The lesson of Tower Records

Remember when you were a student and Tower Records was the center of your universe?

From that vantage point, how hard it is to believe that Tower has filed for bankruptcy for the second time.

While this is in part due to the effect of the “big box” stores and illegal downloading, it’s also due to these sobering statistics:

The company quoted Neilsen SoundScan data in its filing, saying that legal digital music downloads in the US grew 200% in 2005 whereas physical album sales declined 7.8%.

Here’s how CD sales have changed by age group:

Other than the increase among young teens (and perhaps because they are saving up money for an iPod), the trends are in the wrong direction across the board.

Tower thought of itself as a distribution channel for the product of the music industry. Little value was added. Just come to our store and buy the music. It’s not like you had any choices – until recently.

It’s a valuable lesson to any entity that views its primary reason-to-be as a distribution channel for the product of the music industry.

That wouldn’t be your station, right? There’s more to you than that, right?

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