On a recent trip to the Haight I noticed that Reverb Records, arguably once ground zero for the San Francisco rave scene, and one of the few DJ records stores that branched out beyond house to drum and bass, trance, and even psytrance, is now Shaxzul, which specializes exclusively in black metal music. (I think the name is a smoosh between "Shazam," as in Captain Marvel, and Xul, as in Ghostbusters. Say it with me now, "Shaxul!")
This brings to three the number of specialist DJ record stores I know of that have folded since I started this blog (Zen City Records and BPM Records are the other two). I think this is enough to now say that we're seeing a trend, one in which the DJ record store is becoming increasingly irrelevant in the face of new media technology. When I think of the DJs I know, almost all play CDs, and almost all get the majority of their music though downloads. I even made, and wrote about, my own switch from vinyl to CDs, in the past few months.
It's easy enough to bemoan this trend, since the DJ record store provided a lot more to its patrons besides just a commercial channel for the music industry - it's always fun to listen in on the conversations between patrons and shop owners, to get unexpected reccomendations from same, and to just pass the time listening to a lot of new music. The internet makes it easy to get new music, and lots of it, and CDs are a far more convenient medium than vinyl, but then there's also the phenomenon of blog house, where everybody is reading, and downloading, from the same music blogs and the same online sources - one of the best things about the DJ record shop is the specific eccentricity of the owners, where you know where to go for a certain sound, but you never know exactly what you'll find in the bins.
I'm curious to see if the market has finally shaken out enough that there's now a profitable ratio between the number of DJ record buyers versus record shops, or whether we're watching the demise of an entire commercial sector, like the dry goods store. The only record stores I know of that are still selling new DJ vinly are Soundworks on Valencia, which is undoubtedly shored up by its close ties to the Castro scene and its record pool; Tweekin' Records on Haight, which stocks local labels like Dirty Bird and has been my source for techno and tech house; and Amoeba, which has a great selection but you can't listen to any of it. I guess it's a good thing I decided to start focusing on CDs, since it seems like I might eventually have been forced in that direction anyway.