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I Need That Record! The Death (or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store (2010)

Ian MacKaye , Noam Chomsky , Brendan Toller  |  NR |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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I Need That Record! The Death (or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store + Last Shop Standing: The Rise, Fall And Rebirth Of The Independent Record Shop + Record Store Days: From Vinyl to Digital and Back Again
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Product Details

  • Actors: Ian MacKaye, Noam Chomsky, Thurston Moore, Mike Watt, Lenny Kaye
  • Directors: Brendan Toller
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MVD Visual
  • DVD Release Date: July 27, 2010
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,479 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Guerilla filmmaker Brendan Toller unleashes I NEED THAT RECORD! THE DEATH (OR POSSIBLE SURVIVAL) OF THE INDEPENDENT RECORD STORE, "an elegy for a vanishing subculture...a lively, bittersweet film that examines - with caustic humor, brutal candor, and, ultimately, great affection - why roughly 3,000 indie record stores have closed across the nation over the past decade," (Johnathan Perry, Boston Globe). A tour-de-force tale of greed, media consolidation, homogenized radio, big box stores, downloading, and technological shifts in the music industry told through candid interviews, crestfallen record store owners, startling statistics, and eye-popping animation. Fat cats or our favorite record stores? You decide. Featuring- IAN MACKAYE, NOAM CHOMSKY, MIKE WATT, THURSTON MOORE, LENNY KAYE (Patti Smith), CHRIS FRANTZ (Talking Heads), GLENN BRANCA, PATTERSON HOOD (Drive By Truckers), PAT CARNEY (Black Keys) , LEGS MCNEIL, BOB GRUEN, BP HELIUM, and many indie record stores across the U.S.


An elegy for a vanishing subculture...a lively, bittersweet film that examines - with caustic humor, brutal candor, and, ultimately, great affection - why roughly 3,000 indie record stores have closed across the nation over the past decade. --Johnathan Perry, Boston Globe

Toller's film is a tour-de-force, instructing without being didactic, plucking the heart strings without being maudlin, and presenting the burgeoning crisis in music retail as a palatable, human story. --Ben Richardson, San Francisco Bay Bridged

I Need That Record! has taken a snapshot of the downward spiral of the music retail business as sales hit an all time low and offers us a look at the heartbreak and frustration that comes along with the world of iTunes, corporate radio, and chain stores. --Jason Schueppert, Ghettoblaster Magazine

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars UNCUT Magazine Review September 16, 2010
By btoller
DVD REVIEW: I NEED THAT RECORD! Mint! Inspired, moving study of the decline and fall of America's independent music stores...

Brendan Toller's engaging essay-film is a direct response to an unexpected extinction event of the past decade: 3,000 independent record stores have closed down in the USA alone.

By launching a two-pronged attack on the problem - meeting record store employees and customers in situ, and analysing the backstory of the wholesale restructuring of the American music industry since the 1980s - he manages to provide a rounded and quietly impassioned elegy for the kind of self-supporting yet fragile communities which independent stores bring into being.

Along the way, Toller interviews various leftfield rock icons, including Fugazi/Dischord's Ian Mackaye (brutally realistic), Thurston Moore and Chris Frantz (genially articulate), Mike Watt (incoherent), Legs McNeil (cynical) and Glenn Branca (cantankerous). Lenny Kaye explains how he actually met Patti Smith while they were both browsing in their local indie record booth, and there's the unspoken reminder of how many groups have formed through in-store notices.

But the real heroes and heroines of the story are the store owners and staff, who are painted as tireless Canutes, embattled against an oceanic sea-change in the business of selling entertainment. He begins at Record Express, the Connecticut neighbourhood record emporium that Toller used to frequent. Owner Ian is clearing his racks and sweeping up, forced out due to rent hikes and dwindling business, as he explains over choked-back tears.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We All Need This Film! January 2, 2011
I love music. I don't kind-of like music, don't enjoy music, don't have an interest in music. Music, for me, equals life. Period. I hate being out in public, can't stand being around people, would much, much, much rather be sitting at home with my headphones clamped over my ears... but I have relished every second of my life that was spent in a record store, and there have been many. Why was being 19 the best year of my life? Because that was the year I had the opportunity to manage an independent all-metal/hard rock record store in the sleepy community of Lawton, Oklahoma. How did I survive high school? Easy answer: the indie record shops that thrived in every Bahnhof (train station) in every small city in West Germany, where I lived at the time. How do I get the bulk of my music now? At a place that I consider to be the heart and soul of my current hometown of Austin, Texas--Encore Records on Anderson Lane. So when I found out about this independently produced documentary on the mass extermination of indie record stores across the USA, I had to watch it as soon as possible. In any documentary, the filmmaker will present the story in his own way, with his prejudices, his opinions, and a focus on subjects that he feels personally connected to. Brendan Toller--who is the sole writer, director, and editor of 'I Need That Record!'--concentrates on a small area of the USA, spending most of the film shifting between Connecticut, Washington DC, and various parts of Ohio. The film follows the owners of a few different stores that had become institutions in their respective communities, chronicling each store's final days then catching up with the owners a few months later to see how their lives had changed. Read more ›
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lost Focus March 22, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Sorry to say that this is a disappointing effort here. Why was so much time spent on major labels? This was supposed to be about independent record stores. How did they lose their customers? Pretty much due to the technology that allows you to read this review on They finally got to this point. They also mention Dischord's low pricing model. One former independent record store's owner that was an old friend, used to bristle at their "pay no more than $x.xx for this record" as it did not allow him to get sufficient profit margin to make it worthwhile to stock and sell. Dischord is mostly a positive force, but this is just another example that you won't always hear in these types of films. This is a very complex subject and rather than just have musicians whine about big business and accountants, maybe a few of them should be interviewed. The comic book store owner was one of the few guys that looked like he had the skills to identify problems AND have the skills and heart to stay in business. Ultimately, we Amazon shoppers are not doing our part to keep stores in business. I balance my buying among many sources, but have mostly chosen independent internet sales people that may or may not have an indie storefront. I shop around the world and yes, that takes away some business from my local store. But I will always shop there, too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars bring back CD stores September 29, 2014
By john
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
spot on review of how to see each CD in music industry words I work to music and your few years ago said she'd go Oakleys little indie labels will bring it back
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I don't know about you, but in recent years I have become addicted to collecting vinyl records. And the reason is simple: some of the music that was recorded on vinyl will never make it to the CD format, making vinyl records our own small treasures, something that, maybe, in the future, will be recognized as such. So, when I watched the incredibly absorbing and illuminating "I Need That Record! The Death (or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store," I knew I was in heaven. I know this territory well - been there, done that, if you will.

The documentary covers many areas of recorded music at the same time. It smartly alternates the current state of the music industry with the history of recorded music. It tells us right away that 3,000 independent record stores have closed in the US in the past decade. Director Brendan Toller, who also wrote and edited the film, knows his turf really good, and goes around several stores which are barely surviving or are about to close - some closed during production --, and interviews their owners. Their stories give us a clear picture of the problem. We are told, for example, that there is no artist development anymore, and that it is more about the profit for the labels. We also learn that since the fifties, when payola was introduced, music was affected because the labels hired independent promoters to play the singles on the radio. We are informed, for instance, that 63 spins of a JLO single go for $3,600. Interestingly enough, too, is the fact that Clear Channel, according to the filmmakers, owns 1,200 radio stations, and that a study shows that some radio stations play the same song 73% of the time. Toller goes on and explains the impact of the so-called "Big Box" stores (Wal-Mart, Target, Borders, etc.
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