While Tower Records collapsed when they weren't flexible enough to cope with the opportunities (and challenges) presented by the internet, we've pointed out repeatedly that doesn't mean all music stores need to go out of business. Independent music stores, in particular, have done a much better job figuring out how to adapt in the changing world. Some have become more like clubs that also sell music. Others have become their own record labels or destination sites. This difference between indies and dinosaurs like Tower may be most clearly demonstrated by the store Other Music, a popular indie record store in the East Village of Manhattan -- right across the street from where a huge Tower Records was. Going to Other Music is like a pilgrimage for many people -- though, a potentially disconcerting one, as it's not organized like other record stores. However, Wired News has an interview with the owner of the store about its efforts to offer its own online download store. They'll be selling completely DRM-free MP3s, recorded at 320 Kbps. However, more importantly, it looks like they recognize where their value comes in: in recommending good music. With so much music out there, Other Music's focus has always been on cutting through the crap and pointing you to the really good stuff -- and they're looking to do the exact same thing online. In other words, they're looking at where they can actually add value and going there, rather than fretting about how their existing marketplace has been shifting away from CDs.
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