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  • angelonecaitlin

Independent. Commercial. Independent.

Last post I wrote about how ephemera in my journals connected to cultural movements and aesthetics at the time. In this post we will continue to go through the scraps of my journals.

2004 music continues to be a large ephemera collection for me. Aside from the countless ticket stubs – soon to be taken over by electronic tickets – I also have countless flyers for bands, concerts, and music stores.

A trip to visit my aunt in San Francisco gave me an advertisement for Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, a reflection of the resurgence of ska music in the 2000s. I did not attend the show but enjoyed the matching outfits. Third wave ska bands capitalized on the renewed interest, creating a “post-third wave” in the subculture as bands like Reel Big fish and Goldfinger continued to have success after the 90’s. This may also have to do with the crossover of punk and ska music. As we saw in our last post, punk began to have some momentum thanks to protest music against President Bush. Ska’s roots also tended to be seeded in acceptance and social issues, another popular trend in music at the time.

I have a flyer for the band Billy Talent playing the Vans Warped Tour, a ticket stub for my attendance (I did not see Billy Talent perform), and a Polaroid from the "truth exposed" booth.

For those that were not alive or were too old to embrace the studded belt and chain wallet, Vans Warped Tour was an outdoor music festival originally embracing skate punk and ska, although it did begin to showcase other genres later. Streaming services and “burning” CDs allowed for alternative music to capture a larger audience because it was now easier to get new music. Festival type shows increased to capitalize on teenagers and young adults interested in music, good luck getting a days worth of bands for 30 bucks now!

The Polaroid is from the campaign "truth" that launched in 1998 to encourage teenagers to unite against tobacco and smoking. Part of their campaign was to attend areas where teenagers would be, such as the Vans Warped Tour. I am pictured above.

My trip to San Francisco also included going to Amoeba Music. At a time where commercial retail had killed the independent music market (online music had not completely taken hold yet), Amoeba was reminiscent of a music store cultivating relationships with consumers. As much as I loved my weekly trips to Tower Records (which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy the same year, 2004) , Amoeba stayed true to connecting with their audience by hosting concerts, highlighting local artists, and had a large trading and reselling market for physical albums. It is not too long until we see the death of mass commercial retailers, and a rise in independent music stores again. Although not nearly as large as before, independent music sellers tap into the desire that humans have to physically share their interests and connect with others. From Amoeba, I have my receipt and paper bag. Researchers carefully look at receipts to note prices and purchases made, which may indicate what was valued at the time. Paper bags can be used for the history of branding and marketing research.

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