Revolutions Per Minute


Tower Records, it says here, is seeking bankruptcy protection. The NYT notes that the move "comes at a time when the traditional record stores, where generations of Americans first discovered music, are under siege from big-box and electronics stores as well as from the growing availability of music online."

Evoking Tower as a "traditional music store" where "where generations of Americans first discovered music" is an interesting stab at perspective. It seems like just yesterday that Tower and other giant music chains were the villains in these kinds of stories, because they threatened small, local music retailers who offered personal service. When it comes to reporting business developments, most of whatever is happening is not only bad news, it's a sociological melodrama.

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  1. I own a “Sirius” system here in the U.S.; I do not believe that I have bought a CD since I got the system and I am hoping that there is something similar in Sweden when I move there in December.

  2. JB:

    I’ve been contemplating satellite radio, too. I’m not sure about the overall cost, though. Sounds cool for a musicphile, but I probably don’t qualify for that label at this point in my life.

  3. it would be cool if it were a portable player.

    but i don’t have a car, so no groovy radio for me.

  4. “As for lamenting the passing of Tower Records, I wonder if this means that one day the NYT will be shedding a tear for the passing of Wal-Mart.”

    Maybe one day we’ll be able to read a story about the demise of the New York Times, written by the Bloggers United News Service (BUNS)…

  5. Dhex, your in luck, Kenwood makes a ‘portable’ Sirius player that is as plug-n-play as you can get.

    Have an adapeter in my car, my home and at work, makes that monthly service fee go a loooong way. No commercials, no syndicated Clear Channel DJ just music.

  6. Jason Ligon,

    It is just incredibly convenient for me; I don’t really concern myself with carrying music now with me except whatever is on my SD cards that that fit into my IPAQ 3870. And I have four 256 MB SD cards, so that is enough portable music for me. That I also have my music downloaded to a portable 40 GB HD helps as well; and since it is bluetooth wireless, well… 🙂 Yes, I am an engineer. 🙂

  7. Bah. A plug-n-play 20GB Dell MP3 player carries my entire music library. No engineer needed.

  8. Late:

    Gonna be nosy here, answer or igore if you prefer. How much does that set up cost you?

    Is XM an essentially identical service?

  9. Jim: I own ~2,000 cds; and most of them are another continent. 🙂

  10. Jason, it sets me back 13 bucks a month, not that its a personal question or anything, its right on thier website =)

    Its NOT the same as XM, XM is primarily backed by Clear Channel Entertainment, up untill just 2 weeks ago, every XM channel had 7 minutes an hour of commercials, but the fact that Sirius lured many a customer away due to thier ZERO commercial policy forced XM to change that policy after 3 years.

    XM is slightly cheaper, 10 bucks a month, but in my experiance Sirius has turned out to be a better service. One main difference between XM and Sirius is, XM does not provice a portable plug-n-play device, they expect you to purchase a seperate reciever for every location you want to listen. One for the car, one for the home, one for the office, and charge 6 bucks a month extra for each of those recievers. Sirius has a host of plug-n-play portable devices and make it a selling point, one charge for all locations.

    just my .02 and no, I do not work for Sirius or any entity associated, just a very happy customer.

  11. I was once quite the tech geek myself, but my studies and eventual profession diverged from that path and have since put me in the lowly position of ‘end user’.

    I might need to contract a real geek to make sure my media experiences are up to date. This sounds pretty groovy, and I feel out of touch.

    Am I turning into my dad?

  12. BTW, it is a serious fucking problem getting portable media devices and the like in the U.S. now; it always puts me behind when entering the U.S. “What is this? I have never seen one of these before. Would you turn this on?” In January I was forced to plug my portable HD into one of their computers to demonstrate that it actually is what I say it is; I was hoping they would not find any copyright violated materials on it. 🙂

  13. 2000 CDs, man that must be a lot of accordian music.

  14. “Am I turning into my dad?”

    No, your mother.

  15. I meant to write earlier that my IPAQ is bluetooth wireless; not the HD.

    I agree completely with late for the boom’s statements on Sirius against XM; it is surprising how great the technology is, yet it seems to be unknown outside certain circles. And it is not very expensive really.

  16. The only thing I can remember about Tower is that their L.A. building was featured heavily in the movie Ford Fairlane, Rock ‘n’ Roll Detective. And I’m almost embarassed to admit having seen that dog.

  17. I especially like the line about Wal-Mart shutting down a “family-run” business like Tower. Please. This isn’t some mom and pop shop, it’s a national chain. And it is dying because I can go to Borders to get a book, some music, a cup of coffee, and service that doesn’t treat me like a moron because I refuse to listen to their indie garbage record of choice. Although right now, I think some Queen is appropriate. Can someone cue up “Another One Bites the Dust”?

  18. Yeah, and those predators at Tower put Licorice Pizza on the slab at the morgue, so screw em.

    Okay maybe that was someone else.

  19. I wonder if Tower’s longstanding policy of charging near-list prices ($19 for a mainstream CD!) while the big-box electronics stores, the online retailers and even most of the remaining mom-and-pops charge less has anything to do with it.

    Tower’s old advantage was their deep selection, but then along came niche specialty stores and the likes of Amazon beating them on selection, so what was the point? DJs and dance-muisc buyers go to local niche shops now, as do the punks and hipsters. The serious jazz and classical listeners can find things more easily, alongside reviews and at better prices, online. And (natch) world-music customers who never trusted Tower in the first place don’t need them anymore either.

  20. Perhaps one day the Times will lament the passing of that symbol of Americana, the shopping mall.

  21. Don’t forget those Used CD shops. Out of the last 30 CDs I’ve purchased, only two were brand spankin’ new.

    (And those two were value added CDs, one came with a DVD of music videos and the other was a two CD set, both priced under $20)

  22. The problem is that most business news is reported as if it is a soap opera.

    Consumer loves Coke. Coke changes. Consumer feels betrayed. Consumer is wooed by Pepsi. Coke is heartbroken. Ad nauseum.

  23. so does this mean there’s going to be some bitching closeout sales? they’ve still got that vinyl attic on w. 4th, iirc.

  24. The price of CDs has made me even less musical than I normally would be.

    Especially when you compare them to other media like DVDs, the price point seems all out of whack.

    I haven’t heard an entire CD that I liked in years. Even at .99 per track for downloads, the price seems a bit off, but I can’t shake the feeling that downloading for free is theft. I anxiously await the next business model, and will listen to internet radio in the meantime.

  25. “Perhaps one day the Times will lament the passing of that symbol of Americana, the shopping mall.”

  26. It all depends. If you get a CD that has a single being played to death on the radio, chances are, the rest is filler. This has been discussed here before. Now, if you’re eclectic and precise in your tastes, you’re probably buying albums by bands that never get airplay. I find that those tend to be overall stronger albums, with less weak tracks on them. As for lamenting the passing of Tower Records, I wonder if this means that one day the NYT will be shedding a tear for the passing of Wal-Mart. That would be a Twilight Zone special.

  27. Jean: Eh, so one looooooong day of rip and copy? 🙂 I find that 20 gigs gives me all of the songs I ever want to listen to, plus space to use the voice recorder feature. And now I have two sets of portable speakers that plug into the headphone jack and a splitter. My office with a soundcard-free computer now rocks just like my home system.

    Oh yeah:
    *Shameless Plug* Buy Dell! */Shameless Plug*

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