The Last Remaining NYC Record Stores

Does anyone go to record stores anymore?


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Courtesy of NYT



Record Stores Fight to Be Long-Playing
NYT, April 18, 2008

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Walker commented on Apr 19

    Okay, I read the article and it is still unclear what they mean by Record Store. Do they mean a general music store, like Tower Records or Sam Goody, which sells CDs, tapes and other stuff. Or do they actually mean a shop that specializes in vinyl to the small niche of people that still use phonograph players.

    The social implications of the “demise of the record store” are completely different depending on which one they mean. I have read this article and cannot definitively tell which one it is (they often refer to some places that I have heard of and are known to carry CDs and DVDs, but the reference vinyl repeatedly throughout the article). That is a sign of poor writing.

  2. Rodger Coleman commented on Apr 19

    Yes, I still go to record stores. Grimey’s here in Nashville is wonderful and I made a point to go down there to celebrate “Record Store Day” today. The place was packed. I bought a handful of brand new vinyl LPs while I was there. In fact, the majority of folks (young and old) seemed to be buying vinyl LPs. Interesting.

    Online is convenient but anonymous. A great record store can be a vital nexus for music fanatics. I’d really hate to see them go away.

  3. austincompany commented on Apr 19

    I knew many mom and pop one hour photo labs that went under as well. The digital age (along with big box chain stores) is sucking the life out of many small mom and pop photo, record, music and book stores. It’s a shame too. Most of the kids behind the counters in the large stores don’t know or care about the company the work for or what they sell – just want a paycheck, healthcare and a 401k plan.

  4. Mark E Hoffer commented on Apr 19

    following along on this: …and a 401k plan…

    This trend, the S&P 500-ization of the Economy, has been in force since (??)= a long, long time..

    Past that, the decline of record stores is, to me, pretty marked/amazing. There used to be “Buy/Sell/Trade” music shops in most every ‘burg, now, the Goodwill is the last resort in most areas..

  5. Walker commented on Apr 19

    This discussion that we are having is exactly what I mean in my first post. Why are the record stores dying? If you are talking about digital music distribution leading to the death of the record store, then we clearly cannot be talking about vinyl record stores. No one buys a vinyl record simply to buy music; they buy it because its presence on vinyl means something to them. They are totally different markets.

    But if we are talking about vinyl stores, then what the hell does online distribution have to do with it? Quality of the used medium really matters to the vinyl market, and so online is not necessarily the way to go. Indeed, a better argument as to why vinyl stores is closing is that that particular niche market is just getting smaller as people age.

  6. me commented on Apr 19

    This is news? Where the hell has everyone been for the last 10 years? Did you all miss that ordinary folks who shopped at places like record stores moved out of Manhattan back in the 90’s?

  7. Timothy Sykes commented on Apr 19

    Ha, visited a few of them today…saw the and congratulated the two stars of the great little movie ‘Once’ on the street and just had to take my companion to listen to that soundtrack, ever see/hear it barry?

  8. dark1p commented on Apr 19

    Yep, I go, though not as often as when I was younger. These days, I go to Other Music in NYC because, well, it’s not the usual commercial crap.

    Of course, I still play vinyl, too. And I do both of these things because LPs and CDs sound better than the crap they sell on iTunes. MP3s can sound fine, if the resolution is high enough. 98% of the time, it’s not.

    Oh, yeah, Other Music has an online download service, too. It took them a while to get it going because they refused to do it until they could put up very high quality files. Good on them.

  9. marcello commented on Apr 19

    why are their still record stores ?
    well, cuz people like me still like to purchase music that SOUNDS GOOD, as opposed to paying a buck a track online for FM-radio quality pap.

    If someone starts selling downloadable high-quality CD (or better SACD) content over the web, say in some lossless compression format, and offers a variety of jazz and baroque/classical/romantic music, then they might get me to partake of it, but until then, I’ll be trotting down to Sikora’s or HMV to get my monthly music fix to play over my KEF 105/3s.

  10. jasras commented on Apr 19

    Wow. Way before I was corporate, I was a record store manager. I wanted to own my own place. But that was in 1994, and a broker who happened to have a DJ biz, recruited me into the financial business…

    The death of the “record store” has been a long and slow saga. When I was in it, our enemy was actually the six major labels; Capital, Uni, Poly, BMG, Sony and WEA. They hated us because we sold used as well as new. They pulled co-op ad, quit giving us preferred deals on new releases, and favored the Big Box of Best Buy… I was pretty sure the business was on the wane then, but we didn’t know about iPods and MP3’s at that time. You might as well be talking Buck Rogers. Shoot, the labels were still bitter we sold 10 packs of Maxell blank tape and TDK… Talk about dinosaur age.

    The only think keeping the mom and pop record store going is the independent labels… They don’t have agreements with iTunes, and eMusic is not well known. DJ’s that mix still use 12″ sometimes, and no one knows what is “good” like an arrogant record store clerk.

    The interaction of regulars at a record store is unique and can not be replicated online. The sad thing is that 95% of the population is oblivious to that fact…

    There will always be a record store in NYC, but it may be only one… May the best survive.

  11. Skinflint commented on Apr 20

    I’m picky at what I spend money on. I prefer online and used CD’s. When I was young, after purchased ten to twenty CD’s, realized that was hundred’s of dollars. I had to put a stop in that money leak. I haven’t been to a record store in probably ten years and I couldn’t tell you who is “hot” right now :) And I’m happy with my music collection.

  12. Barry Ritholtz commented on Apr 20

    “Once” is in the den, having arrived from Netflix a week or so ago . . .

  13. Dutchman commented on Apr 20

    Well, I am young and I never go to music stores. For good reason too, they sell crap. CDs are a pathetic product that I simply refuse to use, its expensive and annoying. And on top of that the music stores never sell what I want on a medium that I want for the price I want.

  14. Dink commented on Apr 20

    Hard to believe there’s nothing north of 59th street.

  15. Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell commented on Apr 20

    It’s totally not true.

    There’s Westsider Records on 72nd off Broadway whose owner is a cantankerous ol’ bastard but on whose good side I somehow seem to have found myself. :-)

    I think they arbitrarily stopped at Central Park South.

  16. bruce Banister commented on Apr 20

    I know two people in the music production business. They both say that the cd business is dead. I can’t understand how anyone would want listen to music on an ipod. The quality of sound is better on a car radio.

  17. Ken M. commented on Apr 20

    Maybe a little OT … But back in the 70s a couple guys established a counter-culture funky record shop in an old house in Pasadena, CA. If you couldn’t find a record, Poo Bah would have it, or get it for you.

    And they’re still in business. The address has changed (they are now in a commercial area), but they’re otherwise still going strong:

  18. Quiddity commented on Apr 20

    I remember Poo Bah! I was in college at the time (Caltech). I was definitely a funky place.

  19. estaban commented on Apr 20

    Downloading classical music doesn’t make sense because (1) the fidelity of the recording has to be top of the line, and downloaded music wouldnt have enough fidelity, (2) classical music afficiondos need to know the the conducdtor, the orchestra, the year of the recording, the soloist and whether he is playing a Gofriller or a Storiani violin cello etc.. Usually the liner notes aren’t enough. We have B&N and J&R for now.

  20. Panskeptic commented on Apr 20

    Vinyl is the only music medium that increased sales last year.

    The music business has always depended on the youth market. Fully half of teenagers bought zero CDs last year, and that is a watershed event.

    If the kids don’t buy CDs, there are no profits to subsidize recordings of music for adults.

    Like the movies, the economic model is broken, and the industry hasn’t a clue what’s next.

    The music business played the situation as badly as can be imagined, by making their customers the enemy. Instead of adapting to downloads, they tried to exterminate them and police their audience, a corrosive exercise in futility. Now nobody wants to deal with the majors on any level.

    Mom’n’Pop stores have little future with the multinationals clueless and a new generation of kids raised to think that music should be free.

  21. Ronald Pottol commented on Apr 21

    The music biz is suicidal, the death of the record store and the music “industry” as a whole is a result of a series of incredibly obviously dumb moves over the past decade or so.

    Good riddance.

    I think we can end up with a world that is better for the artist that anything we have ever had, at the low end or the high end, everyone from NIN to Dolly Parton are releasing their music without a label, if you have the $, it makes sense, and it’s not like it takes much money.

  22. prostratedragon commented on Apr 21

    There will always be a record store in NYC

    And it will be Record Mart.

  23. Larry commented on Apr 21

    Well, there will always be record and/or music stores, with one of these words attached: vintage, used, specialty.

    I miss Tower’s classical selection. I’d also like a shout out to Berkeley’s And also Rasputin and Amoeba.

    As for classical music online, I like Naxos, though I don’t listen to enough music for the 128Kbps streaming subscription worthwhile.

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