3. “Sympathy for the Devil” (Or: New technology ain’t so bad.)
So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, um yeah.
— The Rolling Stones
Herron recently moved from Louisville to Lexington, but in a multi-topical conversation over the phone, it’s clear that Herron’s heart remains in this river city. His label handles a long lineup of local musicians, which he lists rapid-fire as if he were naming his kids: Seluah, Silver Tongues, The Fervor, Rachel Grimes, Shipping News, Johnny Quaid, Joe Manning, the Sandpaper Dolls.
Almost all of Herron’s clients produce vinyl (as well as CDs and digital downloads). “I don’t know a musician who doesn’t love vinyl,” Herron says. “It’s a quality issue in the end. . . . CDs produce only about 5 percent of music’s dynamic range (the highs and lows, the loud and quiet parts). You get two or three times that on vinyl. But there’s the romance and then there’s the retail. And for retail sales, a digital download is a must. . . . Digital fills the convenience void.”
Imagine this world: At home, you have your turntable and record collection, having bought into (or reacquainted yourself with) the idea that music simply sounds better on vinyl. On the road, in the car, on the jogging path, walking the dog, you’re plugged into your iPhone or iPod or some other Steve-Jobsian device that holds 300 squillion songs. Where does the CD fit in? Perhaps as a coaster?
“I was talking the other day to somebody and they were like, ‘I will give you a CD,’” says Jason Pierce, co-owner of Please & Thank You on East Market Street, a coffee shop/cafe/vinyl-record store complete with turntable-listening room. “I had to think really hard as to how I would even play a CD.”