The Skivlagret chain had eleven cd stores across Sweden, but it announced yesterday that it could no longer stay afloat and that it was declaring bankruptcy. Skivlagret was one of the few music store chains still open in this country. Even here in Stockholm most cd stores have now been forced to close, and the few that remain, in large department stores, are only a shadow of their former selves, stocking chart releases and the odd best-selling compilation, but not much more.
Although many would solely blame the era of digital music and mp3's for the collapse of the CD market, Skivlagret's CEO Istvan Beres says that his chain is being forced to shut its doors because of what record companies and distributors are doing. He told Swedish Radio in Gothenburg that they are refusing to adapt to the changing market, and his shops are now the ones paying the price. He says customers have stayed away as he is forced to charge over twenty dollars for a chart CD, when customers can buy a digital download for just fifteen.
"If we could sell CDs for fifteen dollars, and maybe back catalogue discs for even less than that, then there would be a market for it, people simply think that over twenty dollars is too much to pay for a CD" he says.
Istvan Beres says that the real problems started back in 2005, and as a result his company also started to sell films and DVDs to make up for the lost revenue as a result of the shift to downloaded music, but even that wasn't enough.
He adds that Swedish pop band Roxette's latest CD can be bought for less than 15 dollars in record shops in the States and in the UK, while here in Sweden he has to pay over 18 dollars per CD to the distributors, and then he has to add on his costs for rent, wages and a little extra to make a profit.
"There will always be some shops in the big cities that are dedicated to music and that can survive", he adds "but if this is your only source of income, and you have to pay your staff's wages, then I think it will be very difficult. In the future you'll only be able to buy CDs in the supermarkets and petrol stations," he says.
Additional reporting by Epp Anderson from Swedish Radio in Gothenburg.