Tower Records, the once mighty record chain, is bankrupt and will be sold off in pieces. Podcasting News says Digital music, Wal-Mart kill Tower Records but it was Amazon too. The easy search at Amazon makes buying easy. You can’t do that thumbing through the CD racks at a store
Unless, maybe, they have listening stations, a huge selection, knowledgeable staff, live shows, and lots of CDs displayed with written description of what the music is about – then the store can attract customers in a big way.
Amoeba Music, who has stores in Berkeley, San Francisco, and Hollywood, does this. The Hollywood store is mammoth, it’s at least the size of the nearby Virgin mega-store. Amoeba has everything, all genres, too. Plus, they sell used CDs, and buy them at reasonable prices.
Since Amoeba opened the Hollywood store, two venerable long-time music stores, Aron’s and Rhino, have gone out of business. Both were great stores, however the deciding factor was, I think, that Amoeba Hollywood physically has 10-20 times more CDs for sale than the others did.
So, a store like Amoeba will survive because they understand digital, offer a huge selection, and make the stores fun to be in. But long-run, Podcasting News is right. Digital killed the record store. Sure, Wal-Mart may sell a zillion CDs, but they have limited selection of manicured mainstream music. You’ll not find death metal, or Steve Roach, or probably not even Steve Earle there. For a genuinely huge selection from all manner of artists and genres, you need an Amazon, an Amoeba, or digital.
Plus, with digital and the web, you can release your own music. Steve Roach, while not well-known to the general public, has released dozens of CDs in the ambient, tribal, electronic, and soundscape genres. His website lists them, and I bet he makes a pretty good living off the site too.
The Net (and digital) allows all sorts of creativity to flourish that might not have existed at all without it.