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Key Changes: Record Store Failure in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Detroit, 1970 – 2010

Sat, August 12, 10:30am to 12:10pm, Palais des congrès de Montréal, Floor: Level 5, 512C


Independent music retailers remain a vital arena for the consumption of culture in cities today. Yet the musical landscape of the city shifts over time, often marked by the loss of consumption spaces. In this article, I examine record store loss in the cities of Chicago, Milwaukee, and Detroit, from 1970 to 2010, asking: what demographic changes are associated with record store failure. Using location data derived from directory listings, and census tract data from the Longitudinal Tract Database (LTDB), this article presents maps and regression results that suggest that the current pattern of music retail has undergone radical shifts between 1970 and 2010. While record stores are more likely to be located within white majority census tracts today, they once had a stronger association to majority black tracts. The results of an event history analysis of failure suggest that between 1980 and 1990, record stores in black majority, and non-white majority census tracts had significantly higher odds of failure than those in white majority areas. A modest relationship exists between the median property value increases and the odds of failure. While record stores in each of the study areas have moved outward from the central business district over time, those located further from downtown have had higher odds of failure. The findings suggest that an examination of music consumption in the contemporary US city take race and change over time and space into account.


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