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Author Topic: A Very Sad Day In Canadian Music History  (Read 1355 times)
bogie
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« on: May 31, 2007, 04:16:00 AM »

Today it was announced that Sam The Record Man on Yonge Street here in Toronto is closing for good at the end of June. The sons of founder Sam Sniderman tried to keep it going, but in the age of Amazon and downloading I guess they were doomed to fail.

I was reminded of a line in the movie Almost Famous: "If you're ever lonely, go to a record store and visit your friends."

RIP
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canoe65
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2007, 03:03:01 PM »

Bogie,

A SAD day indeed.  I have been a loyal patron of Sam's since 1985.  I've been carrying around my ratty and worn 'Sam's Club' discount card since August 1996.

The Sam the Record Man store is a Toronto landmark ... and I have seen it as a backdrop in many movies and TV shows that have been shot in Toronto.

AND, you were the one that pointed out that I could buy 'Fretboard Journal' there ... and now ... phhhht!! ... gone.  I have to start looking for a new vendor of this magazine all over again.

I work only three blocks north of Sam's ... It was so accessable and the STAFF were SO knowledgeable and enthusiastic ... all gone as of June 30. A SAD SAD DAY !!!    crying
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2007, 03:05:19 PM »

Gee he always looks like such a nice guy when the CBC parades him out to was poetic on Canadian content. You ever work for Sam Sniderman? Good riddance to the pr*ck.
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Ronniedee
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2007, 07:29:43 PM »

Maybe there's hope. We had the same fear for an old school record shop here in my town that "couldn't compete" with the online giants and someone bought it out. That was a few years back, but the store is still thriving with the same feel that it had before the buyout. Where there's a will, there's a way...sometimes. I guess a lot depends on the patronage of loyal customers like you guys.
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2007, 07:56:23 PM »

The truth of the matter, imo, is that HMV runs a better, more efficient operation. No they don't have the stock that Sam's had but most of that stuff just doesn't sell enough anymore to keep it in stock. Boomers have rebought their classic records on CD and most aren't interested in new music at all. Unless you're in the business of running a charity for a handful of record enthusiasts it's not really smart anymore. Plus HMV has DVDs and appeals more to young record buyers who like videos as much, if not more than CDs. A place like Sam the Record Man can't survive on the fond memories of boomers who don't buy a lot of music anymore. 
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Tycho
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2007, 08:13:35 PM »


Over the past decade I've bought well over a hundred new CDs a year, so I guess I'm an exception to the typical boomer norm.  The main thing I'll miss Sam's for is its collection of bluegrass/old-time/acoustic stuff.  They're far and away the best in the city for that.  There is (or was) an employee there who actually seemed to know a lot about that music and ordered lots of CDs that can't be found anywhere else in Toronto.  That's the only area where my favourite record store, Soundscapes, tends to fall down.  (They just lump it all in with "Americana", and the breadth of the selection suffers as a result, since they have limited space.)

All the big chains are hopeless disappointments these days, although the main HMV store in Toronto is still a little bit better than the satellite stores.
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mikehelms
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2007, 01:22:15 AM »

Gosh, I used to go into Sam's and HMV and Sunrise and spent every last penny I had ... now I go into the average record store and come out with nothing, more often than not.

Most of what I listen to is small-press folk and acoustic music, and I prefer to order directly from the artist.

Still - it's a shame to see an icon like Sam's fold.  It was a real Yonge Street institution.

-- Mike
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Tycho
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2007, 01:41:44 AM »

Quote
Most of what I listen to is small-press folk and acoustic music, and I prefer to order directly from the artist.

I have a pathetic need for instant gratification when it comes to music.  I'll be sitting in my office and think: "I need some Russ Barenberg." So I'll walk up to Sam's or HMV after work and see what they have.  If they don't have what I'm looking for, I'm instantly in a foul mood.  And when they say brightly: "We can order it for you!", I feel like saying: "Thanks, but I do know how to use Amazon myself."

But the thing is, more often not, Sam's would actually have what I was looking for.  HMV, less so.

As for Sunrise: never. 
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mikehelms
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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2007, 02:19:08 AM »

As for Sunrise: never. 

Sunrise was never very promising; I would generally go to Sam's first, HMV second, and Sunrise third.

Is Tower Records still at the corner of Yonge and Queen?

-- Mike
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Tycho
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2007, 03:38:51 AM »

No, that Tower didn't last long.  It closed about six years ago.
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« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2007, 04:58:15 AM »

That is a shame that Sam's is closing.  My first memories of buying records and 45's as a 4 year old was at Sam's.  I made a few trips to the Toronto Yonge St location a couple years ago while my 16 year old guitar playing nephew was battliing cancer.  He and I would go there when we had some time to kill between his doctors appointments.  I remember how excited he got when he found one of his favourite unsigned local bands in the bins at Sam's.  A band that would never be found on Amazon.  Unfortunately my nephew passed away suddenly within a few weeks of that last visit we had to Sams together but at least that last visit was a joyful one for him.
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