The End for ear X-tacy?

I was just there Thursday night, buying my son some gifts for Hanukkah.

The record shop seemed to be bustling for a Thursday evening. Staff and customers were engaged. The lights were on and the place seemed lively.

Yesterday, when the store is supposed to be open from noon until 7 p.m., it was closed. No lights, no staff, no customers.

Is it the end of an era?

Not just for Louisville, but for the globe?

Few people buy CDs any more. The record industry looks like Government Motors (GM) before the rescue. And the government isn’t likely to bail out Warner Brothers, EMI or any other record label anytime soon.

Speaking of records — wax is the only bright spot in the industry, a medium the major labels began turning its back on long ago, first in favor of the audio cassette, then the CD.

And industry executives ignored digital downloads.

What a dysfunctional business model: You develop the content; you own the content and yet you leave the money making to Apple Computers because you think you can control the medium be it wax, tape, or CD.

How very odd.

The record business took the fun out of dysfunctional. I’ve always wondered why a computer wonk like the late Steve Jobs could make money off of someone’s creative energies, but the very companies whose A&R staff discovered, recorded, and promoted a Nirvana or a Foo Fighters or a Coldplay couldn’t adapt to distributing the content in a way that consumers wanted?

No wonder the bands turned to their own websites with free or cheap digital downloads.

The possible end of ear X-tacy defines the end of an era for popular music. But it represents the triumph of technology and the maturation of the Digital Age.