August 28, 2007

The end of an era...

On Thursday I'm going to London for a few days and for some time now I've been dreaming of (once again) doing a bit of CD shopping in Berwick Street. Nothing wrong with that dream, but Chris did his best to crush it a few days ago when he sent me this link along with this one. I probably should have seen it coming when Chromewaves voiced his concerns about the number of CD stores closing down in Toronto. Or perhaps the day I spent on the shopping street in Flensburg this summer with my wife should have rung a bell, as not a single CD store was in sight. I know that my local CD store has been grasping for air for years now, but at least they have managed to keep the boat afloat, by turning a large part of the store into a (damn fine) café.
Cannot say that I'm surprised that the stores in smaller cities (like ours) are struggling to stay alive, but it certainly is quite frustrating to learn that they are becoming endangered species in the metropols as well. What really strikes, and worries me at the same time, is the quote that no one under the age of 35 is buying CD's (which the owner of my hometown CD store verified, when I told him about the article). I've always looked upon music as something tangible; meaning that when I bought music I received a physical good that I could carry home, store on my shelf (and then re-find 5 years later) etc. But with the current trend in mind, it seems like I have to get used to people considering music as something intangible, which is being stored on computers, iPods etc. and thrown away, when they no longer find it interesting!

Like every other music fanatic, I’ve always enjoyed going through people’s Music collection when visiting new friends for the first (second, third etc.) time, but as I see it, I'm facing quite an obstacle now. Somehow it just doesn’t sound right asking them to turn on their computer or asking if it's possible to borrow their iPod for a minute. And since I will now be unable to gather any information on the music taste of my host/new friend(s), I could end up discussing music with some Robbie or Justin fan(s), which certainly is quite a frightening thought!

The good part is that people still have great interest in music. If nothing else the booming concert industry certainly is the proof of that. But the CD stores are dying and soon the 2nd hand shops will be gone as well, meaning no more dusty shops like the ones in High Fidelity. A sad end to all the hours music geeks like me have spent searching for limited editions, rare releases, out-of-print albums etc. And what exactly are we supposed to do now? Did any of you young people think of that you selfish bastards?

But on Thursday afternoon I will, as a salute to a dying era, take a walk down Berwick Street pretending I'm on the cover of an Oasis album. And then someone please wake me up and put an end to this dream turned nightmare!

+ Tower of Foil - End of the Story
+ The Poems - The Ballad of a Bitter End

14 comments:

Dan said...

Hi there,

damn right words you are saying there. I don't know how well your German is. If you think it's good enough the get a copy of the September '07 "Visions"-mag, which had a brilliant large article on the matter of todays music industry and its problems.

stytzer said...

Thanks for the comment - I'd probably understand 30% of it, so no point in trying to get that mag. But thanks for the suggestion :)
Just thought that I'd look at it from "the end user" point of view and how the problems aren't only affecting the industry, but us music nerds as well!

Chris said...

I guess I don't have to tell you that you really speak from my heart. Although I haven't been in a "real" music-store for a long time (no choice here anymore, just the big chains), it really is a sad thing to see one after the other go down. The digital generation is taking over, and we old collectors can only watch it happen. But as long as an actual CD/LP is being produced, there is still hope that there will be another generation of people who actually know the meaning of "owning" music. Let's hope I'm right!

Enjoy your stay in London anyway... I can imagine the feelings you'll have during that Berwick walk. But as Howard Jones once said: Things can only get better! :)

stytzer said...

Thanks Chris - the pubs are still there, so I'm certain that I'll have a great time nonetheless :)

Peter said...

My words. The CD is dead. The Kids will never buy CD`s. This is the end, my friends.

Chris said...

good thing you can't download beer! :)

SiD said...

Hey, interesting post. I'm 21, and although i download music, i still prefer to have the physical copy of a CD. But where i live there is no music shops, not even big ones like HMV, let alone a smaller (better) music shop. So this leaves me with the position of having to travel to buy cds (extra cost) or download or buy them from the comfort of my home for prices which are usually cheaper.

I think there still is a market for music shops, but in todays climate nobody is going to take the risk of setting them up without knowing the reliability of the market.

anyway, come check out blog if you've time - www.musicliberation.blogspot.com

Cheers,
Sid.

Anders said...

Great post. I actually had a similar discussion with a friend yesterday. His band is about to release their debut album, and as their music is aimed at a teenage audience, he was a bit concerned about selling albums when kids nowadays just seem to download everything from the net.

Parklife said...

I have to confess that I'm guilty in neglecting the local record shops too... I bought most of my CDs over the last months/year in the Internet, often directly at the bands themselves... But it surely would be sad if the CD would disappear!

Anonymous said...

Great post about a very sad topic....The physical CD format is unfortunately dying :(

-Mishie

Parklife said...

Well, but some bands themselves are "burying" the CD - for example if they don't release any CDs any more but offer their songs "only" as (free) downloads...

Steven said...

True,True,True.I believe the words are true!!
how in the world can any artist survive nowadays?

Steven

steven-movieworld.blogspot.com/

I have linked you

Thorsten said...

90% of my music collection consists of good old-fashioned-hold-in-your-hand-feel-and-look-at-cd's and vinyls, currently i'm working my way up to the 100%. There is no competition whatsoever comparing a Mp3 file, to a cd. Yup it may be handy having your entire discography on a harddrive/laptop, however it is just not the same nomatter what people say... I'm 20, so I dare say; the era has not come to an end...

kingseyeland said...

Meh. People said CDs would kill vinyl. Didn't happen. They just reduced vinyl to a specific market.

People said blank cassettes would kill the record industry too. Turns out the blank cassette is almost dead, but still hits a specific (albeit small) market.

CDs aren't dying. They may be shrinking, but until another tangible product comes along with better sound quality at a comparable price, digital downloads aren't gonna kill CDs. Too many people enjoy the tactile nature of CDs, liner notes, and those annoying sticky labels along the top that can only be removed with razor blades and Goo Gone.