Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Incredible Shrinking Music Stores

I had to stop at the neighborhood Borders to pick up a couple copies of that new Dan Zanes kid disc for a couple upcoming birthdays, so I perused the bins a bit and came out with:

Al Green: Lay It Down
Ryan Adams and The Cardinals: Cold Roses
Son Volt: The Search

The Al Green I have obviously been toying with and the Ryan Adams, well that is a whole other post (still!), but the Son Volt is another story. I first looked for some Uncle Tupelo--Anodyne specifically on the recs of the good readers here. The only UT was an Anthology. Always a bit suspicious of "best of" albums I passed. So over to Son Volt although I had no real plan here. Not to worry there was one choice and I mean one--so into the collection it went.

That was the successful part of the exploring as next I would go over to the jazz section--and I use the term "section" loosely. This particular Borders is pretty new and for a while had a pretty good selection of music including jazz and classical. However about a month ago they "consolidated" and the music section went to about half its size and you can imagine what is going to suffer in that equation. It is little wonder given the options out there for getting music, and so that is where I end this, with a question.

Where do you get your tunes? Best shopping options including downloading (I guess)--although it was hard enough for me to go from albums to discs--I am not sure I can ever make the complete switch to not having a case, liner notes, etc. to fondle while listening to a new disc for the first time.


Lisa B. said...

Around here, the big tragedy was the loss of Orion Records with the Sugar House "redevelopment." There are independent music stores, but most of them are a little too groovy for me, which makes me sad. Actually, the Orion people were also a tad unfriendly to the middle-aged, I felt. Still, I went, mainly because you could buy jazz, and because it was independent, and just because.

Now I do the following: borrow, download, buy from Amazon, especially used copies, buy from Target, buy from Graywhale (occasionally). Remember, cps, the goal is to *hear the music.* It is sad, the passing of the old formats, but hearing the music can still happen. Plus, the whole internet is now your liner notes!

Lisa B. said...

one more thing: cultivate the friendship of forward- and backward-thinking young people, who can always hook you, and your iPod, up. I think this is the real reason I had so many kids--between them all and their diverse tastes, I get to hear a lot of interesting music.

Lisa B. said...

sorry, one more thing: when travelling, I try to make a stop in any promising music stores--Portland and Seattle are awesome in this regard, also Berkeley.

CPS said...

Yeah, I can't really complain--there are a lot worse cities to be in for music buying (although when our massive Tower which really had a spectacular selection closed, I sniffled a bit). And I do love how much I can find out about music on the Internets--although sometimes I force myself to not research things as sometimes I end up not experimenting--and I take your advice only after having read about a certain poet printing off a ream of work so she could move it around on a flat surface! (-;

We are working on the kid angle, but as you can tell, they are only exposing us to certain types of music at this point.

dr said...

Or local borders (store #1) has very good selections of jazz and classical, so that's where I'm likely to go for new cds in those genres. For other genres, it's pretty much amazon for new cds.

Now, if we're talking LPs, new or used, then I've got some options. There are three pretty good record shops in the downtown/campus area.

I think the future of brick and mortar retail lies with hybrid new/used shops that sell some cds and some vinyl. Used vinyl especially can be a draw, because the shop can have out of print titles that you aren't going to find on the internet. For example, the other day I picked up a Chet Atkins record (progressive pickin') that, as near as I can tell, has never been released on cd.

CPS said...

Rolling Stone just reported a slight up-tick in vinyl sales which is interesting. However, I have to say that I doubt the direction will be anything serious other than more and more digitized music,more singles as opposed to albums (I remind myself that this isn't horrible since it is how this whole business started out) and less and less hands on product--well, until the apocalypse and then the dude with the phonograph will be king again!

Chris Diller said...

Whoops! I go out of town for a week and CPS has been busy as a beaver.

I'm in my confessional now so I can say that I still buy from a music club! Yup! BMG. When I buy discs. But Ituns a plenty, especially as my older daughter, Elena, is all over that website.

Craig, I read some of the same fodder on the uptick of albums and I actually believe it. No, it won't replace cut and paste, but I think others (at least of our, ahem, ge ge ge generation miss the full monty of cover art, liner notes, etc.). Discs, actually, seem like a compromise between the two media.

Two cents.