Over the past few years, we've talked about ways that musicians and record labels can (and have) adapted to the changing music marketplace, but the case of brick-and-mortar music retailers is an one. The big players: Tower, Wherehouse and Virgin Music have mostly all disappeared. Music sales in big box retailers (Wal-Mart, Best Buy, etc.) remain narrowly focused on top hits and don't get much shelf-space (Best Buy recently announced plans to cut music inventory by half). However, smaller, indie record shops have been learning to adapt. More than five years ago, we wrote about some indie shops recognizing that they needed to become more of a destination
, rather than a "record store." And over the years, we've seen more
stories of smaller record stores learning to adapt.
The latest, sent in by Dave W
looks at a bunch of shops in the UK that appear to have realized that they need to completely change
-- including one that's really focused on being a destination for people to hang out and buy coffee... while hearing music (often live music) and then selling only special
physical goods: limited edition box sets and vinyl. And, apparently for some of these shops, business is better
than before. Despite the disappearance of regular CD sales, they've more than made it up selling other music-related goods. It's about recognizing that people still do want physical goods, but they view it as a souvenir
, to show support for the musicians, rather than buying "the music" itself. The music, to them, is free. But that doesn't mean they won't pay for goods of value. And retailers can absolutely support that new market as well.