Why are so many record stores still closing?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by radickeyfan, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. misteranderson

    misteranderson Forum Resident

    englewood, nj
    In the NYC Metro area, I'd add Steely Dan, '70s Bowie, and even some '70s Joni to the list of original pressings that don't stick around very long and sell for anywhere from $8-15, or more.

    I picked up a perfect 1977 CSN S/T for $2 a couple weeks ago. One of my favorites, and when I asked the owner of the shop why it was so cheap, she said "we have six more of them." So there you go.

    "Record stores will be gone in a year or two." Maybe where you are, but I don't think so around here. I'm almost never in a store alone, and often see younger people browsing and buying, though -- I suppose significantly -- nobody under 25.
    angelo73 and Matthew Tate like this.
  2. angelo73

    angelo73 ⬚⿻⬚⿻⬚⿻⬚

    Michigan, USA
    Detroit-area record stores
    still in business :

    • Dr. Disc Records,Windsor
    • Ah Some Records,Windsor
    • Sunrise Devonshire Mall, Windsor
    • Peoples Records Detroit
    • Paramita Sound Detroit
    • Detroit Threads, Hamtramck
    • Shantique Music Detroit
    • Stormy Records Dearborn
    • Hybrid Moments Ferndale
    • Found Sound Ferndale
    • Dearborn Music Dearborn
    • Dance Zone East Pointe
    • Melodies and Memories East Pointe
    • UHF Music Royal Oak
    • Street Corner Music Oak Park
    • Village Vinyl Warren
    • Trax 'N Wax - St. Clair Shores,
    • Solo Records Royal Oak
    • Slick Disc - Trenton
    • Flipside Records Clawson,
    • Rock Of Ages Garden City

    not to mention Barnes&Nobel
    bookstores, which still sell vinyl LPs & CDs

  3. Eleventh Earl of Mar

    Eleventh Earl of Mar Somehow got them all this far.

    New York
    Streaming music that's stupid easy.

    Like you can still pirate all the albums you want but even in the past decade you had to kind of know how to do that. Now you can just have all of it and have no knowledge of how to even use a computer.
    ian christopher likes this.
  4. Tartifless

    Tartifless Forum Resident

    In Paris they overestimate record prices, sell bootlegs, Don't let you listen to records on a table and are more expensive than the more expensive discogs sellers !
    I guess this is the reason why they die here...
    ian christopher likes this.
  5. danasgoodstuff

    danasgoodstuff Forum Resident

    Portland, OR
    It's the rent, my favorite store is still in business because Terry owns the building.
    GentleSenator and Greenalishi like this.
  6. BillyMacQ

    BillyMacQ Forum Resident

    Brooklyn, NY
    3 reasons why many record stores go out of business
    1. Ridiculously overpriced stock. My local shop consistently has .50 cents and $1 records priced at $5 or even $15. #Dumb
    2. Ridiculously old stock. See above - records that are overpriced, don't move. Why go back to a store that has the same old overpriced stuff? #Dumb
    3. Jaded and snarky people working at the store who still think it's 1985. You're not Jack Black's character in High Fidelity. Get over it. #Dumb

    3 Reasons why many record stores are doing well
    1. They price and grade records appropriately knowing that today's shopper is equipped with a smartphone that gives him/her immediate access to a wealth of info.
    2. They combine selling records with something like a cafe' with coffee - something that keeps traffic moving in and out of the store whether people are buying records or not.
    3. The people working there act like they want to be there, want to be helpful, enjoy music and don't treat the whole thing like a competition to see who's more hip.

  7. Greenalishi

    Greenalishi Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    This can't be overstated. So many local longtime business' who survive. Got an opportunity early on to buy and were able to and that's why they last. Rent is a killer of small busisness'. No place has rent control for commercial stuff.

    I've heard rumblings even from my local fave Aomeba that they struggle. I'm not sure what i would do if i lost them. I'm there every week almost. Love the place so much.
  8. jimac51

    jimac51 A mythical beast.

    If I'm reading this right,the store mentioned is not out of business,in spite of doing all of these wrong things. Any reasons why this place remains open?
    Matthew Tate likes this.
  9. This is a key factor. Obviously some stores are in busy areas where there is foot traffic but many stores now are way off the beaten path and if some store owner had a vision, they would have tried to buy a building somewhere where and when property was cheaper. A records store and an adjacent cafe can be a real winner to kick off a new neighborhood.

    If I were opening a shop today (which I am not) I would try to do this and definitely have a cafe, lunch spot within the same building. That can offset a lot of the overhead if done correctly..

    I know it has been written here before but I've been to many stores where the owner just doesn't seem to give a crap of their clientele. A recipe for failure IMHO.

    I assume you are speaking of Music Millennium??
    danasgoodstuff likes this.
  10. danasgoodstuff

    danasgoodstuff Forum Resident

    Portland, OR
    Yes, I've known Terry for decades, been a customer since even before he got there, worked at the long gone NW 23rd Ave. location and met my wife there.
    GentleSenator, Marc Perman and Mazzy like this.
  11. shark shaped fin

    shark shaped fin Well-Known Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    Sorry if all this has been covered previously, but I'm amazed at how many record shops (and ones that are purportedly *great* stores) are actually pretty terrible, in my own estimation.

    I live in Los Angeles and there are stores I frequent around here that are usually good-to-great but the best remains Amoeba for a pretty good reason, just in terms of depth and reasonable pricing. If I want to find a decent copy of some Led Zep or Sabbath or Neil Young or Dylan, or Kate Bush or Bowie or whatever, I'm probably gonna be able to find it there.

    On the flipside you get a lot of people who have hopped on the vinyl train more recently, decide to make some money on it, and stock their stores with a ton of common and unloved records, or deservedly forgotten records, overprice them, and you're lucky if you ever find something you want there. I want to add I'm not someone who's just looking for the artists I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I tend to dig pretty deep. But I had a record shop open two blocks from my house a few years ago and I was ready to throw money at them, and during the three years they were there I never found a single LP I wanted. The entire Echo Park/Highland Park/Glendale/Silver Lake/Los Feliz area around here seems to be one shop after another exactly like this (with occasional, possibly apocryphal exceptions.)

    There are a ton of shops like this in the L.A. area, including ones I've seen on totally misleading and poorly-researched listicles of "the best record stores in L.A.", most of which seem to be written by people who would have been duped in the first wave of the VNYL monthly record club scam.

    Then again, I don't know. I may have standards for record stores that are completely out of whack... :sigh:
  12. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Chevelle Ma Belle

    Mid Atlantic
    Are you saying these stores never sell on Discogs/Ebay etc?

    If they do sell there then look for their (cheaper) listings on Discogs buy them and tell them you will pick them up at the store.
  13. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    OK. Thanks. Unfortunately, I don't do vinyl any more.
  14. Danby Delight

    Danby Delight Forum Resident

    Yep. I still miss it. Angela works part-time at Stereo Jack's now.
    troggy likes this.
  15. Frangelico

    Frangelico Forum Resident

    Even before the rise of Amazon and online sales, retail has been a notoriously difficult business. Historically amongst the highest bond default rates of any industry sector. I wish it was the way it was in the past with record and book shops and such :(
    ian christopher and Matthew Tate like this.
  16. misteranderson

    misteranderson Forum Resident

    englewood, nj
    Things are looking up in Detroit in general, aren't they? That city's been down so long it had nowhere else to go.

    I think every big city must have a record store named Flipside within 20 miles. There's one around here too.

    The closest Barnes & Noble to me here in Northern NJ just got rid of their music dept. They're sending their stock up the road to a bigger store.
    angelo73 likes this.
  17. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    I used to own a store too. I hate it that I have to agree with you. Clearly vinyl is all that is floating the stores and I'm not really sure how well that's going if you look at the net, unless you are a high profile destination location like Amoeba, etc. My local store here seems pretty busy but, and I am not exaggerating, they have hundreds and hundreds of unsold record store day inventory going back a few years and continue to bring is stuff...this has to be paid for immediately, full boat. Most of it is on sale for 75% off and it's still sitting. I can think of a couple titles off the top of my head they have a huge stack of and I know it will never sell through at any price. I bought a Maverick's album brand new so cheap that I got it as a back up to the copy I already had, just because it was killing me to see one of my favorite albums in the world sitting at $8 sealed. It isn't possible they are making this up on the full price sales. They let it slip out a few months ago how much they grossed at a recent record store day sale (only credit card sales...but most people don't pay any other way). I don't feel right saying the amount; locals will know what store I'm talking about. But it was under $10,000. I would even bother. If they even brought in ten grand, the gross profit would be, on a grand day, $3000.00 on any new product sold, which presumably on RSD it would be. That doesn't include that they give 20% off everything on that day (I don't think this applies to RSD product....geez, I hope not). Or defective product they put back out at a discount, probably seeing it come back over and over again as they can't return them. This is a really bad business to be in...if they are in it, it isn't for the money. I try very hard not to return things, and to buy everything I can from them. But there in runs the problem: I find I'm buying most new product from Amazon now because so darn much of it is defective and returning it to Amazon is so simple. God bless them, they tell me they still prefer I buy it from them but I just can't do that to them, so I only buy a token amount of new but all the used I possibly can.
    tspit74 likes this.
  18. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    I think the larger stores will hang on, but they absolutely have to handle inventory levels critically well. My local store holds a 20% off sale one day every month. I think that's absurd. I asked a guy I know that works there why people don't just put stuff behind the counter and pick it up the first Sat of every month. His reply? You guessed it...they do! I mean, really?? There aren't that many people like me who value their time to the extend that they are unwilling to go back for a stack of records at 20% off. Me, I would rather avoid crowds and support my store at full profit, so I don't bother but 'cmon, there are very few that would feel that way. You can't compete with the internet, so stop trying to do that with pricing, charge what you need to, but make sure the good stuff is in stock (don't even try telling me that you can order it on line...man that pisses me off....like we can't?....I'm here becasue I'm willing to pay more, plus tax, to have it now) and price it where you need to be to make a profit to pay your overhead. And appreciate my business and help me if I ask. My store does. I don't know how on earth they make it but I sure hope they soldier on.
    jhm likes this.
  19. with the Vinyl section encroaching on the CD section in many stores (the CD section has shrunk by almost 50% at Amoeba Hollywood California), one wonders if storage space-strapped shop owners recent made the unwise decision to scrap/landfill the Compact Discs that used to take up the largest pace in their shops?
  20. I only sense that its hard to get the "good stuff" in stock because its nearly impossible to find - and then you have to compete with fans who search Ebay/Amazon/Discogs and scoop it up online before those who browse the store can find it.

    I will give a bit of credit to Amoeba Hollywood for this: they often carry a few choice titles in their CD racks that they DON"T list on their webpage. This makes it exciting to consider browsing their store.

    As a huge fan of the band The Church - I can vouch that I've seen copies of the somewhat-rare Heyday and Remote Luxury compact discs priced anywhere between $8.99 and $17.99 - while on Amazon they'll typically be priced at $20 or higher.
  21. Marc Perman

    Marc Perman Forum Resident

    West of the Hudson
    Amoeba in Hollywood is not even in my top 10 record stores in LA.
  22. Marc Perman

    Marc Perman Forum Resident

    West of the Hudson
    Where does Amoeba hide the used vinyl copies of Led Zep, Sabbath, Neil Young, Bowie, etc.? I see virtually all reissues at the store. Unless you’re referring to CDs? If it’s a secret bin and you’d rather not say I understand :).
  23. BillyMacQ

    BillyMacQ Forum Resident

    Brooklyn, NY
    That is an EXCELLENT question. I wish I had an answer. By rights this store should have gone out of business many years ago. I have no idea how the owner keeps the doors open. I will say this for him - he does keep a lot of new releases in stock, and maybe he sells a lot of them when they first hit the shelves, but...the old bird is so inept at storing his inventory, most of the new releases wind up warped or damaged in some way and he winds up discounting them a few weeks later! It's a mad house!

    He also buys and sells lots of used CDs, DVDs, etc., but I doubt that's keeping him in business. Every two years or so, there's an article in the local papers with a sob story about how he's being forced to close the store because his landlord is increasing his rent. Then somehow like a phoenix he manages to rise from the ashes and stay open.

  24. I'd be interested in learning about some of your favorites - so long as you wouldn't be "giving away the Treasure Map" so to speak, lol!

    ( I live in San Diego, so I'm lucky if I can travel to Los Angeles and browse shops more than 1-2 times per year.
  25. Marzz

    Marzz Forum Resident

    That's great and I hope they continue to do so.
    Sadly it's not the case down here where an iconic Classical (& Jazz) music store recently closed after almost 100 years in business - and they owned the building. It's prime real estate and no doubt can be put to "better" use. There just wasn't enough demand for physical stock and for Classical/Jazz even less so.

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