJ’s to spin particular tracks on the radio.) Purely corporate-minded distributors have also struck deals with retail giants, like Wal-Mart, to sell music as a loss leader (items sold at, or below, cost to entice customers to visit the store).
The statistics shown in the movie, although somewhat outdated, are eye-opening. I Need That Record is a must watch for anyone with even an iota of interest in the music industry.
Shawn Alexander Roy