Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Physical Media in a Downloading Age

Scarecrow Video, Seattle USA
Curating a library of hard-to-find fare keeps alive the renting and selling of physical media. There is still a need for places that celebrate cinema’s unsung genres by offering a range of independent, foreign, cult, and documentary films not ever likely to be available on Netflix, Cinema Now, Shomi, Cravetv and their ilk. “The thing that made VHS catch on in the ’80s was this great sense of emancipation; prior to that, the only way you were seeing a movie was just by going to a theatre. With streaming we are regressing a little bit, because the sacrifice we are making to have the ease of streaming is we are putting that decision-making process in the hands of Netflix, Amazon, or whatever service” says Kate Barr of Seattle's Scarecrow Video.

For the many residents of largely rural municipalities such as the one where I live who cannot access sufficiently high-speed internet to make online downloading services an option, video and used record stores are often still the only source for the mainstream films that were missed or never even shown at our few local movie theatres. This isn't about to change any time soon, plus every digital option lacks a key component, the human connection at sites where people collect together to explore films or music.

I personally accord physical media a major place in my home library where ownership has its pleasures! Rent or own retains the physicality of connection that is lost in download-on-demand, whether video, books or music.

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