Monday, March 3, 2008

Turns out....We were right....

So, for those of you who know me personally, have you ever had that moment where I'm talking about music, and you've said to yourself,"What the hell is he talking about?" If so, then it's time to learn. Music retail is quickly becoming a scared creature as far as the hardcopy formats and major labels are concerned.

In another bit of odd news gathered from Myspace of all places, local record store Crooked Beat posted this statement today:

Date: Mar 3, 2008 3:59 PM
Subject: A Few Words Regarding the Future of Major Label Releases

Attention Customers:

Since 1997, Crooked Beat has always prided itself in being fiercely independent by primarily focusing on and specializing in stocking releases from independent and import labels. We also have always carried a lot of New CD Releases from the major record labels (WEA, Capitol, Sony/BMG, UNI) and their affiliates.

In recent years, however, most of these major labels have not been making their New CD Releases available to independent Distributors to purchase at a fair price in comparison to the prices the big box stores are paying for the same product. This, in turn, has caused a lot of our distributors to no longer consistently stock-- and sometimes not even stock in their warehouses-- certain major label New CD Releases at all. This has made it very difficult for independent stores to obtain a larger number of major label New Release CDs.

Furthermore, there is now a substantial penalty being enforced by One Stops/Distributors in the event that an independent record store returns major label product that does not sell. This makes it difficult for an independent store to even want to consider stocking, and more importantly, taking a chance on a new artist that is affiliated with a major label.

Due to these unfortunate circumstances and the fact being that major label sales on CD have become less than 3% of our sales since 2004, we will be extremely limiting our stock of major label New CD Releases from the following labels: WEA-Warner, Elektra, Atlantic, Capitol/EMI, Sony/BMG, UNI and their affiliates.

Update - February 2008

In 2007, CD sales from the major labels (WEA, Capitol, Sony/BMG, UNI) and their affiliates accounted for less than 1% of our total sales. Therefore, effective February 1, 2008, we will only be stocking select titles from these labels on CD. A large number of major label titles are now being reissued on LP vinyl that usually come with a free MP3 download offered inside the album jacket. LPs outsold CDs at Crooked Beat for the first time ever in 2007.

Due to this, we will be expanding our vinyl selection over the next several months.

We will also continue to specialize in and stock CDs from literally hundreds of independent and import labels.


Bill & Helen

Major labels are seeing most of their sales coming from online mp3's being bought or downright taken gratis. It only makes sense that between them and large retail stores the squeeze is being put on the "small players" to keep the money stable in the big hands.

This also seems to be going hand in hand with an independent music renaissance of sorts. People seem not only more interested these days in lesser known indie and underground artists, but they are also heavily invested in vinyl collecting.

DCist recently ran a story about local music stores where much of the same rhetoric can be heard. You can check that out here, and when you're done you should actually check out all of these bastions of good taste. Though I did say and mean ALL, here are my three local favorites:

Crooked Beat
Som Records
Smash Records

As far as the increase in the sale of vinyl goes, even NPR has to admit that there is a resurgence.

So close out your itunes, throw away that copy of "Music played on Dawson's Creek," and ask that weird music nut in your life just what the hell they are listening to.

(I'm listening to Behemothaur)

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