Friday, October 06, 2006

Something About You (When You're Shopping For Music)

Tower Records was sold in bankruptcy court today to a company that plans to liquidate it's assets and close the chain's doors. Here's the story from The Chronicle:

Peter Gurfein, an attorney representing Tower Records, said the company will be sold for an aggregate of $150 million, including the sale of various leases and properties.

Gurfein said Great American plans to begin the liquidation process and going out of business sales on Saturday, which eventually will result in the elimination of the jobs of some 3,000 Tower employees.

"This is not an easy decision," said bankruptcy Judge Brendan Shannon, who nevertheless noted that the Tower debtors and other parties had agreed the bidding process was conducted fairly and in good faith.

Tower Records, which has 89 stores in 20 states and owes creditors about $200 million, filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in August. In its filing, the company said it has been hurt by an industrywide decline in music sales, downloading of online music and competition from big-box stores such as Wal-Mart.

: When I first heard the initial doomsday predictions of the demise of physical record stores some ten years ago I assumed they were ridiculous. My friends and I always ended up at record stores when we went out and nothing could replace the thrill of stumbling into unexpected albums and the social experience of shopping for music. Nothing really has and while I enjoy buying things from download services I still prefer to buy albums as cds and I usually end up at my local Tower so I'm really sad to see the chain go because they were the only reasonably priced place to buy music with any real selection in my immediate area. Besides I have many great record buying memories at a number of Towers across the Bay Area and I can even tell you the general character of them; Campbell is generally strong with one of the best electronic sections, Mountain View is the place to go for music related literature and has a good singles selection, Blossom Hill has good imports, Columbus always gets the good band signings (met the Pet Shop Boys there!), Hillsdale & Dublin are just okay and everytime I've been to Stonestown it's been unorganized with a poor selection. It's a sad day, not only for the 3000 people losing jobs, but for music fans in general because when a well run record store can't compete there is something wrong.

As a tribute here is Lifestyle's fantastic "Shopping For Music" which conveys the romance of record shopping much better than I can.


Anonymous said...

It is sad ... One of the most fun things I did when visiting New Orleans several years ago was spend an hour browsing the incredibly deep selection of imports and bargain bin stuff at Tower. I blame the music industry execs who wanted consumers to shell out $17 to $20 for a CD containing one good song.

Daft Monk said...

It's hard not to put the blame on the record execs and unfortunately when the napster thing started Tower actually raised their prices which was the wrong direction to take. I'm really still quite sad about the closing because I have no idea where I'm going to buy my cds. I refuse to buy from mall stores because the selection sucks and Barnes and Noble & Borders are bookstores so they mark their prices way up. Where I live it's twenty minutes and three dollar bridge toll to the nearest indie record store so I'm not feeling too good about my prospects.