Small Town Music Rethought

After yesterday’s little rant about small town music purchasing options, I’ve been thinking about it more. Actually, I thought about it a lot as I drove the rest of the way home, and realized three things:

1. Online music stores, like iTMS,, etc. probably do a lot of business with residents of small towns, which obviates any need for better music selections locally.

2. Because of point #1, local businesses never learn what people like because people don’t ask for it. So while it looks like everybody listens to Dokken’s Greatest Hits and country music, that’s only because the person ordering the music has no idea what to order. Since people are passive-aggressive and have low self-esteem they don’t say anything, like “hey, I wish you’d order some Daft Punk for me.” They just go home and order it online, because there is zero chance the web site will make them self-conscious about their music tastes, whereas a clerk might.

3. Or, some huge inventory system, like for Wal*Mart, says “this store is in Nowhere, USA so they probably like country and Dokken.” So they stock a lot of that, and very little other stuff, like hip-hop or techno. And when they sell some Dokken and very little techno the system just replenishes the store with more Christian music, like Dokken. If they sold some Dokken that means that there’s a market there for Dokken, right? That same logic says that if they didn’t sell any techno that means there’s no market for it there.

It’s based on arrogance, that what they stock represents the most popular stuff, so if “the most popular stuff” doesn’t sell well, then the people in that area must not like that specific genre of music. It doesn’t even occur to them that people just might not like what they stock, because what the record companies say is hot isn’t actually what people like. Seeding a store with what record companies suggest is fine, but because there is no way to provide feedback about the suckitude of a store’s inventory to a chain like Wal*Mart people don’t even bother, and just order from

At least that’s my theory. Maybe as the Earth gets overpopulated, and urban sprawl reigns, there will be more places like Amoeba Music. 🙂 Who needs nature when you have music? 🙂