The Fall of the Record Store

Alexandria, VA resident Lisette Murphy looks through the manyCDs in the soul section of Sam Goody at Pentagon City for aparticular album reminiscent of her younger years.”The otherday I was listening to the radio and I heard an En Vogue song Iused to listen to in college and I had to find the CD.”

Murphy eventually finds the CD of choice; EnVogue’s Born To Sing and approaches the cash register.”Yeah I could get the song off of the computer, but there isgreater satisfaction in finding it in the store.”

Unlike Murphy, many people are turning to thealternative of downloading, which has led many music retailers tosearch for new ways to attract customers back to stores.

According to the Recording IndustryAssociation of America, the downloading of music can result in a 40percent loss of sales for a music retailer, which has caused manyretailers to close stores. Entire chains have even been shut down,which also means higher prices for consumers who continue to shopin music retail stores.

The National Association of RecordingMerchandisers’ board of directors recently approved thecreation of two task forces: an In-Store CD-Burning Task Force anda Dual-Disc Task Force.

“This move responds to ourmembers’ strong desire for industry segments to work moreclosely on exploring new formats to replace the maturing CD, andexploiting the potential of new technologies to positivelytransform the music retailing landscape,” said David Schlang,chairman, National Association of Recording Merchandisers.

Some music stores themselves are also takingon the task of bouncing back from the impact that downloading hason the music store. Sam Goody has made up for its losses bypromoting the sale of items other than music. In its stores, as inother music retail chains, they also sell posters, DvDs, magazinesand food items. The chain also offers digital downloads on theirsites.

“The music store is still a viableoption. There is a future as an entertainment destination, but wehave to fit the new technologies in,” said Laurie Bauer,spokesperson, Musicland Group, Inc., the company that owns SamGoody and Media Play. “If it’s done legally, it canhave a positive impact.”