Of all the things things the decline of physical CD sales has brought about, we might miss the record store clerk the most. Sure, there were plenty of elitist indie douchebags of the High Fidelity variety, but also passionate music fans trying to help steer people towards music they wouldn’t otherwise have heard. It’s in that spirit that Panel, a new iPhone app, is operating. The $2.99 app gives tastemakers – musicians, producers, record store owners, DJs, music writers and more, a forum to share music. Each week, a different tastemaker will stream two albums, giving commentary and featuring interviews.
The service definitely seems a little more in the indie rock world right now, but producer Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Isis, Minus the Bear) is listed as a participant, and the work he’s done on Mastodon’s first three albums alone is enough for me to take notice. Panel is not going to completely replicate the record store clerk (shout out to Philly’s Third Street Jazz and Rock!), but considering the most advice from employees you’ll usually get while buying records is “the CD section is between household appliances and TVs,” this service might be worth trying.