JUMPING DARKNESS PARADE: EYAL ASSERTS THAT PEOPLE NEED TO EMBRACE THE ONLINE PURCHASING OF MUSIC
Have you guys noticed how hard it is to find your favorite new metal releases in Best Buy, FYE, or any of the other big chains that are still remaining? Have you noticed that with few exceptions, bands that are used to posting respectable sales numbers are now selling fractions of what they used to? They still do great at shows. They still sell tons of merch. Everyone has their albums. Their fanbases don’t seem to be diminished. What the fuck is going on?
It’s a combination of things. Everyone knows that the market for purchasing CDs is way down. I don’t remember the exact figure, but believe me, it’s WAY down. This has caused many larger chains, like Tower, to become strictly online operations. I remember the days when going to Tower Records in any given city was always great, because they were huge and had amazing selection. Gone. Virgin is on the way out as well. The one in Paris is still kicking, but didn’t the mega store in New York City close down? [Both of the ones in NYC closed down last year. -Ed.]
With larger chains biting the dust, you can only imagine what this has done to mom and pop record stores. They’re dropping like flies. The ones that are still in business are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Right now, we’ve got a marketplace that has somewhere in the range of 40 – 50 % of the retail outlets it had only three years ago. So there’s a very limited amount of options for a CD to even be stocked. That’s one thing. Here’s the other thing. Big retailers are not interested in stocking metal releases unless there’s a guarantee of X amount of sales. For instance, if Best Buy can’t move 2,000 units of a given release in the first week they won’t stock it. This doesn’t affect the more successful bands, but what does this mean for bands that are still coming up? If Best Buy wont carry it, and most stores are R.I.P., then where do you go to get music by bands you love who aren’t necessarily huge?
In my opinion people need to embrace online ordering. Often times ordering from the band themselves will get you a better price than going to retail. There’s a stigma about ordering online, but honestly, I think that the stigma is something that was created years ago when ordering online was a bit more of a shady proposition. I believe that things have changed, because the market has forced it to change. Online music retailers HAVE to have their shit together because they realize that they are the future of selling music.
So I say this to music buyers. If you want to buy a CD by whatever artist, call the store you’re thinking of going to in advance. Make sure they have it. Don’t just rely on them having it, because most likely they won’t. The limited shelf space that’s left for physical CDs is being used for “sure bet” sales. If you’ve called the stores you want to go to and they don’t have it, just bite the bullet and order it online. There are plenty of reputable options like iTunes, Amazon, CM Distro, The Omega Order (The End Records), etc. Those of us on the music side of the fence can sit here and cry about it until we’re blue in the face, but this is reality. The days of selling a ton of CDs in stores are pretty much over, with the exception of some very huge artists. It’s best to accept reality and the evolution of music.
Same goes for the record buying public though. Is there a point in driving to every Best Buy in your area for a CD they just won’t carry? It would be best to inform yourself of who, if anyone, is even carrying the album you want. Most likely, nobody will be. Ordering music online really isn’t so bad. I have to say that I buy at least thirty albums a year on iTunes now.
Have you guys noticed any of what I’m talking about? Ever gone to store after store and not found what you’re looking for? What did you end up doing after exhausting all the options in your town?
Speaking of ordering CDs online: Levi/Werstler’s debut album, Avalanche of Worms, is out on Magna Carta, and you can order a copy here. You can also follow the project on MySpace and Facebook. Daath hit the studio next month; their new album will tentatively be out in October.