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Author: Subject: The end of Tower records?

Peach Extraordinaire





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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 06:03 AM
The 89-store Tower chain -- like nearly every other specialty music retailer -- has experienced big setbacks recently. Just two years ago, the company went through a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing.

The company never regained its footing in the crashing music marketplace. The major news at last week's National Association of Recording Merchandisers convention in Kissimmee, Fla., was word that the Sacramento-based firm had been put on hold by its major suppliers after saying it was unable to pay its bills.

The amount of money that Tower owes evidently is staggering. One confidential source familiar with Tower's balance sheet put the company's debt to Warner Music Group's distributor WEA Corp. at $20 million. The same source said that one sizable independent distributor was owed $2 million.

With a little extrapolation, it is not difficult to surmise that Tower's current indebtedness may be as high as $100 million.

Most NARM attendees -- a group not known to harbor illusions -- believed that another Tower bankruptcy filing is imminent. Those with the bleakest view maintained that this time around, absent a buyer for the severely leveraged chain, a Chapter 7 liquidation could be in the offing.

Many reacted to this scenario with horror. One afternoon late in the convention, I came across two independent retailers crouched on a divan in the empty halls of the Gaylord Palms Resort's convention center. The music business is not without its schadenfreude, but these savvy pros understood that Tower's woes could have an impact resonating well beyond the immediate fate of the chain itself.

Tower Records is an anomaly: In an industry almost entirely dominated by mall operations (both specialized entertainment shops and mass merchants), it's the last free-standing deep-catalog chain. Over the course of its 46-year history, it became known as the place to go for the erudite record shopper. In its heyday, it was a pure reflection of the taste and intelligence of its founder Russ Solomon.

Those indie retailers recognized that if Tower goes away -- and that is a distinct possibility -- it will be one more gloomy signal to the American consumer, who knows the Tower brand better than any competing retail logo, that the music business as we know it is over. And that's bad news for everybody.


 
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True Peach



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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 06:45 AM
We had a Tower Records here in Toronto a few years back and it was my favorite music store in the city, stuff you couldn't find anywhere else. Closed down after a couple of years, too bad, I really liked it
 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 07:53 AM
There is a Tower Records in Broadway just down the street from the Beacon . . . I have found many good CD's in that store on my March trips over to NYC that are not easily available in the UK . . . it would be a real shame if that shut down

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 08:19 AM
Obviously one will be able to find anything via downloading or internet based music stores. But its sad that the unique pleasure of searching for music in a record store is going the way of the dodo bird. Its a great feeling to enter a record store with its stacks of music and feel that vibe of anticipation versus uncertainty of finding something cool.
 

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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 08:47 AM
Going to Tower records growing up was like a ritual. Any time we had extra money we'd buy CD's there and they always had stuff the other stores didn't. The one downtown in NYC is great.

Yeah, I'll miss the certain charm and ritual of going to the record store but the industry has churned out so much crap for years that they brought it upon themselves in a lot of ways.

I haven't purchased music in a store in quite some time. Looking forward to 8/29. New Crowes and Dylan on the same day. And the New Mule is out soon. Will probably buy more CD's in the next 2 months than the past year.

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 10:05 AM
Amazon and other online, downloading services like itunes have really hurt retail sales.

A change is gonna come.

moogis

 

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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 10:07 AM
JW:

We still have Joe's Record Paradise and Orpheus Records.

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 10:52 AM
Although I buy music on-line, I'll never stop being a record store browser. You see things and get deals that you never would've thought of. Let's hope that Tower is salvaged, but if not, at least here in San Jose, we've got two independents within a couple of miles.

 

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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 10:57 AM
quote:
We still have Joe's Record Paradise and Orpheus Records.



Quite true, KR, but I hate coming inside the Beltway. Going to miss the Towers Record's store in Fair Oaks as like many have already stated, because of it's "deep catalog" of CDs you can find just about anything there. But truth be told, lately, I've been buying most my CDs at places like Barnes and Nobles and Borders. Both stores have a decent selection of quality CDs and both stores are good about ordering CDs that don't have, if a customer request them.

 
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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 11:02 AM
Orpheus is a block from the Metro. And next door is the Queen Bee, a great Vietnamese restaurant. I usually make an event out of it.

Joes is a bit further, but again I wait until I am ready to splurge. Plus they both have vinyl.

Of course now you know why I did not jump at at the chance at seeing Willie Nelson and John Fogarty together.

 

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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 11:15 AM
There was a time when Tower killed the independents and other smaller regional chains like King Karol. It's just the natural progression of things.

Everything will be through digital downloading in a few years anyway. The labels might as well just close their doors too cause they aren't needed anymore either. Now it is up to the artist to develop their ties to their fan base. If they don't they will be gonners too.

Look at something like My Space. There are 20 year olds with over 200,000 "friends," where as the Mule has like 20,000. The signs of the future are here and all we need to do is open our eyes.

Nuff said.

 

Universal Peach



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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 11:24 AM
It's my understanding that Tower was one of only 3 companies that handled national distribution for all labels. Anybody have any info on this? Thanks.
 
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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 11:32 AM
quote:
There is a Tower Records in Broadway just down the street from the Beacon . . . I have found many good CD's in that store on my March trips over to NYC that are not easily available in the UK . . . it would be a real shame if that shut down


I think thats located right next to Washington Square Park, if I am correct. Tower Records is a great place to get your CD's if not the best. They are a bit pricy when it comes to some CD's though (e.g. they were selling Let it Be for $18.99 ) Just 3 weeks ago I got Songlines Live for $10 and Phish Live in Brooklyn for only $20. Great deals.

 

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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 11:54 AM
1) Tower Lincoln Center
1961 Broadway
New York, NY 10023
(212) 799-2500

2) Tower Trump Tower
721-725 5th Avenue at Trump Tower lower Garden
New York, NY 10022
(212) 838-8110

3) Tower Village
692 Broadway
New York, NY 10012
(212) 505-1500



 

Peach Master



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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 02:20 PM
I spent many a late night in the 80’s at the Tower on Broadway in NYC, like a kid in a candy store.

Plus, that was sort of my “intro” to SOHO and “cool” downtown NYC life.

LOL at myself now but that’s the way it was for me back then.

I feel kind of guilty now when I go to Amazon and buy with one-click, but it is so easy and saves so much time.

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 02:36 PM


Man, first CD World and now Tower Records (possibly) leaving Cherry Hill

I better use that gift card I have.... pronto!

 

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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 02:39 PM
Any Connecticut fans here should check out Gerosa Records on the Danbury/ Brookfield border. Excellent prog rock and jazz sections, loads of used vinyl and CDs and magazines and posters, some hard-to-find DVDs etc. Thy had expanded in the 90s and have lately shrunk down in size due to the competition (new Circuit CIty and Best Buy in town etc) but they do a lot of business on eBay selling things there. Great store, great guys.
 

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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 03:19 PM
Bummer...I used to shop the Tower in Nashville,& I still order from them on-line all the time...always get my order in 4 days !!!! My fav. chain used to be PEACHES...anyone remember that chain?? Used to love keeping my LP's in those Peache's crates....

 

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Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 03:32 PM
quote:
Bummer...I used to shop the Tower in Nashville,& I still order from them on-line all the time...always get my order in 4 days !!!! My fav. chain used to be PEACHES...anyone remember that chain?? Used to love keeping my LP's in those Peache's crates....


Hey Hugh....I'm fan of the Nashville store myself.......Do ya remember Cats Records ?
I still have a Cats crate.... .... Had a buddy who worked at the distributor in Atlanta
& was always bringing me stuff before release

 

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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 03:33 PM
sad day if true...spent many an hour there looking thru the racks
 

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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 03:45 PM
quote:
it's the last free-standing deep-catalog chain.


I too shopped at Tower Records for a brief time. While I certainly mean no disrespect to any of you and the memories you harbour of your experiences with them I say I'm not shedding any tears over this.

Quite frankly, give me a Ernest Tubb, Village Records, Wuxtry, Wax-n-Facts, Paradise or Waterloo Records or any retail outlet individually and locally owned, as well as staffed by a musically knowledgeable and intelligent staff. Yeah, someone who can really help me find that record by the non-mainstream artist - that they're probably familiar with. Rather than some kid, and I do mean kid, with spiked purple hair, dark eye-liner and tough to look at piercings - who's best shot at it is to take me to the area in the alphabet I already tried.

After all, if I'm gonna pay $18.99 or $19.99 for a new cd - I'd proudly pay that to my the merchant down the street who's in business because they love music and they want to make a buck, rather than a big box chain staffed by little johnny or jane during their summer vacation - not if I can help it. Also, these type stores and not the big box chains, are the stores that are more likely to be supporting local talent by stocking their cd's too.

More and more though, I'm coming to rely on my own knowledge of music to either buy direct from the artist or save a significant amount of money purchasing on line.

Again, absolutely no disrespect intended to any of the previous opinions. But I won't miss Tower Records.

 

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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 04:13 PM
There,s some in The Chicago area I think, but none near where I live!
 

Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 06:37 PM
quote:
Hey Hugh....I'm fan of the Nashville store myself.......Do ya remember Cats Records ?

Cat's turned into Turtles which turned into cd wharehouse and then back to Cat's. I not sure what it's called now.

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 8/10/2006 at 06:39 PM
quote:
quote:
Bummer...I used to shop the Tower in Nashville,& I still order from them on-line all the time...always get my order in 4 days !!!! My fav. chain used to be PEACHES...anyone remember that chain?? Used to love keeping my LP's in those Peache's crates....


Hey Hugh....I'm fan of the Nashville store myself.......Do ya remember Cats Records ?
I still have a Cats crate.... .... Had a buddy who worked at the distributor in Atlanta
& was always bringing me stuff before release


Yes,Mike,I sure do....A CATS store opened on Galatin Pike in Nashville about a year before I moved away.I bought the 1st DTB cd there,& they had a great selection of Qicksilver ,Airplane,& all the Psychadelic Era bands....I dug that store also...my absolute favorite store was,& still is,"The Great Escape" (both location's).My Son & I drive up every so often,just to go there.

 

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  posted on 8/11/2006 at 01:21 AM
I was thinking only yesterday how the first Virgin Records stores in the UK were just the coolest places to go - laidback (stoned?!) staff, imports, cutouts, funky non-existent decor!

Now they are part of a global megabrand, indistiguishable from HMV, Sam Goody blah blah blah.

I always shop in Tower when I have the choice but the store in London - in Piccadilly Circus - was taken over by Virgin!

 
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