Brick and mortar music stores hit by streaming services

Brick and mortar music stores hit by streaming services

Brick and mortar music stores hit by streaming services

Fallen in the age of iTunes, Tidal, Spotify and Apple Music

The web has already disrupted plenty of industries – now the time has come for many brick and mortar music stores. They are facing increasing competition from digital outlets like iTunes and online streaming services like Spotify.

The evolution in the music and technology industries has forced stores like Stereo Studio, T.P Music, Axcel Music and GUF to close or heavily reduce the numbers of stores. But Denmark isn’t the only place where this trend is accelerating – even on of the most prominent high street retailer in the UK – HMV – has suffered from the trend.

This decline is directly attributable to a confluence of market factors that substantially altered the manner in which the consumers purchase and listen to music, as well as the way consumers purchase and watch movies and television series at home.

Brick-and-mortar music retailers are dying. Fast!

Brick and mortar music stores hit by streaming services

A piece of history is going away

A small piece of history is going away. What will be next? Video rental and bookstores are other prominent examples hat has been hit by the digital disruption.

Can anything stop the internet from huffing and puffing and blowing brick and mortar down?

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About The Author

Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and United Kingdom

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As a former brick and mortar independent music store owner, I can say that business model has been trending down since I sold my shop back in 2000! That was when the internet was still in it’s infancy as a music distribution outlet. Back then, our biggest threat was from big box chains like Best Buy selling the same CDs as loss leaders for what I paid wholesale.

Since I got out of the ownership side, I’ve worked for multiple record labels, managed a chain store (FYE), and worked as a field rep for my former enemy, Best Buy (actually for their music/movie vendor, Anderson Merchandisers). In the suburb of Pittsburgh that I live in, every single “record store” has shut down since I moved here in 2003. The only ones left selling CDs at all are Best Buy, Walmart and the new Target that just opened, and even those stores are providing way less floor space for music. Video stores are going the same direction with only one small rental place open locally.

Between downloading and streaming entertainment, and shopping for everything else online, I think the only retail that will survive are restaurants and coffee shops, because they provide the social gathering aspect as well as a product that won’t be as tasty by the time it’s delivered. Then again, with drones taking over for the outdated “delivery guy” — a double espresso may still be hot by the time it’s whisked to your door.

Thanks Jason for some GREAT comments and valid points

Hi Torben,

I suppose you cannot read Dutch, otherwise I would recommend you some Dutch retail LinkedIn Groups. And I also would like to recommend the books of Cor Molenaar. A Dutch Prof who has done research on this topic for many years now. I am sure you would like the posts and articles!

I agree with Jason that this situation is going on for years now and people are looking for entertainment and engagement. If they are visiting shops, they want to be advised. Their behaviour changed over the years, but unfortunately the behaviour of many retailer hasn’t changed yet. Traditional sales men are selling and not advising. And that is the other part of the problem: culture. Retailers have to undertake action to bridge the gap. But from my own experience, I know that they are changing to slow.

There is still hope for the retailers, if they start changing now and if they can fulfil the needs of the millennials.

Thanks for your post Torben!

Interestingly, the brick and mortar music stores that are staying in business are the ones that sell to less popular genres, like jazz, blues, soul, funk, and ska. Those are the genres that most fans of will tend to have larger collections. If you want to stay in business as a brick and mortar store nowadays, you need to have music that is aimed at collectors. In my hometown of Chicago, pretty much every major music store chain has gone out of business. They had a huge selection of pop/rock/rap, but their selection for blues, jazz, ska, funk, etc. was always terrible. The brick and mortar stores that are staying in business are the ones like Jazz Record Mart and Dusty Groove, who aim at buyers of those less popular music styles, because those buyers often tend to be collectors. The owner of Jazz Record Mart told me that his business has only gotten better, because all the chain stores like Tower Records, Musicland, etc., have all gone out of business, and have pretty much had any competition in the downtown area eliminated. Dusty Groove largely specializes in jazz and funk. Not only is Dusty Groove doing good business, they are in the process of EXPANDING their store.

Modern day pop music is mainly bought by people who want that one hit that’s hot right now, and they don’t want to buy a CD when they can just download it online. If you want to say in business as a brick and mortar store today, you have to have an inventory that is aimed at collectors.

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