Napster vs. the record stores

By Eric Boehlert

By Salon Staff
Published August 9, 2000 7:50PM (EDT)

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One thing that isn't being considered in the reports of falling sales among certain independent record retailers is if computer users are savvy enough to use Napster to hear music, then they are certainly likely to then turn around and use CDNow or a whole plethora of more specialized online retailers to actually procure their desired product.

The fact is that most of these independents have high prices and limited selection and don't want to pay staff enough to stick around and develop any kind of musical knowledge (the pay and knowledge issue is a big problem with major retailers as well). Therefore, these businesses actually drive people away and onto the Web where they can find lower prices and a far wider selection than at the local brick and mortar.

You reap what you sow and I can tell you, after having worked more than a decade in record shops myself, that independents have brought most of these declines on themselves.

-- Gary Garland

The record companies are almost wholly responsible for the entire mess concerning Napster. Their price-gouging policies are what force college students to use Napster to get their music for free rather than pay $16, $17, $18 or even as much as $20 for one CD. If record companies spent more time giving fair prices and less time ripping people off, most of this wouldn't happen.

-- Justin Mack

Salon Staff

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