It is not without some measure of sadness that we discover today that the Washington, D.C.-based indie record label Dischord has decided to make its entire music catalogue available on the streaming music website Bandcamp, as Stereogum reports. It’s not that it’s a bad thing. It’s actually fantastic that such a massive cache of groundbreaking punk from the ’80s and ’90s is suddenly available for anyone to listen to without a subscription or to download and add to their personal collection at reasonable rates. This will give influential bands like Void, Minor Threat, and Shudder To Think a greater chance of remaining influential. It also means you can summon from the Internet a high-quality version of Fugazi’s 1990 song “Repeater” on the slightest of whims.
The melancholy aspect of this news is that there’s a 15-year-old version of so many people reading this right now whose head would have exploded at this revelation. Consider the the effort that that Doc Martin-sporting kid spent trekking to the one area record shop where the clerk knew who label founders Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson were and was willing give informed recommendations for new records that would blow the kid’s mind. Consider the stack of shoe boxes that held the kid’s ever-growing collection of hardcore tapes. Consider the time that the kid spent running fingers down the spines of those tapes while fuzzed-out guitars blared through a set of over-sized headphones.
That kid likely would not have garnered the same numinous experience by typing dischord.bandcamp.com into an Internet browser. On the other hand, that kid probably would have been, like, “Shut up, and give me the music.”