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The Food Trailers of Austin

Posted by hotchips on May 15, 2011

As anyone who’s been living in Austin for the past 5 or so years has seen, there’s been an explosion in the number of food trailers around the area. With clever and playful titles like Coat and Thai, Flip Happy Crepes, and Kebabalicious , colorful signs, and the ever-so noticeable tin trailer glinting in the sunlight, it’s a small wonder why these trailers have permeated the Austin atmosphere and most importantly, fit right in.

Even though I’m an Austinite myself, I can’t really say (can anyone?) when these trailers first started to pop up all along the downtown area, but I remember the first such trailer I saw was Flip Happy Crepes, near South Lamar and Barton Springs Road. I initially thought that these were small temporary food stands made for some charity purpose, but with the arrival of such hits like Hey Cupcake! and most recently, G’Raj Mahal, I soon came to realize that these trailers were here to stay.

What made these trailers so appealing? I originally had somewhat of an aversion to these, as I thought they were more flashy and less of quality that other more traditional restaurants. A cupcake from Hey Cupcake, bratwurst from Best Wurst, and a doughnut from Gourdough’s instantly changed my mind. I have now grown to love the food trailers around Austin, as being an essential (and thankfully eccentric) part of the city. As anyone who’s been to ACL or any big day event downtown, food trailers serve as vital food supply stops, and most have pretty flexible times, that is from mid-morning to sundown. If you’re looking for some, most trailers tend to congregate all up and down South Lamar, 1st Street, South Congress, and the Barton Springs Road area; though driving anywhere around town will yield some results.

So what are you all’s opinions here on the food trailers of Austin? Any memorable cuisines or especially excellent places to share? And what do you think is the future for these brave happy little businesses?  

Here’s the best to the food trailers of Austin!

Some great links to check out:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=food+trailers+austin&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&oe=&um=1&hl=en&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&wrapid=tlif130550122017610&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=vl  (Map of many food trailers in the Austin area)

http://www.foodtrailersaustin.com/       (A guide to Austin food trailers, food carts, food trucks and any other mobile eatery that graces Austin, Texas. Find a quick summary of trailers, their location, hours menu, prices and even directions)

Posted in Uncategorized | 24 Comments »

CDs versus Online Music Stores

Posted by hotchips on April 7, 2011

It’s perhaps the most prevalent controversry in the music industry today: the fight between CDs and Online Music Stores (which I will refer to simply as iTunes because it’s the main titan in the online industry) to gain the money of vitually anyone who listens to music. In the past, (since the late 70s – Billy Joel’s 52nd Street was the first album to be released on CD in 1978) CDs or vinyl records were virtually the only means of buying music released by artists. People were able to make tape recordings of their favorite songs, but even those recordings had to have come from records bought at a store.

Billy Joel's album 52nd street, the first album released by CD in 1978

Online music stores first began to make a public appearance with the advent of such groups like the Internet Underground Music Archive, the first public online music store created by three students in California in 1993. Ironically, the goal of this store was “of providing a venue for unsigned artists to share their music and communicate with their audience” by giving their music more publicity. The rest of the article can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Underground_Music_Archive

Within a few years the online music industry had grown sustantially from the early successes of groups like the UIMA that spurred the creation of other companies like Napster in 1999 and finally iTunes in 2001. At its peak in 2001, there were as many as 1.5 million people simultaneously sharing worldwide by using Napster’s software, and Napster had embedded in the consciousness of consumers the idea of downloading songs from the Internet—bypassing the purchase of established distribution forms, such as records, tapes, or CDs. By 2006 Apple had sold more than 100 million iPods, and more than 2 billion songs had been downloaded from the iTunes Store, with all of the songs paid for and the royalties returned to record companies and artists, a problem that got Napster shut down in 2001.

The number of Internet users paying for digital music increased by just over 8 million in 2008 to 36 million Internet users; purchases of online digital music downloads increased by 29 percent since last year, accounting for 33 percent of all music tracks purchased in the U.S. The predictable inverse effect of this is the decline of about 17 million CD buyers in 2008;  it is interesting to note that the main groups of people more likely to download music are teenagers and adults over 50.

It may not be safe to say yet that online music downloads through sites like iTunes are society’s most popular way to attain music yet, but the statistics certainly show that online music store sales are increasing at an exponential rate as CD sales steadily decline. There are many social and economic reasons for the rise of online music stores though. One is price; on iTunes, most full albums come at around $10, with usually $0.99 songs (though lately they’ve increased it to $1.99 with most popular or new songs, what’s up with that?!?). Most albums in music stores cost anywhere from $12-$18, and unlike online stores which offer single songs and “download exclusive” songs, CD albums come with all the songs; you pay more to get more. Also there is perhaps the largest factor: convenience. In today’s busy world, most people, no matter how attractive CDs may be in there physical format, would rather make a quick download of a favorite song via iTunes and recieve the song quicker than going out to a music store to purchase the full album. The only area in which the two camps seem tied is in selection; online music stores are still working to increase their numbers of artists, almost ALL artists release albums via CDs and records. Plus many  artists who are too small or not popular enough choose to release albums and never make it to iTunes; that’s a whole world of music delegated to CDs and music stores that the online music stores simply overlook.

In the future, I have no doubt that online music stores will completely dominate the music industry (whether this is a good or bad thing I am not saying, as well as if they aren’t dominating it already), but I also believe that there will still be a devoted following to buying music in tangible formats like CDs and records; there is something about owning CDs and being able to handle them and pass them on that digital music simply can’t ever have the feel of.

In addition, here are some interesting links concerning the music industry situation:

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1425043/media-convergence/275464/Music-industry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_music_store

Posted in Music, Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

 
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