It’s sad to see Tower Records go out of business Tower was always one of my favorite music stores when I lived in NY – I could always browse the aisles and find something interesting or new to listen to. Today however, people find out about new music on podcasts, myspace, itunes, sirius, npr – not at Tower Records.

I visited the store in SF down the block from me, and after taking a quick walk-through, it was all too clear why they went out of business. Tower was always known for a large, diverse selection. However, the ‘Tower Staff Recommendation’ rack had the most common albums – ” Michael Jackson’s Greatest Hits Prince’s Greatest Hits The Eagles Greatest Hits and of course American Idol albums and country CDs.

!http://art.towerrecords.com/stores_new/sf_jones.jpg!

The worst part of this experience, however, wasn’t the lame selections, but rather the “marked down” prices. For example, the latest Gorillaz album had a normal price of $18.99, and was marked down to $15.50. I was shocked they were so high — I thought CDs costs around $13. When I got home, the same CD was on sale at iTunes or $12.99 (high for online prices, right?).

Anyway, things that can be learned from Tower:
* the long tail is longer online and physical stores can’t beat variety available online
* i might not fit the profile of someone who views the ‘staff recommendation’ rack; however, Amazon never show’s me a product page that isn’t personalized just for me and my interests
* you can’t charge 40% more than your competitor (unless you offer another unique benefit to the consumer)
* convenience was a factor at Tower, but iTunes is accessible whenever my computer is within reach – plus the inside of Tower is so outdated and grimy, it’s not very inviting