Tuesday, 8 June 2004

Death Knell for retail

Since the internet became popular, nigh on a decade ago, critics and sceptics have been foretelling the demise of retail - or bricks and mortars stores as Internet wags like to call them.

Today, the BBC has jumped on the bandwagon in an article forecasting the demise of the retail record store. Unfortunately, unlike other industries - books, fashion, etc. - the demise of the bricks and mortar stores isn't down to more efficient distribution of physical product (i.e. Amazon.co.uk), rather a complete change to the whole delivery method.

Supermarkets are cheaper for chart material than HMV and Virgin could ever be, due to the ability to soak up loss leader losses in high markup groceries. The main problem, however, lies in the fact that the industry sees the future of music in downloads. You don't need a physical store to sell these.

Personally, I love perusing a record store - more the used ones, cuz they're like a box of chocolates. Of all the retail institutions to bite the dust, I wish it was shoe shops. I just don't understand the need to own hundreds of pairs of shoes.

Monday, 7 June 2004

Am I Desperate?

On the weekend I stumbled onto the website for the band Client. I've been there before, but like most band websites I don't go back unless prompted by email or newsgroup message to some wonderful new piece of content there.

This time, it was the promise of streaming remixes for their new single In It For The Money. A few minutes later (and with the aid of an audio capture program) I had the 12" only mixes in glorious MP3 format. Not the greatest quality, but better than the alternative.

Anyway, I digress.

While perusing the site I came across a most interesting area. For Client's last album, there were a number of 12" and promo only remixes that were made. It seems someone at Toast Hawaii (or Mute) came up with the great idea of making these promo mixes available for download.

There's nine promo mixes and you can either pic'n'choose the tracks at 1 quid each or take the whole "remix album", called Going Down, for 5 quid. The whole package even includes a booklet you can print off.

Not only is this cheaper than buying said product in HMV - if it were available - it's also a great use of the download platform. For two long I have lamented these online stores selling the same old dross you can get in record stores, ignoring the hard to get material. I'm not a huge fan of the DRM-infected download, but the package is intriguing.

More of this and I may be pursuaded to change my ways. After all, it's about getting the music and not forking out hundreds of pounds to eBay bandits for a promo CD single with one exclusive remix.