Regarding Lou Levy’s Lunarcy CD reviewed on March 5 (scroll down), a Rifftides reader who identifies himself as Fergus wrote:
You might ask Universal why Lunarcy isn’t available on iTunes in the US as it is elsewhere.
The Rifftides staff passed that suggestion on to Universal publicist Regina Joskow. She said that she, in turn, would relay it to the appropriate folks at the record company. I added a suggestion that Universal, which encompasses Verve, also reissue the Levy CD. Ms. Joskow’s reply encapsulates the dilemma that faces record companies and, therefore, listeners unable or unwilling to substitute digital downloads for compact discs.
As you can imagine, it becomes far more challenging to release something physically as there are minimum quantities that have to be manufactured. Sadly, fewer and fewer music retailers exist, ESPECIALLY ones that care about jazz. The demise of Tower Records was a huge blow to the jazz industry as it accounted for such a huge portion of our business. Now that Circuit City is gone and Virgin is on its way out, things are looking even more grim. While Borders and Barnes & Noble still sell music, Borders is not doing well and it looks as though they’re going back to their core business of book selling. Amazon is a wonderful account, but one usually shops on Amazon with a particular title in mind. It’s so sad. My record collection is largely built on spur-of-the-moment purchases that took place in the aisles of Tower. “Oh, Bobby Timmons? I really like his work with Art Blakey…maybe I should check out this album…” and so on. I’m sure you’re more than familiar with the phenom. And suddenly, your house is taken over by records.
I know I probably sound like a curmudgeon, but it bothers me that my kids’ experience of obtaining music is largely relegated to shopping on iTunes. In truth, they do borrow liberally from my music library, but I remember those days of lying on the living room floor, reading liner notes, memorizing lyrics, and just staring at beautiful album covers. I’m sorry my kids won’t replicate that experience, but I guess I shouldn’t impose my values on them. It all just makes me a little sad.