Friday, January 30, 2009

How many shops?

By the end of this year, I reckon that there may be just 25 shops left seriously selling jazz in this country. That's not based on any actual scientific calculation but just a sign of where things are. Zavvi has now gone, and I think that HMV will just sell jazz at 150 Oxford Street. Elsewhere, who knows?
Remember, that this collapse is not due to the digital revolution, though it was hastening its demise, but rather the recession. Especially the collapse of Woolworths and EUK. Digital is still not well enough developed to pick up the slack - certainly financially - leaving music to be sold at gigs, or by venues. We'll be back to grass roots where jazz will be sold by a few knowledgable people. Hurray! For example, Tim Berne, at the Vortex tonight with Buffalo Collision, has stopped selling CDs via distributors, concentrating on gigs and mail order. So has Barry Green. One of the best sellers at my shop is a new album by Liane Carroll with John Etheridge. Again, not available in stores. So, I'll have more and more fun as a retailer, but I'll be frustratedly continuing to release some great albums which no-one will be able to find. (What's new?) Amazon will of course thrive, but the personal touch will have been lost!
Blame the lazy majors who lost track of real music years ago and lost track of their audience.

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