Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

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THEHORN
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Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by THEHORN » Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:44 am

Many people have been mourning the loss of record stores everywhere,and the demise of Tower and other big chain stores for recordings,although some independent stores still exist.
I can understand this, and always loved to go to Tower etc.
But now,with websites such as arkivmusic.com for classical CDs and DVDs online, there is no record store which could ever offer such a huge selection to choose from,unless it were the size of the Pentagon!
The Tower records on Long Island I used to frequent had an excellent classical department with a wide variety of repertoire to choose from,including plenty of interesting rarities. But look at the incredible selection at arkivmusic,and how easy it is to look for anything and get it!
It's like being the proverbial kid in a candy store. You can find virtually anything by any composer or performer,including all kinds of things which are very hard to find elsewhere. Let's be grateful for what the internet has done for classical CD collectors.

maestrob
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by maestrob » Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:05 am

I'm grateful, yes, for internet CD selling, but I miss browsing and discovering in stores discs I nknew nothing about: I have so many wonderful acquisitions picked up this way just by browsing at random (especially historic issues).

josé echenique
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by josé echenique » Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:11 am

And sometimes even with Amazon or JPC it can take months before they get your cds. Nothing compares with the happiness of leaving a store with two dozen cds in several bags.

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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by Jared » Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:22 am

I think that technological progress has benefitted us tremendously in this regard, however its not without its drawbacks. Amazon & ebay have between them caused the retail prices online to fall significantly from even 5 years ago, meaning that those of us on limited income yet with a capacious appetite for new music ( :oops: :roll: ) can make our pound stretch much further.

That said, we now do everything in isolation, from a keyboard, which isn't entirely a good thing. I have a favourite 2nd hand classical music shop on the other side of the country (I daren't tell Darren where it is!! :lol: ) where the choice is fabulous, the shop owner very knowledgable, and the fellow browsers generally very polite, enthusiastic and helpful... you don't just come away with an armful of new music, you come away with an experience... a rare opportunity for me to meet others who can impart knowledge and suggest recordings over a coffee...

frankly, I wish I had more of that in my life.. :(

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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by Guitarist » Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:33 am

It's much harder to simply browse on the internet. Oh, how I miss happily flipping through discs in Tower's bins. Thank heavens for Amoeba Music and Rasputin's. In fact, I went to the Amoeba in SF today and bought a few goodies.
Last edited by Guitarist on Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

ChrisX
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by ChrisX » Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:43 am

I sit on both sides of the fence when it comes to this matter: I really like the fact that I can order almost anything I am interested in at a very very good price. But on the other hand I really love shop browsing especially when you have the opportunity to listen to discs at your own pace. Furthermore, in order to prevent import or sales tax I don't order multiple discs at once from one source and certainly not the bigger boxsets. As some of you know I not only listen to classical but have a voracious appetite for a lot of pop, rock and electronic music. In that field nowadays we get quite elaborate reissues like for instance this week Paul McCartney's Band On The Run multi-disc set + hardbound book. For those reissues I tend to order them through my favourite independent recordstore doing my bit to ensure he still has a nice business.

I wouldn't mind the situation becoming some sort of status quo right now provided the number of good recordstores doesn't dwindle into the lower numbers. I am lucky I have a good classical store quite close by (but they are way too pricey most of the times) and another for my other musical endeavours as well. Last time I was in London (autumn 2007) I noticed that a lot of the shops I used to visit in the past were all dead and gone, so I am quite curious if the situation has deteriorated even more when I will be back there end of november.
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John F
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by John F » Sat Nov 06, 2010 3:58 pm

Yes, we do, and bookstores too. I want to see and handle what I buy before I buy it, as part of the decision whether to buy it or not.
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by stenka razin » Sat Nov 06, 2010 4:49 pm

John F wrote:Yes, we do, and bookstores too. I want to see and handle what I buy before I buy it, as part of the decision whether to buy it or not.

Agreed, m8......But, I am forced to purchase on the web, because my local B&N and Borders are totally useless music wise and have a pathetic stock as far as classical CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays are concerned. :(
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StephenSutton
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by StephenSutton » Sat Nov 06, 2010 5:34 pm

Well, so far as B&N and Borders are concerned, like HMV in Britain, as a customer I find them totally uselss, and as a label owner, I find them - fairly useless. If not mainstream, they won't stock, so no-one discovers new music or performances, the selection dwindles further and another shop decides that classical is not worth stocking at all..

I used to love browsing my local record store (Windows in Newcastle) in the days of LP when there were lots of interesting specials, deletions and imports. As soon as CD arrived, I went to mail order then to internet buying.. so now I send any spare time browsing the oldies at the Last Vestige Record Store in Saratoga Springs...
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Fergus
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by Fergus » Sat Nov 06, 2010 5:44 pm

StephenSutton wrote:Well, so far as B&N and Borders are concerned, like HMV in Britain, as a customer I find them totally uselss, and as a label owner, I find them - fairly useless. If not mainstream, they won't stock, so no-one discovers new music or performances, the selection dwindles further and another shop decides that classical is not worth stocking at all..
That, I must admit, has largely been my experience of retail shopping in recent years. The stock in local retail outlets has long since fallen short of my needs and interest. There was a very good guy many years ago in my local Tower outlet who was very knowledgable and had very good recommendations but he has long since departed and with him, I am afraid, my custom. I am quite happy to browse and buy on-line.

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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by Lance » Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:13 pm

Yes, I miss shoping the stores as well. New York, Boston, Washington, Atlanta and Toronto did much for me in the days of LPs and subsequently with CDs. I was much younger then—in the days of LPs—and I met a lot of interesting people who shared the "art" of collecting. Making discoveries of artists or repertoire that you didn't know or admire was one of the good things about getting out and about. However, sites such as CMG also create some great friendships. Being older now, there is some comfort in not having to worry about driving in the snow (saving gasoline $$$), parking (in NYC particularly) and coming out and finding an expensive traffic ticket on your windshield. In buying online, one can listen to music and simultaneously shop online and have your purchases in just a couple days. We can also shop the world, as it were ... and get things from places we never imagined we would be visiting. In that end, I have also made many friends just by shopping online. So, there is good and bad with the demise of record shops. Insofar as the major mega-stores such as B&N and Borders, my last visits there over the past few years has seen me leave their stores with nothing in hand. (They cannot begin to meet Amazon's pricing structures.) In some cases, we can avoid paying sales taxes, and when one orders enough, we can sometimes avoid postal fees by ordering online. Amazon's third party sellers often allow us to get some exceptional bargains until you add the postal fees for CDs or books. In some cases I may order two or three CDs from the same third party supplier and pay almost $9 for shipping ($2.98 per order). Then they all arrive in the same package for the same shipping fee I would have paid for one disc. This practice seems unfair. Insofar as sales taxes are concerned, Amazon, as an example, now charges New Yorkers the full amount of sales tax (county and state tax) even though Amazon does not have a place of business in the state. For years, buying online waived sales taxes if the business did not maintain an actual location within the state. Naturally, the state takes a huge hit with highly reduced revenues derived from these taxes. Then again, states such as New York already pay among the highest taxes in the nation. It was interesting to observe that the county I live in—Broome County, New York—is rated as No. 23 out of 3,300 counties in the USA making us part of the TOP 1% in the nation. We also have the reputation of having the highest electrical rates in the USA—residential or commercial. Manufacturing and general business has declined enormously in the last 20 years while taxes have continued to rise substantially. I know that Amazon was legally fighting the New York State tax issues but never discovered how they made out with it. Sorry to get on this soapbox!
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:22 am

I just walk thru City Hall Park across the street and I am at J+R in less than five minutes, bliss... :D
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Harold Tucker
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by Harold Tucker » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:16 am

I miss the excitement of the hunt and the thrill of the find. Certainly, pointing and clicking is easier. But it is also and easier way to the poor house. And, my house is beginning to track the attention of those folks who do TV shows about clutter and hoarding.

josé echenique
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by josé echenique » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:44 am

I miss so much the Tower Records Classical annex in Sunset Boulevard in L.A. In the heyday of the cd they had a huge, huge selection, especially of opera. I spent a lot of money in that store.
In the Avenue des Champs Elysées in Paris the Virgin Megastore opposite the FNAC were heaven for cd collectors, now both greatly diminished, are only ghosts of their former glory.
But saddest of all is the disappearance of the great record stores in London...who would have known... :cry:

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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by Ted Quanrud » Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:25 pm

I so miss Rose Records on South Wabash in Chicago's Loop. Huge stock, knowledgeable staff, it was a mecca for midwest record collectors.

On the other hand, I love the Internet and the availability of so many more offerings, albeit with no expert advice.
'
Given a choice, I would reluctantly opt for the present, rather than the past.

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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by rogch » Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:38 am

Since i live in a small town i can't really say i need record stores here. I buy most of my music on the internet, not only classical. It is very unlikely that the kind of record shop i want will come back in this town, the ones that exist are of little interest. I actually buy more films in them than CDs. It can be different in big cities. There we can still find some expert retailers with plenty of records to choose from and expert advice. But in Norway we don't find too many of these stores and the prices are often stiff. And frankly i don't always trust the staff either. Norway is almost a developing country when it comes to knowledge about classical music. There are knowledgeable people of course, but often they do not work in record stores in the capital Oslo. And the radio stations? My god, where do they find these people?

It is different in big cities abroad of course. In Berlin i found a huge classical record store, with own departments for early music, modern music, opera, DVDs etc. To buy records in shops is of course more charming than to buy them over the internet. So i will definitely say that we need shops like this one and smaller specialist shops. But unfortunately there will be fewer of them. The record shops we are left with we often don't need.
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JackC
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by JackC » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:18 pm

I fondly remember shopping for LPs and then CDs in the Harvard Coop. When I traveled to NYC I used to go to Tower down near Broadway and 9th, which was near where a close friend of mine lived. I felt so deprived in Boston.

When Tower opened in Boston it was fantastic. I used to love taking the T down Mass Ave and spending an afternoon or evening just going through all the bins. It felt as if the entire catalogue was there. I always spent way too much money, but it was great to take them home and play them right away.

Of course, nowdays there is even greater selection and available online and I can get virtually anything I want sitting here at my desk. At lunch I often go online and order something that strikes my fancy.

I too, if I had to choose, would opt for the current system over the old days. Still, for some reasons, despite how amazing online purchasing is, it was a bigger thrill going to Tower.

Beckmesser
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by Beckmesser » Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:49 pm

What's a record store?

No, seriously folks, I miss them, too.

Back in the days when Tower Records had its store near Lincoln Center I would pop in every time I attended a concert or opera. I would check out the new releases and browse through the bins. I invariably walked out of there with several CDs, sometimes a whole stack.

I am buying far fewer recordings these days. Somehow I never took up on-line shopping in a serious way. I leave that to my wife.

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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by Donaldopato » Tue Nov 09, 2010 6:57 pm

Since there are no decent record stores here in KCMO now, I do miss them. I wish I had one.

I worked in the classical section of a record store in Urbana, Illinois during college. I learned a ton from customers and met Ian Hobson and William Warfield. A frequent customer, a professor of Geology, was an enthusiast and regaled me with tales of hearing Rachmaninoff, Kreisler, Toscanini, Koussevitzky, Callas, Gigli, Ponselle, etc. I still regard him as my classical music mentor.

While frequenting a store in St Louis, I talked to a fellow who was in the percussion section in the world premiere of Britten's War Requiem and got Leonard Slatkin to autograph some CDs. I still correspond via email and Facebook with a fellow I met browsing the classical bins at our local shop years ago.

Thus I think we could use the wonderful actual contact with fellow collectors and as some of said the opportunity to "feel the merchandise".

But, in my case, the only good selection is at online sources, and I have to rely on my friends here to recommend and tell tales of great artists and performances.
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by stenka razin » Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:24 pm

New York City, way back when..............I really, really miss:


1-The Record Hunter-5th Avenue off 42nd St.-Always a very good selection and fair prices.

2-Discophile-Greenwich Village-W. 8th St.-For fine imports and pirated recordings and high prices.
Remember Albert ten Brink? :wink:

3-Sam Goody-All over the NYC metropoltan area-Excellent selection and good sales and prices.
Remember Sam Goody, himself! :wink:

4-Korvettes-Everywhere in the NYC metropolitan area-Fabulous and very large classical section and great sales and prices.


That was then and it was LP heaven for me.


Sadly those days are gone forever :( :( :( :( .................Memories, fond memories...... :D :D :D :D


Regards,
Mel 8)


P.S. One store remains.............J&R........Thank heavens for them! 8)

Anyone remember Kenn Harris, the opera guy, from the gone but not forgotten J&R Classical annex?
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by HoustonDavid » Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:31 pm

I, apparently like many here, have given up on record stores as a source for my
collecting. The only source for new classical music (or jazz, or anything else) is
now Barnes & Noble or Best Buy. Their prices are higher than Amazon, generally
speaking, and the selection is incomparably smaller, for very good reason.

I think the nostalgia for record stores - and I understand it as a former shopper -
is much like the nostalgia for the horse-and-buggy a century ago, as cars began
to take over the streets. Everyone remembered the slower, more enjoyable pace,
with time to enjoy the scenery. What they choose to forget is what horses leave
"behind" and the aroma of their passage.

I'm not sure there is an equivalent in record store shopping - maybe the aroma of
coffee and cake at B&N - but it is mostly nostalgia for a bygone time. Maybe
shopping in a book store is going the same way. Our children will wonder at our
nostalgia. It was always thus.
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:11 pm

stenka razin wrote:Anyone remember Kenn Harris, the opera guy, from the gone but not forgotten J&R Classical annex?
Sure, the big fat guy who lived in the basement...
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by dirkronk » Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:53 pm

I miss them. A lot.
I still have used venues of course: Half Price Books, CD Exchange (local chain), and a few others. So browsing is still possible, and still fun, especially when big collections suddenly appear.
But the big new retail stores that used to specialize--they went away years ago. As I've noted before, back in the late 1970s through the early 1990s, San Antonio had a specialty Sound Warehouse Classical & Jazz store (the name changed in the later years but the experts who mattered stayed the same) that surpassed every other store in every other city I'd been to save two: the Tower Records near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco and the Tower & Tower Annex in NYC. (Austin had a store almost as good in the same chain, and Houston's Westheimer store was actually bigger, though not as thorough in repertoire offered.) Three knowledgeable and superb managers over the years were the main reason. One became a good friend of mine, and finally became a DJ at the classical radio station here, which...thank heavens...still exists.

Dirk

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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by stenka razin » Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:55 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
stenka razin wrote:Anyone remember Kenn Harris, the opera guy, from the gone but not forgotten J&R Classical annex?
Sure, the big fat guy who lived in the basement...

Chalkie, the last time I saw him was in 1979. He is still there, my friend?

If I remember correctly, he wrote an LP Opera guide book. He really knew about opera. 8)

Regards,
Mel 8)
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:09 pm

stenka razin wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:Chalkie, the last time I saw him was in 1979. He is still there, my friend?

If I remember correctly, he wrote an LP Opera guide book. He really knew about opera. 8)

Regards,
Mel 8)
No, he left about ten years ago when they moved the Classical Dept from the three floor building to the area next to the Jazz Department...the lady that used to work the cash register in the old Classical Store still works there, I think she sang in an Opera Chorus back then...
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StephenSutton
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by StephenSutton » Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:28 pm

Interesting and valid point Lance made about Amazon shipping charges: it also reminds me of a comment made earlier about Amazon prices dropping quickly and "how does the artist make anything?" ( to which add the record company). On the second point first, our experience is that the Amazon price (that is for their OWN sales) reduces in direct proportion to the number of sales; the more sold, the cheaper they get - which is absolute nonsense and a reversal of the demand-driven market.. this also applies to sellers like us who run Amazon Advantage stores - because we supply Amazon with stock on consignment and they report sales monthly. It does not apply of course to third party sellers who can fix their own price, which includes the Amazon Marketplace type of store we also operate..

On shipping, we in fact set our basic shipping charge for 1 CD in line with Amazon's - in the UK we charge UKP1.25 and Amazon is 1.24!
However the duplication of charges mentioned above means that ordering a number of items though Amazon becomes much more expensive than direct from the record company webstore (and also means the record co actually make a profit on the sale too); similarly our charge for a sinle non-CD item (book for example) is still 1.25, whereas Amazon.co.uk charges 2.75... I use the UK as examples but the US system is similar just more complex!
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Re: Do we Really still Need Record Stores?

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:33 pm

StephenSutton wrote:Interesting and valid point Lance made about Amazon shipping charges: it also reminds me of a comment made earlier about Amazon prices dropping quickly and "how does the artist make anything?" ( to which add the record company). On the second point first, our experience is that the Amazon price (that is for their OWN sales) reduces in direct proportion to the number of sales; the more sold, the cheaper they get - which is absolute nonsense and a reversal of the demand-driven market.. this also applies to sellers like us who run Amazon Advantage stores - because we supply Amazon with stock on consignment and they report sales monthly. It does not apply of course to third party sellers who can fix their own price, which includes the Amazon Marketplace type of store we also operate..

On shipping, we in fact set our basic shipping charge for 1 CD in line with Amazon's - in the UK we charge UKP1.25 and Amazon is 1.24!
However the duplication of charges mentioned above means that ordering a number of items though Amazon becomes much more expensive than direct from the record company webstore (and also means the record co actually make a profit on the sale too); similarly our charge for a sinle non-CD item (book for example) is still 1.25, whereas Amazon.co.uk charges 2.75... I use the UK as examples but the US system is similar just more complex!
I buy a lot of used and new discs on Amazon that range from one penny to one dollar, the only way the seller makes any money is on the shipping, I immediately Rip them to Lossless Audio do it does not bother me how good a condition the packaging is as long as the disc can be Ripped, then I box them up, in many cases I never actually play the Original CD, just the Ripped Audio...
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