Monday, August 28, 2006

Tower Records file for bankruptcy...again.

Tower Records is filing for bankruptcy, for the second time in the last two years. The Yahoo article tries to place most of the blame for the decline in the music retail industry on digital music downloads; while others are not giving digital downloads that much credit. I think the biggest problem is the price of cds, mixed with a lack of really great artists.

I have been to Tower Records one time in my life, basically because there isn’t one within 1000 miles of me, I noticed that most of the cd prices were $14 to $15 per cd. I won’t spend that much money on a cd. When you can buy a complete album on iTunes for $9.99, I can see many buying there rather than a record store. But prices, not iTunes, are the downfall of the music business. When a cd only cost about a dollar to produce, you should be able to sell it to me for less than $15.

Wal-Mart is certainly not helping record stores, because they are willing to take a loss on their cds because when they get you through their doors, they will trick you into buying something else. I do most of my cd shopping on Amazon because it is very convenient and you can find some good used cds che-ee-eap. I also love Target and Best Buy, but even they sometimes have too high cd prices.

Bratch loves the download. He loves being able to download and listen to it within minutes. That is cool, but I have always been the kind who wants the cd case. I want the cd booklet. I want to smell the paper and read the lyrics. I guess I am just old fashioned. Of course, if I just want a single or two, I will definitely download, but an album has to be physical and cheap.

I also believe that a lack of great artists is a big reason for the downfall of the music retail industry. There aren’t that many artists out there who I run right out and pick up. I now bide my time and wait to find a cheap used cd. I used to rush out on Tuesdays and buy cds, but there hasn’t been a cd worth the rush in a few years, it seems.

The retail business doesn’t want to hear this, but the only way to get people to buy cds is to lower your prices. You may have to work out some sort of deal with the artists to avoid losing money, but low prices equal high sales. They could at least start out by pricing every cd at $9.99 or less to keep up with iTunes. As for sales of singles, let iTunes have that part of the business, unless you can keep cd singles at the $.99 range and perhaps include a couple of bonus songs. I’m sure that it not as easy as it seems, but you would think someone would at least try it before there are no more record stores.

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