Main | Monday, October 09, 2006

Tower Toppled

In what many music industry insiders consider the final nail in the music retail coffin, Tower Records was liquidated on Friday after a couple of years of operating in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. All stores immediately put up their "Going Out Of Business" signs, including New York's Broadway store, pictured above. This leaves only Virgin Records, with 20 stores nationwide, as a significant deep-catalog music retailer, as what few mall-based music stores still exist typically only offer the top chart hits.

As Tower's liquidators begin to reduce outstanding debts by returning mass quantities of product to the labels, this will likely put numerous small labels out of business. Tower's distribution arm, Bayside, served as the warehouse agent for many niche labels entire product lines. This happened in 2001, when Valley Distributors, my employers in San Francisco, went bankrupt. So many longstanding small labels were taken down then, and it appears about to happen again. Among my responsibilities, I was our rep to the northern California Towers, so I know a lot of really good people that are losing their jobs. Tower always seemed like a pretty decent place to work, the stores kept their managers for many years, always a good sign. We felt so bad for Tower, Farmboy T and I walked in a bought a CD. In person. In a store. Old school. What a sad day for music lovers.

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