Jan 282009
Authors: Ian Mahan

In the midst of what some are calling the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and with a price increase hitting iTunes in April, some local business employees said the poor economy might force the music industry to find a compromise between online music purchases and physical CD sales.

Mark Cheatham, the manager at local CD/Vinyl store, The Finest, said they’ve been looking for new ways to survive after struggling for about a year.

“It’s been hard for us, the sale of new CDs are down,” he said.

“In the past year we have closed the Greeley and Windsor stores in order to consolidate what we have into one store,” he added later.

However, Cheatham said he does not solely blame the economy.

“I hate seeing people only listening to one song from an entire album and missing out on all the other great stuff because of digital downloading,” he said.

In order to give their customers more of a selection, The Finest has introduced a new in-store mixing feature that allows consumers to come in and download songs and make custom mixes.

“There seems to be a lot of interest in the idea,” Cheatham said.

Not all Fort Collins businesses have been struggling though.

Rock ‘N’ Robin, a combination music supply and smoke shop is still bringing in revenue. And, much like The Finest, students are a majority of their business.

“We’re still doing fine,” said Beau Boykin, an employee at the store, “not many people seem to be coming in for music though due to online sales.”

While both businesses thrive on student purchases, students have their own ideas about where the music industry might be heading.

“I think that with online music prices going up you could possibly see an increase in illegal downloading,” said Zach Capshaw, a sophomore environmental health major who spends a majority of his time listening to and writing music. “Maybe a return to the early forms of entertainment will happen, where people went to shows and plays will start to happen again.”

Annie Doyle, a health and exercise science major said she would buy CDs over digital songs, especially with the price increase, because she feels as though, “it gives more to the artist.”

Not all students are as optimistic, however.

Jackie Benson, a sophomore psychology major said, “. the entertainment industry is going to have to start budgeting themselves better, maybe even decreasing the money they spend on production costs.”

Staff writer Ian Mahan can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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