Monday, April 6, 2009

The Day the Music Died

I'm starting to question the value of the in-store music we play at the Golden Apple. I decided many years ago that our "shopping music" wouldn't be muzak, or the easy listening station, mainly because I couldn't stand hearing vapid music for 8+ hours a day. So I opted for playing the music we sold. This was a challenge for many reasons. First, because once upon a time, all music was on record albums, and we had a player in the back room, and someone had to go back and change the record every 30 minutes. Second, this was pre-Putumayo and pre-random shuffle, and some children's music doesn't stand up to constant play, as many a parent can testify. But I was determined, and no employee actually cited the music as a reason for quitting, though I wouldn't have been surprised! The benefits were: we were forced to seek good music that adults could endure, and we knew almost every song on every record. When customers asked for the song about the slippery fish that their preschooler loved, we knew it was by Charlotte Diamond, from 10 Carrot Diamond.
Now we have all our music programmed into Itunes on one of our Macs. It shuffles the 48 hrs of music and plays a lively variety of music from all over the world, (including Putumayo). We have all the Trout Fishing in America; all the Lauri Berkner; a really fun CD by Susie Tallman called "Let's Go"; an old favorite, the soundtrack from the show "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego" and lots of Putumayo Kids, including my current favorite "Hawaiian Playground".
Here's the problem- I don't think anyone hears it. Are people so used to tuning out that these really catchy, really well-crafted songs just turn in to background murmur? I've heard every one of these songs 100 times, and I still think they are little gems. I mentioned Susie Tallman above. Her CD knocks me out. She gave it to me at the NY Toy show a year ago. I have yet to have a customer ask me about it, even though it has been playing constantly for a year now. It could be that everyone's getting their music online, and our music department will fade away like music stores are fading away. I think we still have a great selection of music, but we've lost touch with what drives people to buy music for their kids. Maybe if it isn't endorsed by Disney, or on Noggin it doesn't exist. I hope it's not time to tune in that lite rock station.

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