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DEATH OF A SALESPERSON: “No, I’m Sorry, We Will Never Have ‘Nice Music’ AGAIN”

tower-leaning.jpgSARAH SHERR REPORTS: With just four days left to go, the Avenue of the Arts Tower Records isn’t even a shell of its former self. It’s the Pennsauken Mart.

The second floor is no more. It once housed DVDs, Jazz, Vocals, New Age, Folk, Blues, Comedy and Kids. What little of it is left is now on the first floor. Before this everything-must-go transformation, the Jazz guy and the Goth kid from the DVD department were working side by side, a sitcom waiting to happen. The Classical department consists of one bin in the front of the store, much to the dismay of our loyal classical customers, who have few brick and mortar alternatives.

Our mighty R&B section, the first to go, is now an afterthought in a bin next to Latin CDs and DVDs. R&B fans still approach the section thinking, “No comprende, it’s a riddle.” All that’s left in the rap section are unknown West Coast gangsta CDs for a dollar. Celly Cell, anyone? Keak Da Sneak? How about Chuck Nutt for grandma? The idea is to slowly move the product to the front of the store. But for now, shoppers jostle one another for Operatica and George Strait Christmas CDs and straight-to-DVD titles.

Since it’s Christmas, there are always those customers who never set foot in a record store until family members send them in with incomprehensible lists. Not only do they have no idea what their children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews want, they’re shocked that we’re going out of business. It used to be my job to explain their children’s musical tastes, now I’m just Dr. No — as in, “Do you have this?” “No.” One woman came in over the weekend, and I felt sorry for her. She asked, oh so sweetly, “Do you have any nice music?” And I said, “No, I’m sorry, we’ll never have nice music again.”

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5 Responses to “DEATH OF A SALESPERSON: “No, I’m Sorry, We Will Never Have ‘Nice Music’ AGAIN””

  1. slintyfresh Says:

    I wish Tower could remain in its current state forever. I was out the other night just to catch a glimpse of Frank Stallone on the red carpet down the street and afterwards I slunk into S&C. It’s beautiful. It’s like an art installation. It’s the island of misfit green lights. Who are these artists? Why were so many of their CDs ordered? How many heads rolled in the music industry because of these colossal misjudgments? I started to get a throbbing boner just thinking about it, so I had to leave before I soiled this pristine jewel.

    Don’t worry, though. As long as Soul Dance is still on Channel 44, we’ll always have the music. And the Willingboro Grand Marketplace ads.

  2. Ross Says:

    Working in a once-mighty, going-out-of-business record store during holiday shopping season must be a truly Sedarisonian (Sedaris-like?) experience.

    This week, I walked past the vacant South Street location and had a flashback of walking in there circa 1989 and seeing, for the first time, how all LPs were gone and replaced by CDs (In the old fashioned oblong cd boxes). I had seethed with rage at the loss of my beloved records and decided CDs were a conspiracy to force everybody to upgrade to expensive stereo equipment. “Feh! I’ll never do it” I thought.

    I also recently walked past the Gap on Walnut Street and remembered how HMV had built that fancy new building just for their flagship Philadelphia store. When it opened, Walnut Street was still sort of dumpy and damn–HMV was such a sleek, dreamy place. I could spend hours exploring it. So much college loan money spent foolishly on music. But I loved it.

    Now I buy and trade music on the internet and only set foot in music stores when they’re going out of business. It’s sort of like consumer’s revenge for me, but I still feel sad at the loss of retail stores.

    iTunes just doesn’t hold the same sort of thrill.

  3. mBeck Says:

    I made a run at the Broad st. Tower 2 weeks ago (said hello to Sara too). bought a stack of OK stuff including the remastered version of Jethro Tull’s 1982 last gasp ‘Broadsword and the Beast’ . . .

    I had to buy one as I always liked my vinyl version of it and this had 8 bonus tracks! (review: it doesn’t really hold up all these years later. heh heh)

    anyways ON TOPIC, in the racks of Tower there were 24 copies of this forgotten LP!


    now that’s deep catalogue!
    . . . says alot of good and bad about Tower and music store commerce

  4. Phawker » Blog Archive » DEATH OF A SALESPERSON: All Things Must Pass Says:

    […] BY SARA SHERR The Tower Records at Broad and Chestnut was scheduled to close on Friday, Dec. 22. Instead, the doors shut late Wednesday night after an independent Virginia record retailer bought up the last of the remaining stock, which really wasn’t much by then. Two similar mass purchases had occurred earlier in the week, one from a New Jersey record store owner who bought up a bunch of major label stuff (which means a lot of Daniel Powter and Ashley Parker Angel, and returns for credit! Smart cookie!) The other was an unknown company which volunteered to take the bulk of our Bayside stock off of our hands. We boxed it up and sent it off to a warehouse at an undisclosed location in Illinois. Thank you, mystery crap collectors! If you can sell this stuff to anyone, you deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, or whatever it is they give out to Purveyors of Poop. Tower certainly could have used your advice. […]

  5. Phawker » Blog Archive » LIVE REVIEW: J-Garofalo, Theater Of Arts, Last Night Says:

    […] BY SARA SHERR When you see Janeane Garofalo up close, the first thing you notice is how tiny she is. While standing in the box office line, I saw The Heroine To Stubby, Smart-Ass Girls Everywhere walk on by in a knit cap, leather jacket, black-and-white hounds tooth pants, and the exact same face from the 90s: porcelain skin, red lips, and cat-eye glasses. […]

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