NYCD: The Blog

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Since Christmas, CD sales have been in freefall. Is this the end of the music business as we know it? Or is it just a really crappy time for pop music?

Since the Thanksgiving week flood of new releases by megastars from the Beatles to Jay-Z, all's been quiet on the pop front. A little too quiet. I mean, take a look at the album chart and tell us what's gonna make Mr. and Miz Middle America go to their local record store, Wal-Mart, or iTunes.
Dreamgirls -- the soundtrack to a movie based on a Broadway musical from 25 years ago. Thrilling. Daughtry -- cookie-cutter hard shlock from the American Idol winner. The Shins -- excellent album, but not the kind of thing that will get the attention of non-music geeks. A Disney soundtrack, Justin Timberlake, Akon... YAWN.

There's always great music that's out there under the radar. It's our job as retailers to get people to listen to stuff they normally wouldn't know about. We could talk all day about James Hunter or the Twilight Singers or the Essex Green or dozens of other current artists we love. But we need something to get the people in the shops or on the websites in the first place, and that something is the big chart hits. In our heyday, people came into NYCD to buy Alanis Morissette or Pearl Jam, but walked out with a half dozen other CDs, many of which they may not have heard of when they walked in. It's a lot harder for us to turn people on to music that's not so popular when they're not interested in the music that is popular.

So where are the new, fresh young faces that will wake us all up from our stupor and get us excited to buy music again? No doubt they're out there on a page someplace, but will the right people hear them and bring them to the jaded masses? Do these young musicians even care if their music gets heard on the radio or if their physical CDs make it into physical stores? Or is the system so broken that we're going to be stuck with the same artists making the same music, until the last person stops listening and buying? And when that happens, who's gonna tell Hinder or Nelly Furtado to turn out the lights and lock up?


Blogger Michael in New York said...

Whatever. Do you know when those Beatles reissues are coming out?

P.S. It's also gotta be hard to get people in the store to buy that hit CD and then turn them on to four or five other artists when you don't have a store. I don't buy any catalog that's not "current" anymore (ie just reissued) because I can't stumble on it while browsing the racks either from you (sniff) or Tower Records (sniff). I'm assuming your sales are down AND ytour average purchase total per customer rate is down because of this too -- ie. fewer customers spending less money each trip. Is there any advantage to being Internet only, other than the fact that people might buy that High School Musical soundtrakc they'd be too embarrassed to bring to the register?

12:38 AM  
Blogger NYCD Online said...

You, Michael, are one of the very few people who can get away with saying "Whatever," because you buy a good chunk of what comes out every single week. If everyone (anyone?) was like you, nobody who works in the music biz would be tearing his or her hair out wondering how we're all going to survive. The problem is, instead of being one of many, you're now an endangered species.

The advantage of selling online as opposed to having a store is that we have about the same number of people coming into our office as came into our store towards the end -- very few. But now, instead of having to cater to one increasingly music-apathetic neighborhood, our marketplace is the entire Web-savvy world. Which sucks in one respect, because it's a lot more fun selling CDs in a store, to human beings, than in an office via the Web. And it's more enjoyable telling people about exciting new music over the counter instead of on our blog.

But now, instead of having a store full of merchandise and nobody interested in buying it, we're always worrying that we don't have enough discs to sell to all the people who want them. Which is why you and everyone reading this should sell us your CDs and DVDs NOW! (Or trade them in for credit so you can buy the High School Musical CD.)

6:49 AM  
Blogger Meanstreets said...

MEANSTREETS to mention NYCD at the " South by Southwest " Music Festival in Austin, Tx next week week.........
Expects " free beer " in return....
Maybe not..........

7:24 PM  

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