We last talked to George Reynoso about the state of music retail back in 2015. Fusion sits down 2 years later to talk to us about the Borderland retail music scene today.
What is the present state of music retail?
The continuing evolution of the internet and technology dictates the future, and all are in favor of consumers, who now have more tools and information to find the best price. The biggest factor in my opinion is the smartphone. In today’s environment, a retailer is not guaranteed the sale just because the item is in-stock. Typically, a savvy customer uses their cell phone to compare pricing with any myriad of apps or websites. It’s not unusual for a ballsy buyer to put their cellphone in your face and hold you hostage on the pricing. I talk to many local retailers who are struggling today with the internet factor. For music specifically, the technology wave started in 1998 with downloading, and CD-burners, so we’ve had to make adjustments for survival for a while now. Today, we consider internet pricing when setting our own prices.
What about CDs?
It’s a buyer’s market. As the world transforms to digital and wireless, more CD’s get dumped into the marketplace. The shelf life of a new CD is shorter. Today, if you’re willing to pay $4 shipping, a good percentage of common CDs can be bought for a penny, one cent! Online! Our pricing ranges from $2-$10 with $4.95 our average price-point on a quality pre-owed CD. In time, some CDs will evolve into collectibles much like what vintage LPs have today. Some out-of-print CDs already command $50-$300 dollars.
How has social media impacted your business?
It has allowed us to effectively and efficiently bring our store, content, promotions and activities to our customers. They in turn “like” or spread the word to like-minded consumers. It’s a two-edged sword though, as anyone with an agenda or misinformed opinion can use social media as a weapon. There have been a few instances where customers leave the store and post a negative experience from the parking lot. Call me old school, but in both instances, we could have easily answered or resolved their issue, if they had chosen to engage us face-to-face. For well-intentioned, honest businesses, cellphones and the snarky world of social media can be dangerous grounds in today’s culture.
How is ATMV handling the LP vinyl revival?
Our biggest issue is sourcing and acquiring good quality records. We find em all the time, that’s good for us, but unfortunately for consumers, the hi-demand stuff is only on the shelves for less than 24 hours. We have a handful of true record-hounds who are in the store 2 to 3 times a week. Like hawks, they fish out the true gems, while everyone else is dependent on timing and luck to find those same records. That however is part of the joy and thrill of record collecting. Fortunately, with over fifty-thousand records on the floor, a vinyl lover can find something to fill a gap in their collection.
What advice would you give to newcomers to vinyl collecting?
One huge issue from the vinyl explosion is the proliferation of cheap turntables—I prefer to call them toys. The miracle of sound reproduction from microscopic grooves in a piece of hard wax is a complex engineering marvel. A good rule-of-thumb is the weight. It’s only logical: 2-4 pounds, not so good, 5-12 pounds—better. A functional counterbalance mechanism for the tonearm and removable universal cartridge mount are essential. I encourage newbies to save their money and invest at least $200-$300 on a decent turntable. You’ll not only enjoy a better sound experience, but avoid the disappointment from a simplistic $99 plug & play piece of plastic. I know they look cute and trendy, but we’ve given up stocking cheap turntables. The returns and problems associated with budget players is not worth the time. As it is, not a day goes by that a customer comes back with a so-called defective 180g, $30 album. In most cases, the album will perform fine on our equipment, but when we ask them about their turntable, it’s most always the dreaded “C” brand. At the risk of sounding elitist or arrogant, we try to give people good information about turntable basics. What follows is an awkward moment when they realize they have inferior equipment. We encourage everyone to google the ABC’s of turntables and learn the basics for themselves, absorb yourself with information and save up your money. If you’re serious about record collecting, you won’t regret it.
How does ATMV find good used records?
Because we’ve bought and sold used records for nearly 37 years, most of our customers know we’re the place to cash-out unwanted collections. As the conventional music business winds down, we’ve turned more into a high-service media locator and liquidator. However, there’s been so much publicity about the vinyl revival in the last few years, that it’s given rise to a false perception on the value of vinyl. I should write a book titled “Your Records Are NOT Gold” to help sellers understand what they’ve got. Very simply, it’s supply and demand. Most of today’s buyers are 13-35, generally they’re not looking for grandma’s old recordings. Our website has very concise essays on selling your used media, including LPs.
Check it out allthatmusic.com/sell if you need more detailed information.
If you’re into music, record collecting is a fabulous and rewarding hobby. Take care of your records! The collectors or resale value of your vinyl is directly related to quality and condition. Learn how to handle a record properly without putting your prints all over the wax. Clean your needle periodically and save up for a nice turntable!
All That Music & Video Collector’s Marketplace
6800 Gateway Blvd. El Paso, TX 79915