If you’re of a certain age and cultural predilection, you’ll remember Tower Records with great fondness. Founded in 1960, the store was a bulwark against normality for years and probably one of the best places to buy vinyl, tapes, CDs, books, and merch for all your favourite pre-Spotify bands. When it died 14 years ago, it seemed like the end of an era.
Now, thanks to the magic of the internet, Tower Records is back. Are they bringing back the stores, you ask? Will I be able to pick up a zine and a copy of Unknown Pleasures? Nope. The new Tower Records is basically a website dedicated to vinyl and CDs, and the new CEO, Danny Zeijdel, sees it as a way for the Instagram generation to scratch its nostalgia itch.
The company also added a blog, called Pulse!, that, dare I say it, reminds me a bit of the long-dead SPIN magazine. Maybe it has some legs after all?
To be abundantly clear, this site isn’t the warehouse of media that Tower once was. There are a few pages of classic vinyl and CDs for each genre and some branded merchandise available. Basically, Tower is betting on the nostalgia market, which usually can be counted on for a few million in sales.
The new site definitely doesn’t match the feeling of walking into a crowded record store and pawing through thousands of disks while “Dry The Rain” blasts over a set of tinny speakers, but at this point in our slow decline into late-stage dystopia who cares how we get our vinyl?