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Luna Music closes Mass Ave. store

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Luna Music’s 10-year run on Massachusetts Avenue in downtown Indianapolis has ended, the latest victim in a retail niche hit hard by the digital era.

The independent record store closed on Monday, leaving local owner Todd Robinson with just one remaining Luna location—at 5202 N. College Ave. in the Meridian Kessler neighborhood. Luna calls the location its Midtown/Broad Ripple Store.

Luna first opened in 1994 on West 86th Street. Robinson added a second store, at 431 Massachusetts Ave., in 2001, and a third shop, in Meridian Kessler, in 2006. He closed his original store about three years ago.
   
Reached by e-mail, Robinson said he was occupied with “family business” and couldn’t immediately discuss the latest store closing.

But Alan Berry, who operates the Naptown Music record store at 4240 N. Franklin Road on the city’s far-east side, said he isn’t surprised by the closing. He’s been a record store owner since 1991 and opened his current shop in 2004.

“We’re in a horse-and-buggy business,” said Berry, who is considering closing his shop at year’s end.

A steady decline in compact disc sales is a strong indicator that record stores, and particularly small, independent shops, may one day become obsolete. Digital downloads are rapidly becoming the favored method of choice for music buyers.

Digital music revenue hit $4.6 billion in 2010, up 6 percent from the year before, the London-based International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said in a January report. At the same time, CD sales fell 20 percent, their fourth straight year in decline. The 326.2 million albums that sold in 2010 marked the lowest total since Nielsen Soundscan began tracking sales in 1991.

Big-box stores, online retailers and even illegal file-sharing pose additional competition for small record shops.

To compensate, they often stress customer service, appeal to niche music audiences, concentrate on specialty products such as vinyl records and host in-store concerts.

Compact disc sales at Naptown Music account for about half of the store’s revenue, Berry, 41, said.

“You have to make [up the decline] with other goods,” he said. “Water pipes are your friend.”

Berry still thinks a certain amount of the population always will prefer compact discs. But, as the audience shrinks, and profits fall, “you can probably make ends meet, but is it worth it?” he wondered.

Big-box stores aren’t immune from the trend, either. Retailers such as Best Buy in recent years have been devoting less space to compact discs and using the additional floor space for other products.

Meanwhile, the 1,400 square feet Luna Music occupied on the lower level and the ground floor of the Mass Ave. building shouldn’t stay vacant for long.

David Andrichik, who owns the building, said there’s already interest in the space. Still, he lamented the loss of Luna Music.

“They were a great fixture for the independent business avenue that Mass Avenue is,” said Andrichik, who also operates the neighboring Chatterbox Jazz Club and is a co-chair of the Massachusetts Avenue Merchants Association.

He said Luna Music had been there for so long that the store operated on a month-to-month lease arrangement.

Besides Luna and Naptown Music, other locally owned record stores include Indy CD & Vinyl at 806 Broad Ripple Ave., Vibes at 1051 E. 54th St. and World Record Shoppe at 5218 Keystone Court.
 

 


 

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  • not many
    Only 2.8 million LPs were sold in the USA last year. The market in miniscule.
  • LPs
    Focusing on CD sales seems irrelevant to this story. At least at the 52 location, a large portion of Luna's space is devoted to vinyl and it seems to move. Hipsters don't buy CDs, they buy vinyl and have for awhile. Last year was the first year in a couple decades vinyl sales actually rose. It isn't a huge market, but it does exist and is enough to sustain stores like Luna. I'll join the chorus saying 52 and College is MK, not BR or whatever SoBro is.
  • Corrections made
    We fixed the story to indicate that the remaining Luna is actually in Meridian Kessler. Luna calls it the Midtown/Broad Ripple store, so you can understand the confusion. Thank you for letting us know.
  • New music isn't that hot
    There just aren't enough hipsters to support the buying of the "new music."
  • Music fan
    Is Warfleigh Broad Ripple? You probably think so, and thats why it is important to make the distinctions. BRVA is currently trying to take over Warfleigh in an attempt to raise more funds... Warfleigh, as an independent neighborhood is resisting being taken over by Broad Ripple.

    You should take the time to learn about your city.
  • I have lived here my whole life
    It really isn't Broad Ripple. Look at a map. It is clearly outside of the boundaries of Broad Ripple and is definitely within the boundaries of Meridian Kessler. The Meridian Kessler Neighborhood association calls the shots, and the BRVA has nothing to do with 52nd and College.

    Meridian Kessler Map:
    http://www.neighborhoodlink.com/Meridian-Kessler/map

    Broad Ripple Map:
    http://www.discoverbroadripplevillage.com/userctl.cfm?PageContentTypeID=3&PageContentID=37
  • no, its broad ripple
    dont let the villiage fool you. call it sobro but its still bro. Luna Broad Ripple isnt offensive or incorrect.

    Vibes is also a fantastic indie record store with some great service and tons of music.
  • Parking was not the problem
    At their other location there is zero parking and it still exists. Parking is not the issue.
  • Parking was not the problem
    At their other location there is zero parking and it still exists. Parking is not the issue.
  • 52nd and College is Meridian Kessler
    52nd and College is well south of Broad Ripple. I think that it is important to pay close attention to what we call the neighborhoods around Indianapolis so that they develop distinct identities. Luna is located in Meridian Kessler, not in Broad Ripple. Recently people have begun to rebrand parts of MK as SoBro or South of Broad Ripple.

    Broad Ripple is a distinct area and should be referred to as such. Blurring the lines in the end confuses and dilutes the identities of distinct Indianapolis neighborhoods. You wouldn't confuse Chatam Arch with Cottage Home, or Fountain square with Fletcher Place or Holy Cross...
    • Parking....
      Parking is not the issue. This store was marketed to downtown residents, actual downtown residents that don't need a car. I know it seems strange, but humans with legs can walk or bike. Look at circuit city. They had parking 3 times the size of the store and they went under......maybe they needed more parking?
    • Parking
      What parking was eliminated? I have seen the new meters downtown, but was not aware of a reduction in spaces...

      If permanent (and not construction related), this seems very short sighted
    • Parking
      The city has screwed Mass Avenue by eliminating so many parking spaces. This had to add to the woes of Luna Music. Most of the shop owners are suffering since their customers cannot find parking. Mayor Ballard and the councilors have allowed this to happen.
      • Mistake in article
        Actually, Missing Link Records no longer has a retail store -- it's an online-only operation now.
      • Bummer
        I for one could spend hours in a record shop and ALL the Luna stores have been well run, very cool local record stores that are in my opinion as good as any in the country. But for all the reasons mentioned, it is a tough business to be in right now.

        I hope that they will be able to keep one store up and going. The value of digital is obvious when you load up an IPOD with 18,000 songs, but nothing beats holding a CD, or even better, an LP in your grubby little hands on a release day.

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