More grim news from the cash-strapped world of music: Dublin indie store Road is closing. Dave from Road has a list of reasons:
1. Regardless of what I have thought over the years downloading has effected our business, probably more so the illegal side of things, filesharhing and the likes. I speak as a shop on this one but god knows how much small bands suffer because of this aswell.
2. Below cost sellers online, everybody wants a bargain and its hard to take the moral highground on this one, but everytime a purchase is made to the likes of Play etc is a nail in the coffin to the indie store, these online sellers don't care one hoot about indie bands and music, they just need to sell in bulk and as quickly as possible. They will never put any money or effort back into indigenous music, try asking them to sell 50 copies of a beautiful hand made cdr release.
3. The city centre just does not have the same volume of people walking around it anymore, its a simple fact, less people means less sales. We have noticed a massive downturn in the amount of people visiting the store in the last year.
4. Kids don't buy music anymore. That sounds like a fairly broad statement to make, I know there are still some out there but we don't see any young people in the shop anymore so as we lose older customers we don't gain any new ones.
5. Obviously this country is going through a recession at the moment so it would be stupid of me to claim that this wasn't having an effect on our business but having said that things were already beginning to change long before that.
6. The deal with selling independent local releases always had to be a two way exchange for us, we never made much money from local releases [and that was never the idea] but we always sought the support of bands. By that I mean if we were selling your music then we would always appreciate the bands making a purchase in the store in return, sadly that did not always happen, and before you jump at me for making this statement I do accept that plenty of you out there were very supportive of us but take if from me we did have quite a lot of bands coming in to us with their own release to sell whilst also carrying a hmv bag with a purchase they had just made, simply because it was cheaper there.
7. The cost of running a store in this city has increased dramatically in the past 4 / 5 years, rents have gone up so much, insurance increased, bank costs and so many other things that over the years it has become increasingly more difficult just to meet our costs on a week to week basis.
8. Whilst this one may not seem so obvious the cost of an average cd or record in the store is now less than it was 5 / 6 years ago and that is a good thing to the consumer but it has also seriously dented our chances of making a living in any way, it just means we have to sell more to cover our costs but as I mentioned with less customers coming through the door that has not been possible.
The store has been trading at a loss for six months and the team at Road have simply run out of the means to support a shop in the face of insurmountable odds; especially worrying would be the anecdotal evidence that kids aren't buying music any more - or not from shops. The other factors make things difficult, but that points to a change in culture which would seem to be fatal.
[Thanks to Barry S for the story]