OA: Rock Cesario Column February 06, 2009

Future music to be online only? I don’t think so

“Where is the music industry headed?” That is a question I have often been asked, and a conversation I have had with more than one person.

No one knows for sure, but here are my thoughts on it.

Baby boomers and their parents have purchased just about every format of music that has been made during our lives and will most likely continue to do so.

I have personally owned all formats, starting with 78s and continuing with single 45s, 33&1/3 rpm LPs, 8-tracks, reel-to-reel and cassette tapes to compact discs and now iPods.

However, my daughter told me that last year’s class of college freshmen was the first group that has never had to buy their own music.

We have already seen bigger chain stores reduce the size of their CD inventory as a result of decreased sales, and now some of these stores are closing altogether.

There is some fear that if the largest chains (Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club) decide to eliminate their CD stock, it could lead to the demise of the major labels or force labels into making the music available only as a download.

Personally, I do not see that happening. Compact disc players achieved a market penetration since their inception that was equal to the size of the turntables presence in the vinyl market in its heyday. The amount of vinyl being pressed and sold has increased over the last several years as testament to the strength of that market.

It is not just baby boomers who are buying the LPs. In fact, it is mostly people between the ages of 18–35. So I think there are always going to be labels, albeit maybe not the major labels, that will be willing to release CDs.

At Triple Play, we carry a different selection of artists than most chain stores. We try to sell artists’ music that will endure and has endured over time, so we aren’t dependent on the Top 40 for our inventory selections.

Most of the artists we stock and sell still move a fair amount of CDs and most of those have and will continue to do so. We have steadily built our store inventory to the point that we don’t have to completely depend on CD sales as much as we used to, but we will always have them in our store just as we have always had vinyl records.

In fact, our vinyl sales have been pretty good lately and that is partly due to the advent of the ION turntables that allow you to easily convert your LPs to digital files.

As a result, we are looking for LPs from particular artists. If you have any vinyl from the following artists, please bring them down to Triple Play to sell or trade: The Beatles, David
Bowie, Johnny Cash, Clash, Bob Dylan, Doors, Grateful Dead, Buddy Holly, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin Little Richard, Van Morrison, Pink Floyd, Ramones, The Who and Neil Young.

You can always give us a call to ask about other artists we might be interested in.

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts “Acoustic Sunday” from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday on Drive 105.3 FM. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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