Record: Stores not dead yet Vinyl conflict
Patrick Burns. Intelligencer Journal. Lancaster, Pa.: Jan 23, 2007. pg. A.7
Mark Glessner, owner of 52-year-old Stan's Record Bar, might be considered the grandfather of all the local independent record shops. Unfortunately, there are no grandchildren to speak of. "Fourteen years ago there were 5,000 record stores in this country," Glessner said. "As of last month there are less than 1,800." Of the handful of record stores remaining in Lancaster County, only Stan's and Record Connection in Ephrata Township can be considered true specialty music retailers. Glessner, who in 1980 purchased Stan's, 48 N. Prince St., said the pending doom of the record store became evident in the early 1990s. That's when the recording industry hinted it was losing interest in its traditional record shop distribution system. Wal-Mart, Target, Circuit City and Amazon.com now account for about 62 percent of all music sold in the United States, not counting download sales, Glessner said. "Before, record companies would call and ask how a new album was selling and ask if you needed anything like posters to help sales," Glessner. "But they stopped calling in 1995." Stan's survives by selling used CDs and records. It stopped selling new releases when Wal-Mart began selling CDs cheaper than the wholesale price offered to Glessner. Andy Kamm, owner of Record Connection since 1984, has endured by positioning his store early on as a niche business selling vinyl albums. Customers come from all over the world, and Kamm replenishes his inventory at music shows, auctions and estate sales. Both Kamm and Glessner agree the death of the record store occurred because of the saturation of big-box retailers, a shift to cybershopping and, of course, the advent of computer music downloads - legal and illegal. Kamm said last month's death of 46-year-old Tower Records - which had been on life-support since filing bankruptcy in 2004 - marked the end of an era.