Tag Archives for " record stores "

Amoeba Music Can Now Sell Weed Too

amoeba music marijuanaIn what seems to be a match made in heaven, the Amoeba Music record store based in Berkeley, CA can soon begin selling marijuana as well. An Amoeba employee leaked the announcement on Facebook, according to Fact. It’s been reported that the store intends to put a dispensary where its current Jazz Room is now located to handle the sales.

While Amoeba is still one of the largest record store chains still left standing in terms of overall sales volume, it only generates about half the revenue that it did in 2008, according to co-founder Marc Weinstein.  If there ever was a product that was perfect for a brick and mortar store, it’s marijuana, and for many, there’s no better place to distribute it than a record store. Amoeba already houses a medical marijuana doctor, which would make it a one-stop-shop so to speak, although that could be a moot point since a referendum for  total legalization of the weed is on the ballot in November.

Of course, the big problem with music sales is still the convenience of the format, and streaming has physical product beat no matter how baked you are. That said, Amoeba’s move could predict a wave of the future for record stores in general, where marijuana dispensaries sell music, and record stores house dispensaries. Either way, you’d have to believe that the foot traffic through a record store would improve dramatically thanks to weed availability.

Amoeba Music’s dispensary doesn’t yet have an opening date though, since it has a number of permits still pending from Berkeley’s Department of Planning and Development. It’s still only a matter of time before Berkeley, and Amoeba, leads the nation on this front once again.

Warners Stops Selling To Small Record Stores

Small Record StoresIn another blow to the mom and pop music store, Warner Music has cut off more than 100 accounts that do less than $10,000 in business per year with the company, according to a post on Pitchfork. That means that in order to have a direct account with Warners to get the best pricing, a store must now do a minimum of $10k per year.

Small stores that can’t hit that limit will still be able to sell Warner products, but it will cost them more, as they’ll now have to purchase from a third party instead. This extra cost will inevitably be passed on to the customer.

The music business, especially the major labels, have always undervalued small retailers, favoring large chains back when they ruled, to the megastores of Walmart and Target today. That said, the lifeblood of the industry has always been the small local retailer, where many artists get their starts with their self-made products.

Today the local record retailer is mostly in the vinyl business, as CDs have fallen deeply out of favor. That said, not all of the accounts shuttered by Warners sold vinyl, and according to the company, about a third hadn’t ordered any in about a year. The company also said that not all were record stores and that some, in fact, were museum gift shops.

Many small record stores who made the cut are nonetheless shaken, and fear that the minimum sales level will continue to rise. If that’s the case, it would put many stores out of business, an ironic self-fulfilling prophecy where the industry complains about not enough sales, but willing buyers can’t find a place to browse product and make the purchase. The same thing happened with the CD, which could have had a much more gradual decline than it’s experiencing had there been more stores with available product. The same might happen again in the vinyl world.

Record Store Day May Have Peaked

Record Store Day PeakedSince 2008, Record Store Day every April has been a huge hit. In fact, many in the music industry feel that it’s been a big reason for vinyl’s resurgence, calling attention to a side of the business that had been essential dead and buried and has now returned to a level of surprising growth. Even though the latest Record Store Day a couple of weeks ago was proclaimed the biggest ever, there’s evidence that we might’ve seen its peak.

One of the best things about RSD was that the small Mom & Pop record store was celebrated, but this time many of these stores refused to join in the festivities because they now feel it’s been totally co-opted by the major labels.

The reason is that in order for a store to officially participate in the event, they are forced to purchase a slew of “official” new vinyl releases, which they’re not able to return if unsold. This has imparted an undue financial burden upon already cash-strapped stores which many are now unwilling to take.

While many vinyl fans do look for new or re-released titles, most record stores make their living on used or early edition releases, and find that new vinyl just doesn’t sell in the quantities that the labels require them to take for the event (the big indies are complicit here too).

Small indie labels and artists are also upset too, in that the major labels tie up all the vinyl pressing plants for months prior to RSD, so they’re not able to have new vinyl ready for the event.

So like with so many other movements that start off with the best intentions, Record Store Day has been co-opted by big business, and as a result will soon cease to be the event that it once was. Let’s hope that the indie record stores find other ways to maintain their visibility so they can still stay in business.