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May 16, 2008, 3:16pm

Guess what? Illegal downloading is not only killing music, it’s also contributing to the death of the small independent record shop. Yes, we know, boo-hoo. But before you shed a tiny tear, consider this: London’s Soho once teemed with weird boltholes run by insanely knowledgable freaks where you could buy the craziest music. Where you can do that these days, except in those Record & Tape Exchanges that smell of sweat and despair? Answer me that. Anyway, a new exhibition by photographer Spencer Murphy aims to document the passion and personality of what remains of Soho’s record shops and their owners. Are they on the verge of extinction? Well, they don’t look too happy, do they? See selected photos after the jump…

* Independent: A Celebration of Soho’s Independent Record Shops opens today at 63 Broadwick Street, London W1 and runs until May 24.