Retroprogressives will rejoice at the news that, for the sixth year running, sales of supposedly obsolescent vinyl records have risen (though shellac, alas, remains static). At the same time, the market in 'physical CDs' continues to decline sharply, along with sales of video games (whatever they are), and generalist record shops seem doomed to total extinction, with only a few specialist outlets thriving - often riding the resurgent vinyl wave.
It's easy to succumb to false nostalgia when looking back at those golden days when every town had at least one record shop, its racks groaning with desirable vinyl. The fact is that, outside the big cities and university towns, most record shops were dreadful, your chances of finding anything that wasn't in the 'charts' was slim, the Classical section was little more than an afterthought, and you'd almost certainly have to put in an order and wait weeks to get anything worth having. I remember being obliged to put in a special order for Dylan's Blonde on Blonde, for heaven's sake! Most of the coolest music was only available on import, and could only be found in those rare gems of record shops that we now recall precisely because they were so rare and so good to find.
Mainstream record shops deserved to fail, and the only surprise about it was that it took so long. We now have the internet, enabling us to buy at the touch of a button the kind of things we'd once have had to spend years tracking down and would probably never find. And the range available is simply staggering. Who needs record shops - except of course for the tactile joy of handling vinyl?