HITS Daily Double
And so what was once a dominant 10% Musicland marketshare will most likely be all in the hands of TW.


With Musicland in Chapter 11, Is Trans World the Last Mall Operator Standing?
How did we get here?

How is it possible that Trans World might be the last national mall operator that could still be labeled a “music specialty retailer?” In the early ‘90s, CEO Jack Eugster’s Musicland was a runaway marketshare leader. They had a stranglehold on the retail landscape with only 10%! That’s right, 10% ruled the world, and no one else was even close. That’s because the nation was littered with major retail players.

Then the consolidation wars began. Trans World’s Bob Higgins began to acquire chains. Record Town, Coconuts and National Record Mart all were taken over by TW. Meanwhile, Camelot filed Chapter 11, came out stronger than ever, but didn’t get a chance to live happily ever after. Higgins wrote a check the banks liked and Camelot was no more. Higgins then took over Wall To Wall, Strawberries and Spec’s with Harmony House not far behind.

Down south, Super Club had been building its empire by snapping up Record Bar (which had already taken over Licorice Pizza), Turtles, Peaches, Sound Warehouse and Music Plus.

Music retail couldn’t have been a hotter commodity. Music sales were through the roof! Who wouldn’t want to be in that sector?

Blockbuster, which saw the future of video rental as murky, sought to shore their ship by buying Super Club.

Then there was Wherehouse, which had filed for Chapter 11 in ’94 and again in ’99. But even after three Chapters, CEO and highly-touted turn-around specialist Tony Alvarez felt so hale and hearty that he emerged from bankruptcy in the acquisition mode!!

While the music biz started to sputter, Blockbuster was rethinking the wisdom of its foray into it and the door was open. Wherehouse acquired Blockbuster Music, doubled its size from just over 300 stores to just over 600 stores and was a player on par with TW for the second largest mall operator.

However, by ’03, they had crumpled under the weight of their own largess and filed again, this time for good, with Higgins and company scooping up the best of what was left. And then there were two.

Of course, along the way there were those that just shuttered: Streetside, Rose Records, Record Factory, Rainbow, all gone along with wholesalers like Valley, Universal, General, City, Record Rack, Sound Music Sales, All Music Service, Richmond Bros., and SW Wholesale.

And so what was once a dominant 10% Musicland marketshare will most likely be all in the hands of TW. But these days that’s just a distant fourth behind Wal Mart, Best Buy and Target, where music might not even rate in their Top 5 most lucrative products. Wow.