IMHO: A big reason music sales have slumped

I was driving down the street the other day when I passed an old closed down indy music store. It was a place I used to LOVE going to. It was packed with CD’s, had really obscure stuff, sold new vinyl releases, the whole shot.

I could literally go into the store and spend hours browsing. I spent a lot of money (and time) there over the years and a realize how much I miss it.

Most of these indy stores have all gone out of business. Even many of the bigger mall music store chains have gone out of business. About the only place you can buy physical music now are the big box retailers. Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart etc. And they only tend to stock the really the popular stuff. Nothing obscure, no back catalog, no deep genre stock, nothing real shocking. So now where the hell am I supposed to go to get excited about buying music?

I know that you are saying the online stores like iTunes and Yahoo Music, and yes, I do like purchasing online, but it’s just not the same. Thumbing through CD’s at your local store just cannot be replicated at the computer. Spending a couple hours searching through racks of music used to be a fun pastime. Grab some CD’s, open one up and listen to it on the car ride home. That got me excited about music, and it was another leisure activity. Now that I don’t have that option, I spend far less money on music. I use a subscription service ( Yahoo Music Unlimited ) and it works well, but the industry is only getting my $16 a month or so. Compare that to the $100 a month they used to get.

I can’t imagine that I’m the only one who feels this way, or the only one whose purchasing habits have changed so dramatically. It’s just a shame to me that there’s not a similar experience that the younger generation could have. Who knows, maybe someday music stores will sprout up again with interactive searching kiosks, listening stations, and the ability to buy the digital tracks you want delivered right there on the spot to a burned DVD or something. It could happen, but I’m not holding my breath.

Now I just shake my head whenever the music industry claims that the entire downturn is due to piracy. There are a lot of reasons. The death of the indy music store is one of them.