A sad day for lovers of CD's today.
Walking into the Tower Records store today on Wabash, I found out that not only are they closing, but all of the Tower Records stores are closing across America. Their last day will be December 31st.
This shouldn't suprise you and it sure doesn't suprise me. CD sales are down big time. If you are a teenager, heck, if your any age right now, you're downloading MP3's on to your iPod. You're not paying $15-$18 for CD's anymore. If you're buying CD's, you're buying them at Wal-Mart or Best Buy.
Tower Records could never compete with Best Buy on "CD Release Tuesdays," the day that major CD releases come out. Best Buy, being a "loss leader," would offer a Beyonce CD @ $9.99. The best Tower could do would be to sell Beyonce at $11.99. The other killer in this equation is the Internet. Sites like Amazon make it more easier to get access to CD's. More importantly, if Amazon doesn't have a "new" CD, they have links which allow you to buy the CD used. As a consumer, it doesn't get any better than that. On top of that, if you're into an obscure band, the band usually offers its CD's through their own website and make it easy to get it using Paypal.
With Tower Records going away, Chicagoans will only have three major resources to buy CD's: Virgin Records on Michigan, Rolling Stone Records in Norridge, and Reckless Records.
What saddens me the most about this is that going to Record/CD stores is and has been a big hobby of mine. Since I was a teenager, I have spent hours in stores listening and getting turned on to new music. Before Tower Records was Tower, it used to be Rose Records. This is where, in 1979 I heard the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Jam for the first time.
In recent years, I would find that my favorite stores didn't carry CD's I was looking for. Getting on Amazon or CD Universe and doing a quick search would show me my CD. I was couple clicks away from getting what I wanted. I found myself going less and less to record stores.
For over 40 years, Tower Records served a purpose in peoples lifes. It was a place where like-headed people could enjoy music that brightened their days on cold January afternoons. And for that, I will always be grateful.