the end of record shops is neigh

Tower Records, going out of business.This occurred to me last week when a number of different events came together in a blistering vision of how digital downloads will make record shops and distributors obsolete.

Kapow! Well, it wasn’t really that spectacular, but on one hand there was a thread on the gabber.org mailinglist about oldskool media sales in general (cds and vinyl) that are going down, and the fact that over the last years a number of the bigger alternative music record shops have been shutting down.

The reason for this is pretty simply. Less people are buying records apparently, and the internet is also making it hard for small local shops to compete with the online shops from all over the world, or people can buy straight from the record labels. There’s bound to be one out there that has the same record to offer, yet cheaper.

Downloads are blamed as well of course, and it’s true, and that’s where it hit me.
Materia, a drum’n’bass producer I met over the internet a number of years ago on yet another mailinglist (I tend to be on a lot of those apparently) just got a number of his tunes signed on a website which offers only digtal downloads, completely DRM-free that is, which is totally rockin’ btw.
Services like this new digital-tunes.net and existing ones like beatport.com and Warps bleep.com are simply going to replace the record shops.

The full shelves of a record shop.It sucks for the local shopkeeper, but technology always made markets shift, and shit just happened. Warp was smart enough to see that, and offer their latest releases over the internet in mp3 format (also DRM-less), and other labels are also jumping on the Warp bandwagon as well, using their web platform to sell their releases.
digital-tunes.net is offering an 80% cut of the sales made through the site for the record labels. Apparently that doesn’t suck, as I see some of the leading drum’n’bass labels like BSE recordings and Audio Blueprint have already signed up to the site and are offering releases for download.

DJs and audiophiles are not left in the cold with sites like this either, as a bleep.com and digital-tunes.net are also offering releases in the lossless FLAC audio format.
So vinyl and CDs are on their way out, and I’m not sure if I care much about it. It’s all about the music, and not the medium when it comes down to it right?

Let’s just hope that this bold new future of digital music lets the money flow where it should have been going for years already anyway : to the artists themselves.

14 thoughts on “the end of record shops is neigh

  1. Pingback: Bricolage Fantasy » Weekend Note

  2. Pingback: Bricolage Fantasy » Weekend Note

  3. n3wjack Post author

    Since vinyl is an analog medium it has it’s physical limitations, which mp3 doesn’t have.
    If you want quality in a digital file, you just have to make sure your sampling bitrate is as high as possible. 320 kbit encoding for an mp3 will give you no audible quality loss for instance.
    If you are really picky however, it’s best to consider using FLAC though, which is a non-lossy format, which mp3 is, and so is ogg.

    But when it comes to vinyl, a lot of people simply love it because of what it is I guess. In fact, it looks like vinyl will outlive the CD, and that’s cool, but in the end, digital will be the only thing remaining.

  4. n3wjack Post author

    Since vinyl is an analog medium it has it’s physical limitations, which mp3 doesn’t have.
    If you want quality in a digital file, you just have to make sure your sampling bitrate is as high as possible. 320 kbit encoding for an mp3 will give you no audible quality loss for instance.
    If you are really picky however, it’s best to consider using FLAC though, which is a non-lossy format, which mp3 is, and so is ogg.

    But when it comes to vinyl, a lot of people simply love it because of what it is I guess. In fact, it looks like vinyl will outlive the CD, and that’s cool, but in the end, digital will be the only thing remaining.

  5. Laura

    I love mp3s cos they are smaller and you can have sooo many, but my dad has a massive collection of vinyls, and although the sound quality isn’t amazing, i think only live music can beat the unmistakable sound of a vinyl. So, I kind of agree with ‘Nasty’ except I also like mp3s! :D

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