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Sunday, February 20

Borders finally bites it. More room for indies.

This has been discussed in the music biz for nearly four years, at least as far as I am aware. We knew it was only a matter of time, as they kept getting extensions and squeaking by on payments. Still, we had pressure from labels who wanted their stuff in there because their bands did, without much thought to whether or how they would get paid. The eventual "payment" with skids of returns was not even an afterthought for them. With an eye to the longterm health of both labels and distributor, we did our best to resist this lunacy.

During times of contraction, there is always a silver lining for someone who is both looking for it and willing to take advantage of the opportunity that presents itself. In fact, if you go back to the very first post on this blog, you will find my view that the seeds of this go back to the late 80's. Sales of music have always been cyclical. For the large, soulless chains, music has cycled through times of money maker, money loser, loss leader, and back again. I have marked these cycles by watching the music bins at the big box stores move, as if under control of unseen tidal forces, which were really digit-pushing accountants, from front to back to front to back, while shrinking and expanding in size like ocean troughs. A recent walk through a Best Buy in Austin, for example, revealed a music section that was pretty hard to find, sporting far fewer racks that were themselves sparsely populated.

Through these cycles, indie shops have flourished, been eaten, scraped by, and even recently reappeared.

While much of the world laments the loss of their neighborhood-anchoring, friendly behemoth, it actually presents an opportunity for creative, music loving entrepreneurs to sprout through the cracks in those neighborhood sidewalks. Create novel dens of community. Go local. Engage the neighborhood. Take advantage off the fabulous creative talent and resources that we have all around us.

Quit whining and go do something. It's DIY time again.

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