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  1. #1

    • Angel Fan MC Man
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    Another Sign Of The Times: Goodbye, Tower Records?

    I am sorry if any other threads have been started on this...after a quick search I couldn't spot any.

    In this era when music is downloaded, and readily available not only at Wal-Mart and Target but even places like Barnes and Noble and Borders, this was probably inevitable.

    But talk about the end of an era, at least in SoCal...

    A time to mourn, a time to bargain hunt

    Tower's demise saddens many loyalists. Some not-so-loyal shoppers are also left upset.
    By Chris Lee
    Times Staff Writer

    October 11, 2006

    The sign outside Tower Records' flagship store on West Hollywood's Sunset Strip underscored the mixture of disappointment and disbelief greeting the announcement on Friday that the giant music retailer would be liquidating its inventory and closing all 89 stores across the country.

    "It's the end of the world as we know it," the sign read, deliberately echoing the title of a hit song by R.E.M. "Thanks for your loyalty."

    A vigorous going-out-of-business sale was underway Monday, part of an effort by Tower's new owner, Great American Group, to offload the foundering record-store chain's assets over the next six weeks. Merchandise has been marked down 10% to 30% (with deeper discounts promised as the weeks go by), and foot traffic in the store was up by about a third, according to one employee. Despite a snaking line to the register, a somber mood prevailed — an atmosphere conjured, in part, by a baleful ballad by indie rock quintet the Decemberists on the sound system.

    But the imminent shuttering of the 46-year-old chain of megastores, one of the largest in the country, was front of mind for many customers, including West Hollywood musician Brent Heller, 37. He said he had been a regular shopper at Tower for the last quarter of a century and recalled bygone days, before the chain's music sales were eroded by the Internet and competition by big-box discount stores such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy, when Tower was a meeting spot-***-hangout for teens: a non-virtual version of Myspace.com.

    "I remember buying Bob Dylan's 'Blood on the Tracks' here, a lot of my favorite records," Heller said. "I probably make music because of what I bought here. It's an institution. I'll miss it."
    latimes.com

    A trip to the Tower store on Sunset used to be a real treat...a virtual "Disneyland" if you will for music lovers.

    Times change, But WOW.

    Another big and getting bigger player in today's music retailing: Starbucks.

    --Barry
    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

  2. #2

    • Senior Minion
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    Re: Another Sign Of The Times: Goodbye, Tower Records?

    But there's still Amoeba, and I think it's better then Tower.


  3. #3

    • Angel Fan MC Man
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    Re: Another Sign Of The Times: Goodbye, Tower Records?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stitch74 View Post
    But there's still Amoeba, and I think it's better then Tower.
    Amoeba is a great store, on Sunset not far from where I used to work at Columbia Square CBS (Gower Street). But Tower's closure is still the end of an era at least, IMHO...And may I assume that the way the Amoeba stores of the world will survive, much like local bookstores, by catering to indies, and product the mass marketers won't have...
    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

  4. #4

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    Sad Re: Another Sign Of The Times: Goodbye, Tower Records?

    The company's website doesn't even mention the store closings, so I'd guess that Tower will continue to exist as an online retailer, at least in the US (there are several Tower stores in various international markets). They just won't have any brick-and-mortar stores anymore, at least stateside.

    Sad, indeed, but the music business, and the entertainment business as a whole, has undergone tremendous changes in the last 10 or 15 years, not only due to issues in retailing and in corporate America but also due to the internet. Tower had a wonderful run as a popular retailer, but unfortunately once the internet and the huge competition from big box retailers came upon the scene, they didn't get as aggressive with their retail operations as they should have. Several funky-and-cool-but-kinda-pricier independent music stores have also been shuttering in the past few years, due to the same market forces. This has happened to book retailers and it happened some time ago to many independent video retailers (remember when the standard video retailer was a mom-and-pop operation and not a nationwide chain?).

    Sadly, while Tower did spread far and wide beyond the California market where they originated, they didn't become as ubiquitous as many of their nationwide competitors. And now this new corporation that bought their assets is doing the same sort of boneheaded decisions that Disney's been making; shortsighted, no respect for legacy business, slash-and-burn tactics. And they're losing a huge chunk of their incredibly loyal but ever-shrinking customer base. Just as a lot of us don't go to the movies anymore, a lot of us don't go to stores to buy our books or our music. Not to say nobody does, of course, but apparently not enough of us do it.

    Personally, I'm sorry to see Tower Records gone, even though I no longer live in California and don't have any Tower stores in my area. I still fondly recall the pre-DVD days in the mid-90s when I would browse the Costa Mesa store at Newport Blvd. and 17th Street (it used to be a liquor barn and before that a roller skating rink), looking through their VHS and laserdisc sections, as well as their huge music section, and the great book and magazine area. It was at that store that I discovered the illustrious Les Baxter's music (in the now out-of-print 2-CD collection The Exotic Moods of Les Baxter, which was brand new at the time) as well as Capitol Records' superb Ultra-Lounge series of CDs. That's where my affection for midcentury modern culture really began. And it was thanks to Tower Records. I used to just love going there.

    *sigh* Tower will be sorely missed.

  5. #5

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    Re: Another Sign Of The Times: Goodbye, Tower Records?

    I live about a mile away from the one of Hawthorn Bl near me..
    They do have a great sale going on now...lol
    But i don't think ill miss it, a bunch of other stores have the same stuff

  6. #6

    • Angel Fan MC Man
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    Re: Another Sign Of The Times: Goodbye, Tower Records?

    I go back to the days of the Eli Wallach Music City stores, long gone from Hollywood, and I spent my allowance on many a 45 growing up.

    The "record" stores are largely gone now because of the changing face of the business, Napster and I-tunes, WalMart and Target and BestBuy and even Starbucks.

    A question to any who wish to respond here: How do you buy your music...

    By the way, long live locally owned shops like Amoeba in Hollywood, and if you're ever in Ventura, check out Salzer's Records...it's a hoot...

    --Barry
    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

  7. #7

    • done
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    I used to go to the Sunset Tower on a regular basis, but at that time, Sunset Tower was unique. They had a great selection, and they had things you couldn't get anywhere else. And the atmosphere was fun. But then other stores popped up, most importantly for me was the Virgin Megastore on Sunset in Hollywood. That was an even bigger store with an even bigger selection, and it also had the added benefit of parking, something that was always a chore to find when it came to going to the Sunset Tower. And even though I still visited the Sunset Tower for a while after that, it started to get more run-down, and the neighborhood started to get worse, so I stopped going. I will occasionally run into a Tower now and then, but yeah, if I can get the same CD for cheaper at Best Buy, I'm going there instead.

  8. #8

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    Re: Another Sign Of The Times: Goodbye, Tower Records?

    1st, many of the Suncoast Motion Pictures closed due to BK,

    Now Tower. There is a large Tower, less than one mile away
    at a popular outdoor shopping mall. Tower always had a much
    larger selection of music and dvds, and a large selection of
    magazines. But usually their prices were quite a bit higher
    than the Target that is located right next door.

    Sun Coast Motion Pictures didn't carry as wide a variety as
    Tower, and there prices were usually higher than Target,
    also.

    It's so much more critical for stores to keep an eye out
    on what their competitors prices are. If it was only a
    dollar or 3 difference, I wouldn't mind paying that little
    extra. But when prices are consistantly $5 to $10 higher
    for a single movie, I'm not going to throw that extra money
    out the window. And I've seen some boxed sets $30 to $40
    dollars more at Tower, than I've seen at Costco.

    I recently watch a special about Wal-Mart, and how sensitive
    they are to customer supply and demand, anticipating what the
    customers needs are under various conditions, and adjusting
    their inventory, to bring in additional inventory of a particular
    product if it is selling quickly. For one example, they had noticed
    sales up pop tarts went up during hurricane/storm conditions,
    so when those conditions arose in a certain area, they knew to
    get a larger supply of Pop tarts to stores in that area.

    There is no way that Tower or Sun Coast were that efficient.
    Nor did they keep there prices in line with competition. And
    THAT is a critical error in managing the company,these days.

  9. #9

    • Grumpy old man
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    Re: Another Sign Of The Times: Goodbye, Tower Records?

    I was never a huge fan of Tower Records, I always found them to be extremely overpriced compared to my record store of choice, Rasputin music. But they were a leader in the record store companies and see them close it kind of sad. The one near me in Concord has some special meaning, I saw Joe Satriani play their live and got a CD signed by him, standing in line with a 100 degree fever. The shopping center where it was located contained a Guitar Center and a Good Guys, and as some of you know Good Guys recently went out of business, so now Guitar Center is the only store there (except Spirit Halloween Superstore which will be gone soon)

  10. #10

    • itty bitty
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    Re: Another Sign Of The Times: Goodbye, Tower Records?

    Quote Originally Posted by Radiobarry View Post

    By the way, long live locally owned shops like Amoeba in Hollywood, and if you're ever in Ventura, check out Salzer's Records...it's a hoot...

    --Barry
    I love Salzers.
    "I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it. "Groucho Marx

  11. #11

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    Re: Another Sign Of The Times: Goodbye, Tower Records?

    This makes me sad.

    Although ...

    I think I will head to Tower in Woodland Hills tonight when I go to work. Why let good music go to waste.


  12. #12

    • itty bitty
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    Re: Another Sign Of The Times: Goodbye, Tower Records?

    Quote Originally Posted by sir clinksalot View Post
    This makes me sad.

    Although ...

    I think I will head to Tower in Woodland Hills tonight when I go to work. Why let good music go to waste.
    Is that one still open? (Im guessing so since youre going there tonight)
    "I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it. "Groucho Marx

  13. #13

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    Re: Another Sign Of The Times: Goodbye, Tower Records?

    Yes, they broke the news that the Tower Records here in Fresno is going to shut down. I about cried , I always went there even when I wasn't looking to buy (but when I did buy...I bought. A lot). I would look around, see the local bands that would play in the back room of the store, talk to the employees, meet up with friends...you get the idea. I love the store for numbers of reasons, it's a great place to buy Indie music, I always found those hard-to-find movies & cds, and the people that work there are just great, so flippin' nice. It's going to be very sad when I drive by the lot and all that's going to be there is an empty red and yellow exterior. RIP Tower Records.


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  14. #14

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    Re: Another Sign Of The Times: Goodbye, Tower Records?

    When I was a younger "record" buyer, Tower Records and Rhino Records (in Claremont, CA) were my two favorite record stores. I could spend HOURS browsing at Tower, especially their import section. Rhino was and still is rather ecletical and had a large used record section. I'm sad to see Tower go. Their absence from Hollywood is like taking out the Chinese Theater.

  15. #15

    • Don't Mess With The Duck!
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    Re: Another Sign Of The Times: Goodbye, Tower Records?

    This doesn't really surprise me. Tower Records left many cities in the Bay Area a long time. Wherehouse Music followed after that, and then Sam Goody. The only way music retailers can stay afloat in this era is by offering like-prices to stores such as Wal*Mart, Best Buy, and Target. Selling a 10 track CD for $19.99 is insane. Pretty soon we'll be saying goodbye to F.Y.E. (For Your Entertainment) and the music sections of Borders and B&N if they don't lower the cost per album.

    ...Joe...

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