Sales and distribution...
3-23-09 What is your vision for the sales and distribution of music?
It’s already really sort of falling into place: only the biggest / strongest survive, and anything kooky has to be mail-ordered. And even that isn’t easy / foolproof! What? The November ’08 A Certain Ratio CD “Mind Made Up” is only order-able from Amazon.fr?!? Ever order from Amazon.co.jp? Better have deep pockets, babe.
I always hate it when another record store closes. I was heartbroken at the time that Tower Records closed in the U.S. – it was more than a record store, it was a way of life that I was leading. Have a nice dinner somewhere, then go and look in Tower Hollywood or Sherman Oaks for an hour or so – you might spot something you didn’t know about! L.A. has a few indie stores left – Freakbeat, Record Surplus, Poo Bah’s, CD Trader – but around here really only the giant Amoeba Music is decent with new releases.
I suppose, for myself, I could eventually see mail-ordering everything. Four plus decades of retail therapy, a thing of the past. They’ll have to figure out how to do on-line what stores always used to be able to do: get you to find something else while you were looking for whatever it was you were after. I know Amazon tries to do this – “If you like this title, you will also enjoy…” – but it really isn’t the same.
So, if really the only place locally to look at new releases is Best Buy, Wal Mart, Target et al…yuck. Not much of a future in store for the retail of music.
I also am a tad uptight about some of the music websites I have looked at – Pitchfork, for example. They “know everything”, but not how to write an intelligent review of a re-issue CD by Can. Darn it, I can’t read the Japanese music sites I bookmark…
In L.A., I have a circuit of about 5 stores I can now go to regularly – each with a varying degree of inventory. I also rely on occasional visits to places that are not record stores to get stuff (such as thrift stores, which can be surprisingly interesting). How does one find music outside of a big city? Well, anybody can order from amazon.co.uk et al. I just feel sorry for anybody who wants to look at stuff more closely before shelling out the cash.
Ah, the future…with no artifacts – only ‘files’. Yuck. Pop culture artifacts are amusing, one of the joys of life. How dare the retail sector take that away from us? Or do we take it away from ourselves? Turn off the TV, turn off the radio. Refuse to buy magazines. Do something other than listen to music.
Sorry, I will buy recorded music as long as it is possible. And I’ll read magazines and websites and whatever the hell I want.