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.


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was a factor at Tower, but iTunes is accessible whenever my computer is within reach – plus the inside of Tower is so outdated and grimy, it’s not very inviting