Monday, November 12, 2007

Music World to Succumb to Digital Downloading

Sadly, Music World is the latest music retailer to succumb to the growing popularity in digital music downloading. According to a report from the Globe & Mail, the company has filed for bankruptcy. Earlier this year, Sam The Record Man closed the doors to its iconic downtown Toronto Yonge St. location, leaving many a nostalgic baby boomer teary-eyed.

Although it's sad to see the effects that digital downloading is having on traditional music retailers, there's also a positive side to this story. Remember, it isn't that consumers are no longer purchasing music; it's that they're purchasing it in a whole new way. Through digital download Websites like iTunes and Puretracks. Through mobile carrier services that let you download a song straight to your mobile phone. Through custom-made CDs that are played back on a home theatre system and streamed throughout the home. Through satellite radio. Through streaming Internet radio. Through portable devices like the Sonos music system. The list goes on and on, and the opportunities at both retail and the manufacturing level are endless. We're not losing interest in music: it's just the platform for which we access and purchase it that's changing.

It is unfortunate that retailers like Music World and Sam The Record Man are feeling the brunt of this change. But there are others who manage to persevere through the storm, mainly by not focusing solely on music. Like HMV, which has managed to remain strong by expanding its offerings to include things like video games and consoles, and a massive selection of movies at varying (and often attractive) price packages. In August of this year, the retailer dropped the price of some CDs by as much as 33%!

Others have made bold moves to keep music sales up: Wal-Mart, for example, offers CDs like the new number-one Eagles album Long Road Out of Eden, at price parity with the U.S. Even non-traditional music outlets, like Starbucks, are managing to remain in the music game. Coffee house Starbucks has built digital music download stations in some U.S. stores where customers can listen to tracks, and create and purchase a custom CD while they're sipping a latte.

There is a way to stay alive in traditional music retailing: it just takes some really creative thinking outside of the box, and an entirely new business plan.

Music World stores are said to close by early next year. As of today, the company's Website simply brings up a Music World logo, but no content. It's a shame, because I did find the store a great destination for tough-to-find DVDs.

In the words of popular rock band Queen, another one bites the dust...


Simon said...

I felt sorry for Music World trying to struggle afloat for the ever popular internet music and other related things.

It failed to make that "grade" on dominating the market. First it's Sam the record man and now Music World bites the dust.

Quite impoverished times for Music World indeed.

Lee_D said...

This is a shocking development in music retailing, but only because I wasn't aware that Music World was even still in business. I thought that they evaporated a while ago!