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CLASSICAL  November 2007

CLASSICAL November 2007

Subject:

Re: Schubert String Quartets -- The Elusive No. 5

From:

Donald Clarke <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 7 Nov 2007 16:17:17 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (34 lines)

I recently wrote to a marketing executive at Barnes & Noble (haven't
heard back yet) to point out that in a lot of places nowadays (the Des
Moines area being one) the only "full service" record stores are B&N and
Borders, and that while they cannot compete with Best Buy and WalMart
on the biggest-selling pop stuff, they are not doing a good job of serving
the "long tail" in marketing terms.  The "head" of the music biz is the
pop, but it is shrinking because so many kids are downloading; the "long
tail" is the legions of people like us, who would still like to browse
in a store for jazz, classical, what have you; and classical CD sales
are holding up, relatively speaking.  One of the local B&N stores here
had a musician running the music dept for a while and he was very good
(a terrific selection of Naxos CDs) but he left; our local Borders had
a very good man for a few months but when he left the store manager there
told me that they would not bother to appoint another music manager, and
he thought that Borders would get rid of the music if they could.

The ability to special-order something at B&N isn't as good as it
was five years ago; meanwhile there is no reason to come back to one
of these stores once you've browsed there because the back stock never
changes and they don't get in enough new releases.  (Mitch's luck with
the Schubert is unusual nowadays.) They couldn't possibly sell books
this way, without deep stock and plenty of new releases, but they treat
the music like the greeting cards or the chocolates, and the music they
promote in the stores is a kind of payola -- they are paid by the record
companies.  I think they are missing a good bet, especially with the
demise of Tower.

Donald

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