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Flashback Friday: Record Stores

by Sean P. Aune | February 8, 2013February 8, 2013 11:00 pm PST

Flashback FridayIt’s time to face facts: If you run a company that lives primarily on selling physical media, your days are numbered.

Blockbuster Video is closing more stores. HMV in the U.K. is bankrupt and closing 66 stores. Things are not good in the world of physical media, but I am primarily here to discuss music stores.

Tower Records, Musicland, Sam Goody, Camelot Music. All stores I shopped at in my rampant music buying teenage years. You see, I had a wee bit of a music… “problem.” I spent a small fortune on music. First it was cassette tapes. Then it was CDs. I was a music buying fiend. And then the MP3 and online shopping came along.

“You mean I never have to leave the house and the music will come to me? Where do I sign up?”

While I continued to buy CDs for some time, I couldn’t tell you the last time I bothered going that route. Heck, I hardly buy music any more thanks to the likes of services such as Pandora, but when I do, I just use Amazon’s MP3 store. Music is then in my possession within minutes. Why should I jump in my car, head out into the world and go to an actual store when it’s all at my fingertips?

I’ve gone to England twice over the past two years, and on both trips I browsed in HMV locations just out of idle curiosity. And as much as it pained me, I could see the writing on the wall. There was massive stacks of DVD boxed sets priced attractively, but at the same time I could just head back home – if I lived in the U.K. – and fire up my computer or Internet connected TV and watch those same shows streaming to me without cluttering up my life with physical discs.

There were racks and racks of compact discs, and while I saw a few people browsing, I didn’t really see anyone purchasing anything. I walked out, and popped in my earbuds attached to my 160GB iPod Classic.

Face it folks, even if HMV comes out of bankruptcy, isn’t it just a matter of time before these bastions of a bygone medium leave the retail landscape completely? I don’t want to see any company go out of business, it’s never a good thing. I encourage all companies in these postions to find something, anything to save themselves, but if they don’t do it soon, they will end up going the way of Tower Records.

Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...