Monday, March 30, 2009
The Decline And Fall Of The Music Chain
I've spent a significant amount of money on buying records. Beautiful vinyl albums, deteriorating cassettes and crystal-clear compact discs. Which also means that I've also spent thousands of hours in record stores as well. Many of which are now long gone. Some of the stores I've shopped at: Record World, Square Circle, Tower Records, Mr. Cheapo CD & Record Exchange, The Wiz, Slipped Disc Records, Memory Lane Records, Twisted Disque Limtied, Virgin Megastore, CD Warehouse, Generation Records, Venus De Milo Records, Subterranean Records, Second-Coming Records, CD Island, Entertainment Warehouse, Revolver Records, FYE, Last Vestige Records, Coconuts, Sam Goody...the list goes on.
I still vividly recall my first-time(s) with two stores in particular. I was eleven years old. Oddly enough, both were on very rainy afternoons in the Spring of 1988. The first was Tower Records in Country Glen Center, Carle Place, NY. I was dumbfounded. They had the deepest selection of records I would ever see from a music-chain. I must have spent an hour or so going through everything. They had a huge budget vinyl section. I settled on a vinyl copy of Sting's double-live album Bring On The Night. It was the start of long relationship. That relationship faded over time with Tower's poor-pricing practices, seemingly less-interesting product and the eventual closing of it's doors in December of 2006. The second was at Mr. Cheapo CD & Record Exchange in Mineola, NY. It was also a dumbfounding experience. They had a tremendously diverse and deep section of used vinyl records (and still do). Domestic and import LP's, 12" singles, 7" singles, cassettes and CDs. I spent about a half hour or so thumbing through the 7" singles and settled on a domestic picture-sleeved "Vive Le Rock" singe by Adam Ant. I still am a regular customer of Mr. Cheapo and have been scouring their dollar bins for over twenty-years.
Music retailers have been in decline for about ten years or so. Many people have their own theories as to why. I believe it's a combination of things. A steady decrease in the promotion of good music, too-much reliance on middle of the road cookie-cutter genres which most people tire of, the increase in CD prices, underestimating the importance of MTV and its' turning into a reality-television channel, the very large and competitively-priced Best-Buy and Amazon.com. These are but a few theories as to why these retail-outlets have all but disappeared.