December 26, 2008

Shopping for music recordings... why are all the shoppers male?

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I followed my 2 sons into B-Side Records, which was full of shoppers. I counted 15, all men. When did music shopping become such a heavily male activity?

78 comments:

Eli Blake said...

My older daughter used to download it all off the internet (that was back in the days of Napster.)

My two younger ones will probably be doing that pretty soon too, but I will make sure it's a legal service.

garage mahal said...

If it wasn't B Side I would venture a guess at what cd our scarfed shopper is about to pick.

This is EXACTLY how my wife would like me to look and dress if she had her way. Instead she gets Jack Black. Haha.

rhhardin said...

Music is heavily mathematical.

Trooper York said...

Cause it's really gay?

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Richard Fagin said...

B-side Records? Did they acutally have any records, the ones made from vinyl? I pretty well stopped music shopping when stores stopped selling records.

Pogo said...

Back when I gave a damn, I haunted lots of record (yes, record) stores, especially used ones. I spent hours at a time rifling through endless bins of LPs. The only women in those dumps were usually the punk grrrl slacker clerks. Never a buyer.

Girls tended more toward pop music, which you could buy at any mainstream store at the mall.

Later, when I had a bit more cash, I bought CDs (remember them?) at the independent store, because it had all the crazy crap I listened to that everyone else hated (for good reason, usually).

No girls there either.

It's like jazz or baseball or used books. Only a guy could know or care about the infinite but transient details of all the tiny little bands that come and go like crocuses.

Why?
I dunno.
But whatever the reason, it is far superior that women do this less than men do.
;)

RR Ryan said...

Back when I was in the business, that was always the case. I suspect if you asked Danny at Wax'nFax in Atlanta you would get corroboration on this.

rcocean said...

Is that Titus? The scarf looks Tres Gay.

Trooper York said...

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Mark O said...

What are the odds? Probably about 50-50. Flip it again tomorrow.

Maybe they were there looking for chicks. Naw.

Before the Time When No Differences Were Permitted, there seemed to be reasons for stuff like this, but I would never hazard an impression lest I be struck down.

But, what are the odds?

Mitch said...

"There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening. The Korova milkbar sold milk-plus, milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom, which is what we were drinking. This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence."

Mitch said...

"It had been a wonderful evening and what I needed now, to give it the perfect ending, was a little of the Ludwig Van."

Lem said...

When did music shopping become such a heavily male activity?

Could it be that listening to music is a display the way making music is thought of as a tool to attract sex partners?

The Economist notes 3 theories for the evolution of music in human culture: 1. sex, 2. social glue, 3. accident and invention...
the sex theory -- that people make music to attract sex partners.


http://tinyurl.com/8ft6v7

I remember making countless tape compilations for girls I wanted to shall we say.. impress.

The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules. Anyway... I've started to make a tape... in my head... for Laura. Full of stuff she likes. Full of stuff that make her happy. For the first time I can sort of see how that is done.

High Fidelity (2000)

dbp said...

The chances of 15 people there being all men is about one in 32,000--if it was just random chance.

Of course, it was actually 15 men and one woman: Althouse didn't count herself.

PC said...

It's pretty simple; girls tend to have shitty tastes in music and can be satiated by the best sellers rack at Best Buy.

Original George said...

Because this is the mating season, and the lads are looking for tunes with which to lure young lovelies.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Record collecting is a very male activity, as is making music itself. As for record shops, the onion puts it best: SRecord Shop Clerk Massacre

blake said...

Isn't this was Summers was saying?

Men are more likely to be outliers.

EDH said...

I can't believe you didn't know? Nobody told you?

Maybe I'm not supposed to reveal this secret...[looks both ways]

The record companies are putting four tablets of Viagra in every CD!

TosaGuy said...

White people like scaves.

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/04/30/97-scarves/

PJ said...

IB-side looks like it always would have leaned toward the obsessive indy music geek category which is heavily male -- especially during the holiday break.

Think Jack Black in High Fidelity telling the middle aged guy to go to the mall - only with CDs now.

Mariam said...

Maybe it is a matter of what would be shopped for or returned on the day after a big gifting day.

I feel like the mix/tape (per Lem's comment) is a gift that one would give to someone more inclined to value the context of a home-made gift, i.e., a lady might not have anything to return; while I might just grab a full CD of an artist I know someone _might_ like for a person less likely to care--and getting it wrong, they have some recourse.

PJ said...

Yeah, you have to take into account the fact that the wife/girlfriend might be just down the road sale shopping while SO whiles away the time in the music store.

m00se said...

Judging from the way the "man" in your photo was wearing his scarf, I'd say he was a bit fey.

Which would put the statement of "male" a bit in doubt...

reader_iam said...

Wow. I'm going to have to think about this one, on account of having first one reaction, then another, then recoiling back from both and looking larger and broader (and smaller and more narrowly), over decades.

Weirdly, perhaps or perhaps not, I've been put in mind to think about my experience[/s] in college/alternative radio, all those years and years ago. There was more to confound than one might think. Which statement only goes so far.

TitusRoad said...

You all must think I am a big fag. I would never wear a scarf like that-not that there is anything wrong with it just wouldn't do it.

Actually, my style is very understated. You really have to look closely to locate the fine quality, exquisite (sp) taste and large price tag.

Actually, you wouldn't be able to tell I am gay most of the time. Especially in Wisconsin when it is minus 6 outside.

By the way, who still shops at music stores for music?

TitusRoad said...

Also, I almost always have a baseball cap on my head, except when I go out to find a boyfriend for a 10 minute relationship.

And if I am in Wisconsin and it is minus 6 I have a hat on that covers my head and ears entirely.

It is going to be 60 here in New York on Sunday.

TitusRoad said...

There was a hottie at the airport when i was leaving Madison. We were on the same flight out. His body was fierce. I was interested to see his final destination.

I was lucky enough that in Detroit our next flights gates were next to each other. He was going to Boston and I ackowledged his fabulousness (by going to Boston) while I strolled by to the Laguardia gate. If he would of been flying to Charlotte or Hotlanta that would of proved to be very disappointing.

Can I tell you that you can tell quite a bit about a city by looking at the passengers at the gate waiting for their flight? It really is an excellent indicator of the fabulous factor of the city.

reader_iam said...

Titus, one of the things which finally won me over about you was your talent for metaphor.

Especially with regard to gates and, secondarily, flights.

TitusRoad said...

When flying home to Madison I was next to an infantry officer who was originally from Eau Claire, went to school in Madison and was now in the military stationed in San Diego. He was going to be getting married to a woman who was in medical school in Madison.

He asked if I was married or ever been married. I said no. I didn't tell him I was gay. Should I of told him I was gay?

dbp said...

I like the scarf and don't think it makes the guy look gay. He may be or not, I can't tell. When I can tell--or more accurately, when I form an opinion--it is from how he moves, not from what he wears.

I would bet that there are statistically meaningful differences between the fashion choices of the hetero v. homosexual male, but to me the differences in walking, talking and gestures have a larger difference. At this hour it makes my head spin to consider how one would quantify differences in mannerisms.

reader_iam said...

Should I of told him I was gay?

Well, no, you shouldn't of told him [you were] gay.

As to should you have told him ...? I'm totally unqualified to say. I am qualified to say that I suspect you can handle that all by yourself, Titus. As well you know.

; )

Happy New Year!

TitusRoad said...

True story-when flying home to Madison I went through Minneapolis and by accident pinched a loaf in the Larry Craig bathroom. I didn't know it was the Larry Craig bathroom until I entered the stall and there was writing all over the place saying that it was the Larry Craig bathroom.

When I left the bathroom there were a couple of queens taking pictures of the entrance as I left. I hope they didn't think I was in there for anything other then pinching a loaf.

Also, the thought of having sex in an airport bathroom has no interest to me. I do have standards you know. Also, I want to be able to see the guys pecs and arms and an airport bathroom doesn't allow for that much exposure. And also, I don't want to hear or smell other people taking dumps as I am doing it.

After I left the bathroom I thought it would be nice to have some sort of monument outside of the bathroom to ackowledge it's fame.

TitusRoad said...

I would never tell a stranger that I just met that I am gay, even if they asked. It is none of their fucking business.

dbp said...

"He asked if I was married or ever been married. I said no. I didn't tell him I was gay. Should I of told him I was gay?"

Great question!

Regardless of whether the soldier thought you might be gay or not, he might have felt compelled by the trajectory of the conversation that it would be polite to ask about your marriage/family situation since he was telling you about his.

If the infantryman had any anti-gay feelings, you might have decreased them by telling him you are gay; since you had already gained his confidence. If he had no anti-gay feelings, then there would have been no consequences.

sg said...

Men operate under the illusion that women are impressed by guys who: a) have "eclectic" tastes in music; b) have "the perfect CD" for every mood or occasion; and c) are well-off enough to spend thousands of dollars on CDs they'll only listen to a few dozen times each.

Women already know that men don't worry at all about what CDs women have or like.

Lem said...

I gave a compilation tape to an "exotic dancer" once.

I know.. Pathetic.. lol

XWL said...

When did music shopping become such a heavily male activity?

My personal music shopping days stretch back into the early 80s, and if my recollection is correct, I'd have to say that even then it was a mostly male activity to actually peruse the racks and look for music. It's not that females didn't buy music (see, Jovi, Bon and his career for proof) back then, it's just that women don't seem to have to 'browse the racks' chromosone.

But maybe part of it is also about the particular retail experience. The film version of High Fidelity captured some of the snotty stand-offishness and know-it-allness consumers encounter when venturing into record shops.

I think men can overlook that sort of thing, or they might even appreciate it, women seem to respond to a more solicitous retail experience.

If they had sold records the way they sell high heels or bath products, I'd bet the gender balance would have been more equal.

Now that vinyl is exclusively for fetishists and even CDs are largely an anachronism, it's only going to be a particular set of peculiar folks who habituate brick and mortar music shops. By going to a store, you aren't just buying music, you are making a cultural statement about the kind of person you are.

Beth said...

This is a single, andecdotal experience. I could cite counter experiences and they'd be just as meaningful, or rather, unmeaningful. Or, I'll have a little fun and propose that in keeping with all those studies Althouse loves, women shop for music better. They do it online.

Jim Howard said...

I was wondering how an academic study of this phenomena would be writen so as to follow Althouse's Law ('any study of gender differences must conclude that female behavior is superior').

Thanks to sg for providing the ansswer: 'Men operate under the illusion that women are impressed by guys who:..."

LoafingOaf said...

Sigh...I always had crushes on the females who worked at the independent record shops.

I didn't pay much attention to how many of the customers were male or female. When I think of it, it was mostly male customers. Especially the lingering browsers. Females would pop in and know what they wanted and then be gone. The males liked to browse and browse and hang out. One record shop here let me hang out and smoke cigs and play records, not caring much if I'd buy 'em.

Most of these shops have gone out of business in my city. I think Amazon and downloading has destroyed these indie record stores in much of the country.

But a lot of them had females working in them, and I had crushes these rcord store girls. And the females customers who hung out a lot were generaly in bands. I remember small groups of female punks swooping in and out of the stores now and then, but not being huge browsers like the guys.

Lem said...

('any study of gender differences must conclude that female behavior is superior')

The act of self-love for example, female are said to have gone digital while men still doing things manually ;)

Palladian said...

I do believe the be-scarfed metrosexual lad in the photograph is Althouse's non-gay son John. You can tell he's not gay because a gay man would never be in a store like that wearing a scarf like that looking at Jazz.

rhhardin said...

John of KFI's John and Ken said that when he was a kid, he noticed that about half the songs on the radio were sheer crap. ``Who's buying this junk?'' he'd ask himself.

It turns out there are chick songs and guy songs. Whole radio stations were devoted to the difference, depending on what audience they wanted to sell to advertisers.

I believe the segment is in this (real audio) show post Princess Di.

Yes! At 16:40.

Ann Althouse said...

Palladian is right, and since my other son specifically rejected that scarf and doesn't want any scarf, the verdict chez Althouse is that the scarf is quite clearly not gay.

TitusRoad said...

When in an airport I feel a little bad about people waiting to board a plane for a not fabulous city.


While working the runway and glancing over my shoulder to check out each gate I notice the names Tulsa, Jackson, Colombia, Knoxville, Dallas, Houston, maybe even Jefferson City or Kalamazoo. I peruse the passengers, look at the name of the city at the gate and give them a dirty look. It is my small way of telling them to get out, move. I notice the hair, shoes, body fat content and really want to do my part by letting them know they need to find a new city.

TitusRoad said...

I like the term "glancing over my shoulder"-it's very gay.

TitusRoad said...

Now that I think about it this blog is pretty gay-in a good way.

Lots of gays and gay stuff.

TitusRoad said...

Is the store Jazzman in Madison too cool to have a website? That's lame.

I ate deer sausage when I was home and packed some for friends in the city. I love deer sausage.

Loving deer sausage is so the complexity and dichotomy of being me. You really can't pin me down, literally because I am a top. But also figuratively. I am a mixture of unexpected twists and turns.

TitusRoad said...

I feel my morning loaf beginning to percolate.

hdhouse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TitusRoad said...

I also ate lefse when home which is a Norwegian bread that my mom makes. It is really yummy.

hdhouse said...

because the classical music section is, or used to be, a great place to meet women...duhhh!

TitusRoad said...

Speaking of compact discs I got tons of blank CDs for christmas so I can make catchy music to play in my car.

TitusRoad said...

I will be right back.

The loaf has arrived.

TitusRoad said...

I am watching PBS cartoons now.

Can you name something that grows is one of the questions for the cartoon characters.

TitusRoad said...

One of the answers was "cats" can grow.

TitusRoad said...

The cartoon is Sid The Science Kid.

siyeh pass said...

B-Side's a great store. I recognized it from the pic - been going in there since college. I guess I don't fit the stereotype that's here, but that's not news - I know more about baseball than your average bear, too.

save_the_rustbelt said...

I checked with my seriously heterosexual musician/dj son who is here for the holidays devouring massive amounts of food and sleeping late.

He tells me women either have simple pop tastes or they send a man to do the shopping.

Limited sample, to be certain. And he has had trouble with women, including his maybe yes, maybe no fiance' chick.

He promises to double check when he returns to Nashville, they seem to like music down there.

Meade said...

Those are a couple of handsome young men you've raised, Althouse. Kudos!

MadisonMan said...

The scarf looks Tres Gay.

The scarf looks Tres Blanc to me -- really extremely white, as in brand new -- and I will venture that it is a Christmas present.

Does he drink coffee? Shame to spill coffee on a white wool scarf.

save_the_rustbelt said...

TitusRoad:

I have friends and family in Tulsa and Dallas, and those are quite nice cities, and I have friends in Kalamazoo. All straight though.

Do you know about gay rodeo?

You might like Tulsa and Dallas if you showed up during the gay rodeo. Hunky men with really big silver belt buckles.

Matt Eckert said...

Hey I did not know that Charles Nelson Reilly lived in Madison.

somefeller said...

I'm not familiar enough with the other cities Titus mentioned to have an opinion about them, but anyone who says that Dallas and Houston (two of America's biggest cities, both of which are centers of wealth, arts and gay culture, I might add) are "not fabulous" shows himself to be something of a poseur. As long as we are sharing opinions, darling.

Yeah, I know that last line sounded a little odd coming from me, but why should Palladian have all the fun?

Ann Althouse said...

"The scarf looks Tres Blanc to me -- really extremely white, as in brand new -- and I will venture that it is a Christmas present. Does he drink coffee? Shame to spill coffee on a white wool scarf."

Actually, the color is an off-white, cream. And it's not wool, it's Cashmink, which can be hand washed. It looks like cashmere and is really soft. Lots of beautiful colors and patterns, only $25, at Jazzman, which everyone knows is the best men's clothing place in Madison. And go across the street to Karen & Company (Sassafras) for the best women's clothes.

EDH said...

Titus said...

When flying home to Madison I was next to an infantry officer... He asked if I was married or ever been married. I said no. I didn't tell him I was gay. Should I of told him I was gay?

...I would never tell a stranger that I just met that I am gay, even if they asked. It is none of their fucking business...

And also, I don't want to hear or smell other people taking dumps as I am doing it.


Obviously, Titus is in favor of a don't ask, don't tell and don't smell policy.

Meade said...

"Lots of beautiful colors and patterns, only $25, at Jazzman, which everyone knows is the best men's clothing place in Madison."

Hmmm... maybe I need to make a trip to Madison. Just to upgrade my wardrobe. I think that scarf looks sharp. Well selected, well worn.

TitusSuedehead said...

Dallas and Houston are awful...and in Texas. I have been to Dallas and Houston for work and (pleasure?) and they are awful. I went to the Niemies at both cities and saw so much of the shoppers to hate. Also, Dallas killed Kennedy so there is a special place in hell for them. Anywhere that you have to drive to gay bars is down right unforgivable. I am sorry but to be really fabulous you need to be on a coast and you need to run out of your loft and yell taxi and immediately get a cab-and you need to to it very dramatic preferably in front of tourists from Missouri-perhaps even elbowing one of them for good measure. Chicago makes a good run for it but Lake Michigan is not the ocean.

TitusSuedehead said...

Tom Delay is from Houston-enough said.

blake said...

Wait, Titus!

Are you saying Lee Harvey Oswald wasn't acting alone!?

First time I've heard such a theory.

Alex said...

Titus - I'm sure you only hang out with the gay glitterati set. Anyone else is not worth hanging out with.

Kirby Olson said...

They might all be women in drag. It's Madison.

somefeller said...

Anywhere that you have to drive to gay bars is down right unforgivable...Tom Delay is from Houston-enough said.

Under that logic, Boston is fabulous and Los Angeles is not. That's not change I can believe in, especially having lived in Boston (a fine American city, but not exactly the hub of the world, despite the slogan). And Tom DeLay lives in Sugarland, not Houston. To give a comparison, that's sort of like saying someone from a not very cool part of Long Island is from New York City.

In any case, I'm sorry you had a bad time in Houston. Perhaps you can make a return trip during Pride Weekend this coming summer or something. But be sure to rent a car. Only losers rely on mass transit. This is the West, you know.

Ern said...

In my experience (mostly with classical music), women seem more likely than men to attend live performances of music. Perhaps women prefer their music live.

michael farris said...

Late to this, but I have to say the picture looks straight out of Stuff White People Like : "Pretending to be Interested in Jazz".

Generally, I hadn't thought about it before but back in my undergraduate days the clientele at non-mainstream new/used record stores (several within a couple of blocks) was overwhelminingly male. They sometimes hired pretty punkish girls (possibly to help draw in male customers) but as far as I can recall they never talked about music like the male clerks.

On the other hand, lots of females at the mainstream stores, cruising the pop bins.

Come to think about it, I knew (alternative type) female musicians and they didn't realy obsessively talk about music the way guys did either.
The only woman I've ever known into talking about music (and with really eclective tastes) was a lesbian FWIW.

muddimo said...

I'm pretty sure that guy in the photo has never mixed concrete in his life. Just sayin.

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