Y’know, I feel like the stuff said in the article is the same thing I’ve been saying for years now. My father and I used to constantly get into arguments about whether “the internet killed the record store” or not? This quickly branched out past just the record store and turned into did “the internet kill the Blockbuster down the street,” too, etc. Needless to say, it was a little sad when almost all the media-related stores (i.e. movie stores, CD stores, etc.) around my house went out of business, but being the computer-savvy little kid I was, I quickly discovered the internet. Suddenly, I was wondering hwy I hadn’t used this to begin with.
I tried to introduce this brave new world to my father, but admittedly he’s never quite got it 100%/ He uses MySapce and occasionally downloads things off the internet, but in the end he’s still going to the (few and far between) music stores and getting his CDs there. To each their own, I suppose, but I’ve always been a fan of, well… really obscure music.
And trust me, it is obscure. People always challenge me and ask me what bands I listen to now (I don’t know why — I guess it’s become something to brag about now when you like “obscure” stuff), and inevitably people only know 10~30% of my “favourite” stuff. I guess that’s what comes of liking fringe, Scandinavian Viking/Pagan/Folk metal. Ah well, I digress.
I look around now and I see that this notion of “the internet killing the record store” is not completely true. It actually only seems like the one’s that went under were the ones that only invested in “hits” and things they knew would sell no matter what (i.e. stores that couldn’t cater to people like me) — in other words, one’s that obviously couldn’t compete with online music distributors like Rhapsody. However, I see music stores like Rhino Records, Penny Lane, Amoeba, Rasputin, etc. (kudos to you if you’re familiar with all those stores!) actually thriving in this environment.
Why? Because it seems like they’re investing in the same sort of strategy the online music distributors are. With lower prices, more obscure music, and also alternative ways of gathering income (i.e. live music, events, etc.), they can actually keep up in this more open world of music.
So, getting back to the original question of “did the internet kill the record store?” No, I don’t think it killed all of them; however, it killed off the one’s whose prosperous existence was questionable to begin with — one’s that were thriving simply because people blindly bought anything that was popular and those music stores kept plenty of it in stock. I don’t see the question as really relevant, though — it was never relevant to me. I never liked the music stores, and hoenstly, I think this movement towards a more diverse music world is a good thing. The same goes with movies (Netflix is a great resource for watching foreign films and documentaries you’d’ve never found at Blockbusters) and games (all I can say is thank God for the XBL Arcade and Indie Gaming!).
Okay, okay, yeah, if you’re a 54-year old man mother or father that has three kids and a full-time job, maybe it’s not that efficient to you because you’re not very techno-savvy. The question is, then, though — is that your fault, or the fault of the industry?
I’m thinking the latter.