Friday, December 24, 2010

Record Shop R.I.P

A thoughtful article from Gordon Campbell on, subtitled "A few seasonal thoughts on the demise of ye olde record store".

Starts off with the usual grim declining dales figures for music sales (and falling sales for CD/DVD at both The Warehouse and JB Hifi), but then gets into some fascinating comments from some record store owners like Slowboat's Dennis O'Brien, and Mark Thomas, manager of Real Groovy Wellington.

"... These days, second hand sales form an increasing part of the store’s business and core identity. Which is? Well, Thomas explains… the niche identity of Real Groovy Wellington doesn’t strike him as deriving so much anymore from it being an alternative music store, though he sees that as still being the image that the Auckland store continues to project He sees his own operation primarily as a pop/rock record store with a strength in second hand sales, and offering with the full range of cultural products – t-shirts, flags, books, CDs, videogames, DVDs and Blu-Ray. Unit sales in DVDs and Blu-Ray are up, he says as an aside, but the profit margins are slimmer.

Going back to the shop’s re-positioning on the pop/rock centre ground ….that’s mainly because, he says people who like certain other subgenres these days – alternative music, hip hop and r'n'b – are mainly getting their music via downloads. Leaving him by default with pop/rock, jazz, country and world music."

Also interesting to see that one of the keys to Slowboat's survival is that 15 years ago, the owner bought the building, so is not paying rent. ”As things are right now, I couldn’t afford it if I was paying $2,000-3,000 a week in rent. We couldn’t survive. Pure and simple,” says O'Brien.

Read the full article here.

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