I have not visited a classical record store for a very, very long time. One of the few existing ones here in the Bay Area is Rasputin Music, you could find them here and there. They are very interesting places, as they cover both contemporary music, as well as all kinds of obscure genres, used material as well as new, T-shirts, posters and so on.
Well. It was a culture shock for me, especially after a long time of either purchasing digital tracks, or chasing interesting material on net labels.
To start with, phew it was dirty business to handle old CD covers, albums and so on. I had to wash my hands when I came home….
Secondly, how icky is it to purchase something without a decent chance to hear the tracks? To be fair, you had play stations for the new material, but for used stuff there was no obvious way to listen to the CD? I guess I could drag over a big pile of material to the one controlling the PA in the store and ask them to play 20 second snippets of each track…
Other observations? I was surprised to see so little vinyl available, especially used vinyl. That side is really dead. In addition, now close to one third of this store was dedicated to new and used DVDs and other non-music related stuff.
I’m sure Rasputin Music will be around for a long time. For me, I just gave up even purchasing 1 dollar CDs, and I rather spend my time looking for music using electronic services on Internet. It’s very clear indeed that material music stores will go the way of smaller book stores. When I moved to the Bay Area there used to be a specialty book store around every corner, used books, SciFi, computer books and so on. Now there’s mostly Borders and Barnes&Nobles super stores, and they are pinched in by Amazon, too.