The shutters will come down on two BPM record shops
Another week, another story about record shops closing down. This week, BPM Records announced it is to shut its shops in Wexford and Waterford.
No prizes for guessing why these outlets are going out of business: competition from internet outlets and especially multinational supermarkets is killing off the music business as we’ve known it for the past few decades. The way things are going there will be only a handful of stores open by the time Record Store Day rolls around in April.
But while there may be a limited future for the traditional record shop, this doesn’t mean some folks aren’t fighting back. Last September, New York hip-hop mecca Fat Beats shut its bricks-and-mortar store and concentrated on flogging tracks online. Once every few months, though, Fat Beats returns to the world of physical retailing via a pop-up shop at its Brooklyn warehouse.
It’s not the only music retailer in the pop-up business. Since yesterday, The Vinyl Factory has taken up lodgings in London’s St Martin’s Lane Hotel, from where it will sell records for the next three months. Those who drop by can buy limited-edition vinyl releases by Massive Attack, Pet Shop Boys, Bryan Ferry, Duran Duran, David Lynch, Grace Jones, Hot Chip and others.
Such retail innovations really are the only way to go. Sadly there’s just not enough demand to warrant keeping a shop that only flogs music open, unless you have a generous, deep-pocketed patron paying your bills.
There is still a demand for music but, as with so many sectors that have seen their business models upended by the internet, the shops can no longer rely on customers coming to them. If you want to stay in the game, you have to change the way you play.
Record Store Day: could be a quiet affair as shops continue to go out of business