I was not surprised when I read a few days ago that Tower Records is closing its doors forever (the sale started today); it really is a sign of the times. (It is a shame, though, that the bankruptcy judge refused to award the chain to a slightly lower bidder who would have closed only a few of the stores; even Tower's creditors were in favor of doing this.)
I always enjoyed going to Tower when it first opened in the Dallas area. It's not exactly in my backyard, but it's mere blocks from Uptown, where my sister and brother-in-law used to live about a decade ago, so I was down there a lot. Unlike most of the big chains, it had a rather impressive selection of things, especially in the jazz area, which is woefully underrepresented in many such stores. I enjoyed checking out new stuff at the lstening stations, and I appreciated its local music section. I could spend hours in the place.
But the thing was, even then, I didn't often buy very much there, unless it was on sale. With list prices of $16.99 to $18.99 for most CD's, Tower was a little rich for my blood. Sometimes, there'd be something for a good price, and on occasion, I'd pay the premium price just to get something that I literally couldn't find anywhere else. But more often than not, I'd listen to something new at Tower and then wait until it showed up at CD Source or CD Warehouse to buy it at half that price; the arrival of Amazon.com made my trips to Tower even fewer and farther between.
And I'm sure that downloads provided the final nail in the coffin. Even though I now have a computer with decent storage space and CD-burning capability, I haven't bought all that much stuff off download sites yet, because to me, there's still something about the tangibility of a CD that appeals to me. Maybe the fact that I've lost two iTunes libraries in computer crashes is preventing me from seeing a downloaded CD as something permanent yet, but I also just like reading the liner notes, looking at the cover art, etc.
The article also notes that the major labels (or, as I call them, The Machine) are in the process of taking a similar hit, which, as I've said, is generally fine with me; it's time to turn control of the creative industry back to the creators. Still, it makes me pause for a moment; a visit to the Big Record Store, something to which I'd looked forward since I was a little kid, is passing into memory now. I wonder if I'll go downtown and check out the sale...
Tag, you're it: Check out this spoof on a clothing label; it's very funny, but definitely only for the single, or those who wish to be.