I don’t personally miss record stores that much. Sure nostalgia has distorted our true memory of the ’90s, but for me, I always found record shops expensive, intimidating (rude clerks who thought they knew everything), and inconvenient. So don’t expect this to be a “technology ruined everything!” post. I’ll keep my Spotify, thankyouverymuch. However, one thing iTunes and Spotify can never replace is the aesthetically pleasing experience of standing in a record store, and by that I mean the feeling of being physically surrounded by music. I’ve always liked the look of record stores–all the posters adorning the walls, the stacks of records, the shiny shrink-wrapped CDs. It’s gorgeous, especially the smaller indie ones located in cramped spaces. It’s like stumbling into a music geek’s incredibly tidy and organized hoard.
As a child, I used to always dream of living in an apartment that had floor to ceiling bookshelves full of nothing but books, records, and DVDs. I actually had a pretty decent bookshelf going in college, but then digital came along and well….you know. But as a salute to those ol’ brick and mortar stores of yore, here’s a gallery of interesting looking record stores from around the world. These photos, taken from the Record Stores Flickr group, capture the nostalgic energy of physical music, whether it’s a tiny hut full of reggae imports or a big, sprawling store with multiple levels. Regardless of what they’re selling, these stores prove that it’s the simple experiences that can’t be replaced.