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U2 in record stores, not in chain stores


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Hello U2 fans,


my name is Livia, Italy, and I recentely made the crazy decision of running my family's 50 years old record store (Casa del Disco), one of those small andhighly professional places. Our main competitors are huge chain stores, like Mediaworld and Comet (in Italy) where they mainly sell household appliance and TVsets, and, unfortunately, CDs.

The marketing strategy of these big chain stores is close to work like this: they invite customers to the store appealing them with very cheap prices of CDs.Once customers are inside they are got to see more "special prices" and are pushed to buy expensive refrigerators or kitchen robots, which are theproducts where the big stores earn more money from.


They can't be sued for unfair competition because they cut off the prices of CDs and sell them at 1cent more than the original product price. - which isthe price we (small record stores) pay for CDs and vinyl records.


They are literally killing the market of record stores, which includes the professional approach, and the cultural approach to music.

It is sad, to me, that the only future for music industry is to sell it for selling a kitchen robot, or together with a hair straightener.


What I want to say is that music, as a cultural product, is used for commercial purposes, selling more expensive household appliance.

I am starting this discussion for two reasons:


1. last time we got tripped up was last friday for U2 new album: Comet sells it to a price which is exactly 10cents more than the price we paid the distributorfor it. This happened a hundreds of times so far and there is nobody claiming this inequity.


2. I wish mr.Bono and his fans could read this post and could claim their opinion to major record companies for not killing small record stores, like the one Irun. I know I have big dreams, but that is what music can raise.


there is a story behind music, there are feelings and creativity involved. It cannot be sold together and for an ordinary refrigerator: it lives for afunction, while music exists itself as a sign of our modern times.


Hope you'll understand and let me know what you think.




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Why anyone would want to buy their music in an appliance store (e.g., Best Buy) or Wal-Mart is beyond me. Unless that's the only alternative for 200 milesaround? Then turn to the Web--and I don't mean Amazon.com, either!


Here in the US, selling CDs at cost is the "loss leader" method of drawing in customers; yes, they want to drive traffic into their big box shops,then try to steer you to buy something you never knew you wanted (until you set foot in their store). These aren't your buddies, saving you a few dollarson a new U2 CD; they're trying to get you to buy some gizmo or appliance, which would cost way more than a new CD at an indie shop. Big supermarkets dothis all the time, offering a few high-profile items (butter @ 99 cents a pound!), figuring you'll buy more once you're in the door. (Interestingly,fluid milk can't be used as a loss leader; there are federal pricing regulations that prohibit it.)


Also, I doubt that any band (even one of U2's size) can stop their (really big) label from getting their discs sold at places like Wal-Mart. In fact,Wal-Mart has emerged as such a huge music retailer, some artists (The Eagles, AC/DC, and even Bruce Springsteen, who admittedly was not happy about it) havesigned exclusive deals with Wal-Mart, meaning their new discs can only be found at Wal-Mart. (Or...hmm, used at anindie shop, if you're patient...)


If you've got a music/book/media retailer in your town, do your shopping there, and only use the "big box" stores as a last resort. It juststrikes me as odd that we live in a culture where people will pay more for, say, organic food, or environmentally-friendly products, but are still stuck in theold mentality that the lowest price is always the best option when it comes to music (or anything, really; ask me about the clothespins sometime). This sortof thing is one reason why even a city like San Francisco (my turf) is losing music shops, bookstores, comic book shops, and even a local club shut down lastsummer! Yet folks flock here because, they say, they love all the diverse culture in our city...then they pay exorbitant rents to sit in an apartment anddownload music or shop on Amazon.com. Hey, can't you do that in Wichita? Why come here if your brain is still stuck in the land of shopping malls?


Like the old song goes: "You don't know what you got 'til it's gone."


I think music buyers have to reframe their approach towards where and how they buy their music. A lot of consumers will try not to buy, say, sweatshop-madeclothes, or will make the effort to shop at farmers' markets to support local/sustainable agriculture, or will accept increased taxes if the funds areearmarked for local schools or libraries. Unless you're buying dozens of CDs every month, ask yourself if it's worth a few dollars more to keepindependent media options available in your town? Yes, even in a tough economic market.


Some stuff to look at while you think about it all:




...and the Coalition of Independent Music Stores:





-- eaplatt


PS - If your budget is busted (like so many are these days), remember that many indie shops sell used music, too!

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You are absolutely right Eaplatt,


I am glad you gave me this american insight, because Italy is getting more and more similar to the american Wal-mart model.

The links you posted though are very precious and they well explain where italian record stores lack of: sense of community. we should definitely group in anassociation that could make deals with Majors and Indies and get some benefits from keeping on selling music with a professional attitude and in a valuableplace.


thank you, keep speaking


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I think you might want to take a few ideas from the "Slow Food" movement, which I believe got its start in Italy some years ago.


A food/music analogy isn't too far out, is it? Bread but no music means you'll stay alive, but bread and music sounds better...


Consider the bread I bought tonight: Behold the $5 loaf of bread! OK, $4.80 for the loaf, so I'm rounding up here, but consider the following: It's100% whole grain. Local bakery. Bought at my local cooperatively-owned grocery. So--supports organic/smaller farmers, local businesses, local economic base(think: payroll taxes), used less energy to grow and transport, better for my health, and...tastes a lot better than the puffy white-flour bread that'ssold at the supermarket. Whew. That $5 gets spread around!


Same as when a person buys music (or books, magazines, newspapers) at independent shops: OK, so you won't be supporting organic agriculture here, but alot of local shops help "hand sell" books and music (including local talent), sponsor free in-store readings and performances, post flyers for localbands, and provide more cultural diversity than a big chain store would. By "cultural diversity" I don't just mean the old "It's aSmall World After All" schtick. No, think of places that sell vinyl, old music magazines, small/indie labels, 7" singles, etc. I went into onelocal shop (they specialize in vinyl records) and while I was looking for an old Christmas album, I wound up buying some Irish folk/rebel albums, and the clerkand I spent time listening to and discussing 60s garage bands from Michigan (my old home state) and Baltimore.


Find that at Best Buy or Wal-Mart!


Oh yeah--a lot of local music shops are regular advertisers in free/alternative newsweeklies, or college newspapers and radio stations, so they help underwritelocal media as well.


But Letterman's almost on, so enough conscious consumerism for the night...



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