Music | November 15, 2020 6:00 am

Tower Records Has Returned, Online

Fans of physical media, take a victory lap

Tower Records
Signage is displayed at a closing Tower Records store October 9, 2006 in Schaumburg, Illinois.
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

In 2006, the music retailer Tower Records closed its doors around the country. Its closure ended a decades-long run for the store, and resulted in roughly 2,700 people losing their jobs. Reports on the chain’s demise at the time alluded to the growing popularity of downloads versus a shrinking market for physical media. Similar stories are still being written today, albeit with streaming services taking the place of downloads. But physical media has proven more durable than some expected. The latest evidence for this? Well, Tower Records is back.

As Consequence of Sound reports, Tower has returned to the world of retailing, albeit as an online storefront this time around. According to their article, the retailer’s return was scheduled to be announced at this year’s SXSW, but its cancellation due to the pandemic caused a change of plans. The current iteration of the store sells a variety of music and merchandise; it looks as though a decidedly online version of in-store performances are also in the works.

One other intriguing detail came up in Consequence of Sound’s report: the revival of Tower Records was originally set to have a pop-up shop component. That’s been paused for obvious reasons, but it could return when the pandemic is less of a concern.

A quick survey of the site’s contents reveal a refreshingly deep array of music available for sale, including some impressively obscure choices. In that, it’s very reminiscent of the store’s previous incarnation, and something that bodes well for its future.