What Was Your Last Visit To A Big-Box Retailer’s Music Section Like?
Last night I visited my local Target, and I decided to swing by its ever-shrinking music section just to see what was going on. What I saw were a lot of depleted shelves (including the new-release area, although that might have been waiting for today’s supply of Black Eyed Peas discs), many copies of Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak, and the fully-stocked display of Sony MusicPass cards that has remained pretty much intact since last year’s holiday season, save one card for Blake Lewis’ Audio Day Dream that was moved into the country section because someone was either trying to be “funny” or realizing that the whole MusicPass thing was pretty much a dumb idea and ditching it before they went to the checkout lanes. There were also two people in there browsing CDs! You might not be surprised to learn that they were together, and they were looking at a Hilary Duff album while discussing her apperance on Law & Order: SVU earlier this year, and not her music. I have no idea if they bought the album, though, because I got distracted by the DVDs, which were much better organized, and even had their own area of items that were on sale–as opposed to the “new releases” area of the music section, which was haphazardly organized, full of empty space, and pockmarked with “for-sale” flags. Sure, part of that can be blamed on the comparatively higher volume of titles for sale, but once again, I was reminded that this is the future of music retail for people who don’t live in urban areas, yet want to actually venture out of their house in order to acquire music. And it made me wonder: Are things like this everywhere–or are they even worse? Isn’t it kind of an achievement that record sales are now at mid-’90s levels, given that there are so many fewer physical spaces where shoppers can even find what they’re looking for these days? Also, how was that Blake Lewis card still there and not marked down? I am going to assume that Sony isn’t allowing returns on those cards at all, but c’mon, that is shelf space that could have been used for Law & Order DVDs, which were distressingly absent from Target’s shelves.