Tuesday, April 03, 2007

What's In Store?

I don’t live in a huge city, but the population is around 750,000 and it is a gigantic tourist draw. There’s no shortage of shoppers in the downtown area.

With that as background, understand my reaction to the scene at the only brand-name music store – a branch of British chain HMV – near the epicentre of this busy tourist city. On offer were probably less than 1,000 jazz CDs, which included many, many copies of recordings by Nora Jones and Diana Krall – I think this may be the first time I’ve noticed Krall CDs outnumbering those by Miles Davis: no small feat considering how many more recordings Davis made.

Is it any wonder that CD sales declined 20% in the last measured period, and that jazz sales in particular are in the dumper? It’s like these retailers have just given up. Fully half the store is given over to DVDs.

My line of work means I have plenty to listen to without venturing into music stores much, and what I do buy, I buy online, so the decline in marketing efforts, meagre size of stock and variety was a bit of a shock.

I’d love to hear what the situation is like where you live.

1 comment:

John Doheny said...

In pre-Katrina New Orleans, both Tower Records and Virgin Records were enormously supportive of local jazz. Virgin kept three huge racks of local stuff right up front in their jazz section on the second floor, before you got to anything else. Both stores were very good about taking stuff direct from local artists, as opposed to Virgin Vancouver when I lived there. They wouldn't touch you unless you went through a distributor.

Post Katrina, Virgin never came back, and Tower went out of business a few months later. The only record store left in town is Louisiana Music Factory, an indie, and a hell of a good store. They are also my internet distributor.