Death of a Record Store

Here's another of the voices rarely heard when talking about music and downloading...

someone who used to run a record store.

In this case, it's a couple of guys who started a store in New York City in the 90s. They thought they if they worked hard, and made sure their staff could respond to both the average listener and the ones looking for something special, they had a shot. 

It had been a going concern through the 90s, but
their record store is gone now. Closed. Defunct.
Out of business.

What do these music lovers have to say about their experience and the cause of its demise?

"The sad thing is that CDs and downloads could have coexisted peacefully and profitably. The current state of affairs is largely the result of shortsightedness and boneheadedness by the major record labels and the Recording Industry Association of America, who managed to achieve the opposite of everything they wanted in trying to keep the music business prospering. The association is like a gardener who tried to rid his lawn of weeds and wound up killing the trees instead.

In the late ’90s, our business, and the music retail business in general, was booming. Enter Napster, the granddaddy of illegal download sites. How did the major record labels react? By continuing their campaign to eliminate the comparatively unprofitable CD single, raising list prices on album-length CDs to $18 or $19 and promoting artists like the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears — whose strength was single songs, not albums. The result was a lot of unhappy customers, who blamed retailers like us for the dearth of singles and the high prices.

The recording industry association saw the threat that illegal downloads would pose to CD sales. But rather than working with Napster, it tried to sue the company out of existence — which was like thinking you’ve killed all the roaches in your apartment because you squashed the one you saw in the kitchen. More illegal download sites cropped up faster than the association’s lawyers could say “cease and desist.”

...read the rest of this ear-opening tale from 2007
the New York Times

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