Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Day The Music Died

In downtown Santa Barbara, a turntable is about to stop spinning. Yesterday's Daily Sound carried the news on the front page. Morninglory Music, a record store and long-time fixture on State Street, will be closing its doors.

Of course, my references to turntables and records are dating me. Vinyl records were long ago replaced by CD's, and CD's are quickly being replaced by MP3's and other varieties of digital audio, which is a problem for music stores, Morninglory included.

Now, of course, you don't need to go to a brick-and-mortar establishment to buy digital music, if you bother to buy it at all. After all, there's plenty of music to be had for free, albeit illegally.

According to the article, Stan Bernstein, the store's owner and founder, felt he could no longer compete with "free" -- hence, the decision to pull the plug.

It's kind of the same situation the newspaper business finds itself in these days. Neither music or news has become obsolete, but the medium by which music and news are delivered to us has. They're both going digital.

Why buy music when you can download it for free? Why purchase a newspaper when you can read the news for free online?

On the Santa Barbara newspaper scene, the Independent continues to thrive, and the Daily Sound appears to be growing. When was the last time you heard either the words "thrive" or "grow" used in connection with the News-Press?

What the Indy and the Sound have in common of course is that they are both "free," something the News-Press, like Morninglory Music, may eventually find it can't compete with.

* * *

By my reckoning, the departure of Morninglory means the only store downtown devoted solely to selling music is "Just Play Music" in the 600 block of State Street.

The national chain FYE, formerly the Wherehouse, still has locations in Loreto Plaza and in the Calle Real Shopping Center.

Long, long gone are stores like Licorice Pizza on upper State, American Pie Records on Milpas (run by Dennis Hartman, a.k.a., "Dr. D" -- now there was a real character!), and the music store, the name of which escapes me, that used to be on the Mesa where Longs Drugs is now located.

* * *

Those of you who follow this blog know that eight of the journalists who were fired by the News-Press, lost their bid for an injunction which would have required their immediate reinstatement back in May.

The National Labor Relations Board announced yesterday that it plans to appeal federal Judge Steven Wilson's order denying the injunction.

My estimate is that it could be close to a year before there is a ruling on this appeal.

* * *

When I run into people around town, I'm often asked, "How's the weight?"

I know I haven't updated readers for the last few Wednesdays. Anyway, I'm glad to report that I'm down to 192 pounds.

I was also pleasantly surprised that after my Monday post appeared about bartenders and Bloody Marys, no one wrote in to ask the obvious question: "How do you ever expect to lose weight drinking Bloody Marys?"