Friday, August 7, 2009 - attention music geeks!

Newbury Comics is a New England-based independent retailer that caters to the serious music fan and if that describes you then their website is worth a visit. They've been around for 30 years and over that time have developed strong relationships with music artists via in-store appearances and generally just being incredibly supportive of the industry. The reason I regularly visit is that they offer autographed CD's from a wide variety of acts from numerous genres with no extra charge for these collector's items (not to mention the CD prices are extremely reasonable - usually around $8.99 - $13.99 U.S.).
Over the past couple of years I've bought autographed new releases from Filter, Extreme, Whitesnake and Ours from and to me it's an extra special nice touch having the artist's signature on their work. That nice feeling gets a little diminished when the album sucks, though (Extreme). A random selection of autographed new releases that are available right now are: Phish, Queen Latifah, Third Eye Blind, Our Lady Peace, Metric and Juliette Lewis, just to name a few among the hundreds of titles offered.
Their e-store also sells knick knacks like posters, t-shirts and action figures yet despite the name it appears that the website doesn't actually sell comics. Odd.
In these times where digital downloads have led to the sad demise of the brick and mortar end of the music business it's hopeful to have a business like Newbury Comics soldiering on. I live in a small town and after the close last year of the local CD Plus outlet (which had a limited selection anyway) my only option for buying new CD's without having to drive 30+ minutes south is Wal-Mart. If you've been CD shopping in one of their stores lately you may have noticed the real estate they give to compact discs has grown laughably small. DVD's and video games command the bulk of the shelf space due to the sharp decline in CD sales. One can't fault Wal-Mart for this from a business perspective but it sure makes for a shitty CD shopping experience. As a result I now buy most of my CD's from Amazon or Newbury but it's just not the same. I occasionally purchase music from the iTunes store, yet as convenient as digital downloads are I still prefer getting the actual physical CD with proper liner notes that I don't have to download as a PDF file or go to the artist's website to access.
Newbury's shipping charges are a little steep ($6.99 to Canada) but even with that factored in you're still getting a unique piece of memorabilia for an outstanding price.