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|Articles - September 2012|
|Monday, August 27, 2012|
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When Napster and iTunes made streaming and downloading an option in the late ’90s and early 2000s, the customer base of record stores all but dried up. To compound the situation, big-box stores like Best Buy began selling CDs for cheap, sometimes at a loss, to attract customers to their stores for bigger-ticket items.
As a result, music stores closed in record numbers, and those that remained open struggled to break even, often downsizing or diversifying their product offerings to adapt.
Portland institution Music Millennium closed its second location on NW 23rd Avenue in 2007 and resorted to selling nonmusic merchandise such as posters, T-shirts and novelties like potato guns and flavored crickets.
“We fight every month just to pay our bills,” says owner Terry Currier.
While the store earns enough to pay its employees and utilities, it has not made a profit since 2002 and often falls behind on payments to music-distribution companies.
About five years ago, the resurgence of the vinyl record slowed the music store nosedive, at least somewhat.
Vinyl sales have increased nationally every year since 2007 — 36% from 2010 to 2011, according to Nielsen SoundScan. And while vinyl sales accounted for only 1.2% of the total album sales last year, 67% of vinyl sales took place in independent music shops.
“It’s a very small portion of overall business, but it has a very significant impact on the independent businesses because they are such significant supporters,” says Jim Donio, president of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers.
In an attempt to remedy his situation, Music Millennium’s Currier plans to make some major changes in the coming months, including closing the classical shop adjoining the main store, knocking down the dividing wall and expanding his vinyl section into the additional space.
“I want to get to the point where cash flow is better and I don’t have to deal with credit departments,” he says.
Though the record renaissance occurred across the country, the surge in new establishments is a phenomenon unique to Portland, say industry experts and those in the business.
Unlike New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cultural centers, Portland offers a fertile music scene, a population that supports neighborhood businesses, cheap rents and a relatively inexpensive cost of living.
“We’re one of the few cities that has that combination,” Isaacson says.
Thursday, December 04, 2014
BY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
How important are institutional and/or program evaluations provided by third parties in selecting a college or university program?
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
Tamara Lundgren tackles the challenges—without getting trampled.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:
The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace.
Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.
This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay.
Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.
New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”
That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!
Thursday, November 20, 2014
BY OB STAFF
Farmers, grocery stores and food processors cash in on kale.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.
Friday, October 24, 2014
A majority of respondents agreed: Local vineyards should remain Oregon-owned and quality is the most important factor when determining where to eat or buy groceries.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JON BELL
Oregon tribes still bet on casinos.
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