Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I was speaking to a friend at the weekend who had gone to Walsall to check out a couple of record shops, only to be surprised that they had both closed. I know they didn't sell 'records' in the shape of vinyl,(well actually, one of them did have a large second hand collection) but they were both independent from the big chains, Virgin, HMV, MVC, etc and if you wanted to buy something outside of the mainstream they were always worth a punt. The closure of these two shops started us thinking that record shops are really a thing of the past. If you go into Virgin or HMV the music now is almost hidden behind the racks of DVD's, and if you want anything special, jazz, blues or world music you have to start looking in the basement or hidden away in a corner somewhere. Mainstream cds are usually less than a tenner via the internet or in ASDA, Tesco or whatever, and anyway, people have got so used to downloading or copying on to blank cdr's that the medium itself must be seriously under threat. As we were ruminating on the death of the local record shop industry, a bloke walked in the pub and offered us a DVD of the new Star Wars movie for a fiver, ot three for £10 if we wanted more. Perhaps eventually the Branson empire will go the same way as Sundown and Bridge Records in Walsall.