Ballroom Dancing

SXSW Panels

Ballroom Dancing
Photo By Gary Miller

The Relevance of Retail

Austin Convention Center, Friday, March 16

The biggest problem in the music business today is that of retail. Record stores are closing, CD sales are down, and the recent bankruptcy of the Tower Records chain has shaken the industry to its core. Industry vet Clay Pasternack decided to concentrate on the positive by focusing on the relative successes offered by John Kunz of Austin's Waterloo Records and Kara Lane of California's Amoeba Music. Lane stressed that they survived by being "more than a record store," to which Kunz chimed in with his idea that, "A music store is like a town hall – a community meeting place." Jo Lenardi of Barsuk Records offered a label perspective with "all I hear from stores is 'cheaper!'" All agreed that despite ongoing sales decline, record stores aren't going away, although Kunz said that the idea of "big box" stores whittling down their music departments to a kiosk in the future is a real possibility.

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