This post from Flea Market Funk popped into my RSS feed the other day. It grabbed my attention because it’s something that the wax loving community of the world has needed for a long time.
The Vinyl District is an app for iOS and Android that allows you to locate any record stores in your vicinity and search for stores around the world. It also allows you to connect with other users, check in at stores, leave comments and photos, and leave ‘shouts’. The app uses the GPS function on your smart phone to grab your current location and then gives a list of nearby record stores which can be viewed as a list or as pin drops on a map. By selecting ‘load more’ the app expands the search to a larger diameter giving more results. Directions from your current location are another handy feature that has been included.
When I first installed this app I was expecting it to be limited to the USA, but much to my satisfaction when I first loaded the app it gave me all the stores around Melbourne. Plugging in other cities around the world also yielded results which lead me to believe that this app has quite a world wide focus. The search results from Melbourne bought up every record store that I know of and searches I did of other cities around Australia and the world there was not any stores missing to my knowledge. Based on this the list of stores seems extensive.
The app I also allows you to follow other users in a Twitter like non-reciprocal fashion enabling you to see the shouts and check-info these users. There is also a function which allows you to see a stream of every user’s check-ins and shouts.
The app does not yet seem to be the ability to search for other users, and although it allows you to create a profile using your Facebook or Twitter log-in, and post your shouts and check-ins to your profiles, there is no way to match friends who are also using the app which your list of friends and follows. There is also no link-to web page so the Twitter post just looks like a status update, although the Facebook post does show a map of your location. There is also a small problem with the GPS where it remains on the whole time that you are in the app rather then just switching on and off when required causing a considerable drain on battery life. These however are relatively small things that I’m certain will be rectified as the app is improved through future updates.
I am excited by this app. I really wish I had this when I was in the US last year as Google just doesn’t cut it when you’re in a foreign city as some of the best stores don’t have comprehensive websites. This will make finding the right store much easier which can only be a good thing for record store owners and collectors a like; more then just locals will be able to find stores that are hidden down an ally and around a corner. With full the integration of social networking and hopefully meta data, collectors will be much better informed about what stores all around the world have to offer and which ones will accommodate your tastes.