Monday, July 16, 2018

The End of the Record Shop?

by Alethea (writer), Los Angeles, November 06, 2006


If you have driven anywhere by a Tower records recently, you’ve seen the huge yellow signs plastered everywhere declaring their going-out-of-business sale. That’s right. The whole Tower chain is closing down.

The Great American Group (a sort of business consulting company) won out Trans World Entertainment in an auction over Tower Records. Trans World anticipated trying to upkeep several stores nationwide, but lost to Great American by a bid increment of $5,000. Tower Records was eventually sold at $134.3 million.

So what does the future hold for Tower Records now? It appears to be liquidation. Stores nationwide are closing down and putting up their “for sale” signs. Out of curiosity, I entered in to my local Tower Records store to find it more crowded than I ever had before, a last rush of people to take advantage of the sales. However, looking around it seemed a much more solemn place than I had remembered it before. It just looked empty. It no longer brimmed with the cocky record store attitude it once had before. I bought several CDs and left, not sure if I was ready for one of the last records store chains to close, but not sure if I was going to miss it either.

What did Tower in? Some could say it’s the super cheap priced mega-stores that carry everything, from furniture to clothes to music. They don’t offer much in terms of variety but you can find mainstream CDs at super cheap imported prices. Others may say it was the age of the internet. There’s no room for record stores when there’s Ipods, MP3 players, internet radio stations, burning, ripping and borrowing music files. Even if there’s no album artwork, it sure beats paying 18.99 for a CD that you can’t listen to before you buy. Doesn’t it?

Other stores, the Wherehouse and Sam Goody, have met similar fates to Tower Records. Will other stores like the Virgin Megastore or Amoeba also meet a similar end? Will record stores turn into the equivalent of old book stores carrying a variety of unwanted, technological outdated titles? The world may be ready to thrust out the old record stores in turn for their internet ease, but I don’t think they’ll find an online cultural equivalent to such a place by far.

About the Writer

Alethea is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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