Adapt or Die Part 2
Over the weekend, I interviewed someone who was buying pop music back in the 1950s, and was reminded that, back then, record stores barely existed. Music fans acquired their vinyl in what now seem the unlikeliest places – furniture stores, appliance stores, candy stores and the like. (This was not unconnected to the fact that companies like RCA-Victor and CBS-Westinghouse manufactured fridges, TVs, and radios.) It wasn’t so much that record sales were an afterthought, just that they were seen as a niche aspect of a bigger store’s bigger business. Only after the simultaneous explosion of rock’n’roll in the 1950s and and teenagers with the disposable income to spend on it did record sales become strong enough to support stores all on their own. For most of the next four decades these stores thrived.
In the wake of last week’s post about stores that sell only CDs slowly going out of business, it’s worth remembering: nobody says you have to sell only CDs.