Thursday, February 26, 2009

Death of the Record Store

Virgin Megastore in downtown SF is closing at the end of April. That's not totally surprising, since they have been practically giving their stuff away for the past year, and it is a massive space. Also, no one buys CD's anymore. Download sales finally passed CD sales this year, and the industry has been going down for years. Taylor Hicks had the top album this week with only 62,000 units sold. That's pretty meager. Amoeba seems to be staying in business so far, but I imagine even they will have to either move to a smaller location or go out of business in the not-to-distant future.

I got a bunch of my vinyl from my parent's garage last weekend, and as I've been listening to my old punk and opera records, I was struck by how many of the places I bought the records at are no longer in business. Epicenter at 16th and Valencia, which used to sell punk records but closed in the late 90s; the record store in downtown Capitola; the Streetlight on 24th street; the record store that used to be at the corner of Haight and Masonic. Now, I (legally) download music, so I'm part of the problem, and I do appreciate how easy and simple it is. But I still buy CDs, in part because I like having the packaging and cover, and in part because I want to support Amoeba. I like looking through stacks of records. It's one of my passtimes, and it makes me sad and a little lonely to think that pretty soon I may not have that option anymore.

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