More blood on Apple iTunes Store’s play button: Tower Records liquidated

“After a lengthy auction stretching over two days, a federal bankruptcy judge on Friday approved the sale of California-based Tower Records to Great American Group, which plans to liquidate the music retailer,” Randall Chase reports for The Associated Press. “After almost 30 hours of what attorneys described as ‘robust’ and ‘vigorous’ bidding, Great American won with a bid of $134.3 million, beating Trans World Entertainment, which had hoped to continue operating at least some Tower stores, by a single bid increment of $500,000.”

“Peter Gurfein said Great American plans to begin the liquidation process and going out of business sales on Saturday, which eventually will result in the elimination of the jobs of some 3,000 Tower employees… Tower Records, which has 89 stores in 20 states and owes creditors about $200 million, filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in August. In its filing, the company said it has been hurt by an industrywide decline in music sales, downloading of online music and competition from big-box stores such as Wal-Mart,” Chase reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Tommy Boy” for the heads up.]
The old makes way for the new. Apple’s iTunes Store music sales passed the likes of Borders, Sam Goody, and Tower Records, NPD reported in November 2005. Note: last Tuesday, Napster Inc. said it had launched an online song distribution site in Japan in a joint venture between America’s Napster and Tower Records Japan, Inc., which, from what we can tell and despite the name, is a separate company from the Tower Records that’s about to be liquidated. NTT DoCoMo Inc., a Japanese mobile operator, is the main shareholder in the Tower Records Japan, Inc. owning an approximate 40% of the company.

Related articles:
Beleaguered Napster opens online song outfit in Japan – October 03, 2006
Tower Records files for bankruptcy – August 21, 2006
Tower Records to debut yet another Windows-only WMA-based iTunes Music Store also-ran – June 26, 2006
NPD: Apple’s iTunes Music Store now the 7th largest U.S. music retailer, up from 14th last year – November 21, 2005

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43 Comments

  1. i’m not happy about this either. i prefer to have physical CDs rather than be encumbered by DRM restrictions. i own about a dozen songs from the iTS and i had to do the burn/re-rip in order to play back in my car’s MP3 player. annoying.

    there’s no Tower in my neighborhood, but when i did go to Tower in other cities i enjoyed finding music there i couldn’t get back home.

    however my tastes are quite more “alternative” than what most mainstream brick-and-mortar music stores are willing to carry, so i’ve had to increasingly rely on the intertubes to buy my music. i’ve had better luck purchasing music directly off the musicians’ websites.

  2. We’re putting our CD’s on the shelf. My daughter has given her 100 disk player to me to sell, and I am emptying my 300 disk player for sale on ebay (if anyone even wants them now).

    Since ripping our music to iTunes, we never listen to the actual CD’s anymore.

  3. To elitist DLMeyer:

    You are clueless and obviously have had no experience with Tower Records.. The people running Tower were sidetracked in the culture they were trying to promote. By the way, most Business classes at community colleges are taught by the same smug, out of touch with the real world people as yourself – good at teaching what businesses do in hindsight, but clueless as to what makes them succeed or fail.

  4. I’m sorry, but Tower kinda sucked. Their selection sucked. Their prices sucked HEARTILY. $18 for a CD? Um, no.

    Virgin’s worse.

    I’d rather pay the same amount but get better service (and talk to people who actually LOVE music as much as I do) at a small ma and pa record store.

    See ya, Tower.

  5. mudflapper:

    i understand what you’re saying, BUT….

    if you’re one of the millions of people in this country who might actually want a physical CD and you dont live near a Tower, HMV, Virgin or other music specific superstore AND there’s no mom-‘n-pop boutique nearby and your only choice is Wal-Mart, Target or some other really god-awful mall based store… that REALLY sucks.

    the prices might have been higher… but you had a choice. Tower going out of business is a bad thing… music sales going the way they are, this could eventually affect even the mom-‘n-pop stores.

  6. Buried Caesar, I’m right with you…

    MDNs headline in this case is in poor taste. I always thought Tower Records was a pretty good shop to browse for music and videos in, it’s demise is a shame.

    MDN, for once.. grow up and show a little magnanimity every once in a while

  7. I prefer iTunes, its cleaner.

    But for those of you still enjoying thumbing through the CD boxes at bricks and mortar, just don’t put your fingers near your mouth afterwards. What human residues must be residing on those tumbed cases can’t bear thinking about…(!)

  8. Tower going bankrupt may cause a few small record labels to go bankrupt, or at least hurt quite a few labels. Tower was one of the few stores to stock a wide range of CDs.

    For most of the best classical labels (BIS, Ondine, Hyperion, Harmonia Mundi, etc. etc.) Tower was the *ONLY* remaining store of any size that stocked their stuff.

  9. There used to be a Tower records here in London UK too. It was great. Had an awesome selection. A great record store. But all their products, CDs, DVDs, Games were between 1 and 5 pounds more expensive than the Virgin and HMV stores across the road!

    Don’t blame downloads, if your prices are much higher than other retail stores! That’s what killed you.

  10. I’m glad Tower is gone. The one on Sunset in LA was staffed by idiots who thought they were too cool for words. Disheveled, unkempt, scraggly, “duh” personalities. Plus which, every Tower I’ve ever gone to had a smut section. Did they really have to sell sexually infused posters and pornographic videos? Porn has been linked over and over again to rape. Bye bye Tower! I’ll dance on your grave.

  11. “There was an agenda in the products they carried/promoted”

    It should be noted that Tower Records didn’t promote any music – they were the conduit by which the record labels promoted music. Every poster, stand-up display and end-cap was paid for by the record label. Also, every print ad was at least partially funded by the label and the distributing entity. (BTW – I did marketing analysis for a top label and distribution company so I’m not just guessing)

  12. Many of the jazz dept staff at NYC Greenwich Village store were fonts of information. Ditto for the classical dept at the W66th Street location.

    I love on-line purchasing from Amazon and iTMS but I also loved roaming the aisles looking for cool or new releases (w/artwork). I bought more than a few albums because of something getting in-store play or by overhearing other customers and/or staff.

    Also, it was great going to Tower w/music buddies. We’d look at stuff, compare notes and talk about other releases from similar artists. A great way to get to know a girl is to go record shopping with her. There’s a world of difference between Kenny G and Sonny Rollins, and there’s a world of difference between the people who would choose one over the other.

    For me brick-and-mortar is neither better nor worse than on-line. Each has its good points as well as bad and I’m sorry to see one go.

    BTW – Record Hunter in NY on 5th was a great store, too.

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