Tower Records relaunches as online music store
14 years after Tower Records filed for bankruptcy and subsequently shuttered all of its US locations, the iconic music chain is ready for a comeback. The beloved brand announced a relaunch, this time as an online retailer, that in addition to selling vinyl, cassettes, and CDs, also sells merchandise, and features online musical performances hosted on Tower’s newly revamped website. What’s more, the relaunch also features the return of the company’s Tower Pulse! magazine.
Tower’s comeback was originally slated for earlier this spring, though those plans were derailed by COVID-19. Initially, the plan was to promote the newly reinvented Tower Records brand through a series of pop-up shops at SXSW. Despite the change in plans, Tower CEO Danny Zeijdel says the relaunch has been largely successful, with people celebrating the return of the iconic retailer. Says Zeijdel, “[The relaunch] has been met with tremendous success, feedback.”
The brand’s history dates back to 1960, when Russ Solomon opened the first Tower Records in Sacramento. From there, Solomon grew a music retail empire, opening nearly 200 stores across the globe, with revenue topping $1 billion at the height of Tower’s success. However, with the rapid shift to digital music consumption, well before streaming, the company’s sales faltered, and eventually in late 2006, Tower was effectively put out of business. Two bankruptcy filings would spiral into Chapter 7 liquidation, and just like that Tower was gone in a snap, just as iTunes was on its way to becoming the largest music retailer in the world. Now, Tower is ready for its 21st century revamp, and whereas online music retail was the nail in Tower’s coffin a decade and a half ago, now the beloved Tower Records brand is primed to regain its worldwide esteem as a new digital player in the music space.