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The continually shifting landscape

Over at the Anime Detour forums, people have been discussing the closing of the last Media Play stores. The ones in the Metro area closed long ago, but evidently the stores in St. Cloud and Fargo hung on a few years longer.

On Friday, Media Play's parent company Musicland filed for bankruptcy, following Tower Records, Wherehouse and a legion of independent music stores into Chapter 11. Chris Anderon's essay names the usual suspects: Walmart, Best Buy, and music downloads, and his commenters go further to point out that the good old days of the mom and pop record store were not always good. Fairly typical is commenter Matt:

I won't especially miss the "cool guy at the local record store" since such "cool guys" typically existed more to laugh at other people's choices than to "turn you on to cool music". Give me an online retailer content to accept my money, dispense music in exchange for it, and leave the condescension at home any day.

I feel kinda sorta sorry for the stockholders and the back-office types who hitched their financial wagons to this dying business model...but no sympathy at all for the formerly-ubiquitous music snobs who stood behind the counter acting superior.

Another commenter notes that shops that sell used CDs are doing just fine, thanks, and I note that we don't see any doom-and-gloom articles about Cheapo, CD Warehouse, or Discland, which are all actually recycled media joints that carry DVDs and video games along with the music....sort of a downscale Borders/Barnes & Noble kind of deal. My personal experience is that I haven't set foot in a record store per se since the Root's place closed - all the music I've bought in the last year or so has been online through half.com, eBay or yourmusic.com; if not there, then at Walmart or Barnes & Noble, usually while I was looking for something else. Ditto with Ed Driscoll and Glenn Reynolds.


Jan. 15th, 2006 06:21 pm (UTC)
It's a matter of simple economics. If you don't have to maintain a bunch of storefronts on high-cost downtown areas, you can slash prices and offer customer rewards programs that your competitors can't. I see that Tower Records has emerged from bankruptcy, but I don't see how, even merged with Musicland, that they could compete successfully.
Jan. 15th, 2006 07:33 pm (UTC)
Well, and the big-box stores have the added advantage of much steeper discounts from publishers and distributors. B&N often has (non-remaindered) items for sale for less than stores like DreamHaven and The Source do.

I just think it's a crappy way to do business.
Jan. 15th, 2006 10:40 pm (UTC)
See my reply to chebutykin. Those places have survived -and, I predict, will continue to survive- because they're more than just stores, they're gathering places for SF/media/comics/gaming geeks. This is more true of the Source than it is of Dreamhaven, which I think badly needs to get some more exposure to the new generation of anime/manga/SF fans than it presently has.
Jan. 15th, 2006 11:02 pm (UTC)
Well, DreamHaven does most of its business in SF/F and collectable books. You can only diversify so much and be able to service it properly.
Jan. 15th, 2006 11:09 pm (UTC)
I'm not saying Dreamhaven needs to diversify; they already have a buttload of manga and comics. They do need to make themselves more visible to the young fans. I've lost count of the number of teenage fans from Minneapolis I've talked to who had no idea that Dreamhaven or Uncle's even existed. That's going to kill them in the long term.
Jan. 16th, 2006 07:17 pm (UTC)
One of the things that I think CONvergence should do on a semi-regular basis is have the "geeks guide to the Twin Cities" as a programming item -- as a way to make people more aware of the Dreamhavens and Uncle Hugos.
Jan. 16th, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC)
That's a damn good idea, and I think I'm going to borrow it for AD.
Jan. 16th, 2006 10:04 pm (UTC)
feel free to do so...



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