Under normal circumstances, I would have bought most of this stuff at Tower Records instead — sure, it probably would have cost me a few more bucks, but at least I'd be listening to my new albums right now. There's a small problem, though; as you have probably heard by now, Tower Records is bankrupt and going out of business. No more new releases are being stocked, all other inventory is being "liquidated," and their 90 stores nationwide will soon be closing down for good.
While a few grizzled old sentimental record collectors like myself will mourn Tower's passing, iPodders and renegade file sharers almost seem to welcome this event as yet another inevitable step toward a post-retail brave new digital world where all music is downloadable online (and preferably free).
Sure, we've seen this coming for some time now. Record labels are consolidating and cutting back, inventories at record stores are shrinking and homogenizing, and more and more people are walking around with those silly white "earbuds" stuck in their heads. Of course, it's way too simplistic to say that downloading Killed Tower, but that certainly seems to be the way the music industry is headed — like it or not.
Don't get me wrong — I have nothing against the Internet. If I did, I wouldn't be wasting my time with this blogging nonsense. I think it's great that some guy in the middle of Wyoming can have instant online access to all kinds of great music that he'd never find at the local Wal-Mart. Why can't we have it both ways, though? What if I'd rather have LPs and CDs that I can pull off the shelf rather than a bunch of MP3 files on my computer's hard drive? Why do the kids always have to ruin everything for the rest of us?
I can't help getting a little misty-eyed and nostalgic over all of these "The day the music (store) died" pronouncements. Ever since I entered the workforce about 20 years ago, I've been spending a disproportionate amount of my paychecks on LPs and then CDs during my weekly (and sometimes even daily) pilgrimages to my favorite local record stores.