Putting the gloom and doom of the Tower Records post behind us, there are still opportunities for indie record stores to stay alive and stake a claim for relevance in their customers' lives. To survive, a good record store should:
Position themselves as an expert in one or more specific niches. When folks think you're THE destination for emo/jazz/metal/reggae/yourgenrehere, you can go deep and superserve a grateful customer.
Focus on special events. Make the store a destination. Create lots of in-store concerts, signings, listening parties, and anything else that can get folks out at lunch time, after work, or around shows (if the store's near a venue).
Make it easy to do business. Offer online presales with in-store pickup. Blog about upcoming releases and special events.
Create a space that's fun to shop in. Ditch the flourescent lights and use warm gallery bulbs. Make it easy to browse and listen to songs. CLEAN THE STORE, so folks won't mind spending time there.
[ via Matthew Kappenman ]