The Arka Tech

On second thought

Above: Clearance signs inside of Hastings before its closure earlier this year. RYAN HARMON/THE ARKA TECH

Our local entertainment store, Hastings, has officially closed, along with all other store branches. I wrote an article a couple of months ago about how the closing was the end of an era that showed a decline in interest for physical products.

While it’s certainly the end of an era, I’ve been thinking more about this lately, and I’m not sure it’s a decline in interest for physical products as much as a decline in effort on the consumer’s part.

Hastings and its competitors were specialty stores. They specialized in entertainment products. Now, in many towns, the only way to get a physical product is to go to a one-stop shop like Walmart or Target.

This brings me to my point. Garth Brooks is about to release an exclusive box set through Target. Brooks has done very well with box set releases in the past, and this one is looking to be no exception. In the past, Brooks has partnered with Walmart for these releases. But he’s not the only one to do this.

AC/DC, The Eagles, KISS and many others have done exclusive deals with these stores. It makes you wonder – why wouldn’t they make an exclusive deal with a store like Hastings?

The obvious answer would be that there probably wasn’t an offer, but regardless, look at your local Walmart. Why do people go there? I think most would say they go there because they can get everything they need there. They can get their groceries, medicine, and in some stores they can even get a haircut or get their taxes done.

So if people want these one-stop shops, why would they go to a specialty store to get a CD? If they can get it at Walmart or Target, why not get it while they’re already there?

When you consider online sales, it’s even more convenient; you don’t even have to leave your home to buy something.

If stores like Hastings close because nobody wants physical products, then why do stores like Walmart and Target still sell them and make big exclusive deals with artists? They wouldn’t do it if they weren’t making money from it.

While there’s certainly been a decline in physical product sales, I don’t think it’s been the only reason for these closings. I think the market has changed. In the past, you would hope that people would go to the record store to pick up a copy of your album. Now you’re competing with a loaf of bread for space in somebody’s shopping cart.