Tower Records, in an effort to breathe some life into their business will debut a website next week at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas called TowerPod.com devoted to podcasts created by Tower DJs. The record shop that was once the one pushing out mom and pop stores out of business, has been slammed in recent years by the Best Buys and Wal-Mart’s of the planet, leaving Tower to make a move to save their corporate lives. The only problem is: they missed the boat.
While I believe there is definitely room for more podcasts out there, people will right through Tower Records’ plan. Consumers remember paying $18 for a CD at good ole Tower Records when there weren’t any options. In some ways Tower’s prices were responsible for the massive shift to the world of 99-cent mp3s at the Apple Store. While hoping to recoup some costs by inserting commercials at the beginning and end of the free, downloadable half-hour programs, Tower’s fighting to compete in a world that hates it. Those who download podcasts do so because they can listen to their favorite radio shows or music for free.
I commend Tower for making the first real corporate move to podcasting, but it should have come in the summer of 2005, not Spring 2006 for the failing record company. Trust me, nobody feels bad for Tower’s hard fall from the top. Podcasting might save the company, but I highly doubt it.
The Washington Post